Samantha Shapiro

frankenstein

Even while having read the novel prior, I still see much of and thus associate Frankenstein’s creation as “Frankenstein,” a green, hulking, bolt-necked monster. Lately, around September, even as early as August, we begin to see the monster come out in time for one spooky October night, in the form of cheap costumes and lawn decorations.

As a standard of Halloween, the monster’s appearance as a green giant is shattered with a rereading of Shelley’s original novel, with a recounting from Victor Frankenstein noting the creature’s “yellow skin…[hair] a lustrous black…a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips” (Shelley, 59-60). This, as we learn, egotistical scientist turned to taking dead body parts from the “unhallowed damps of the grave, …dissecting room and slaughter-house” (57-58). In reading Shelley’s Frankenstein, the standard “Frankenstein myth,” or, a horrifying monster coming to eat your children loses its superficial appearance when faced with descriptive lines including some horrifying actions. Rather than keep up the image, likely popularized by the classic horror adaptations’ perspectives, the novel instead tells a tale about a complex creation.

After reading the novel, there are many elements of a sort of horror, but a more psychological, deeper horror rather than have the focus of a scary child-murderer. The eeriness of Frankenstein’s creature lies in its almost human, but more so human-like being, as well as the connection it has towards death and life, or animation and decay.

Our common depictions now show it as a threat, a monster some poor villagers in the backwoods of Europe threw their pitchforks at, something universally feared.

frankenstein2

Although physically, it is presented as terrifying, the creature is terrifying to Frankenstein due to the implications of creation it brings, the guilt of creating something that shouldn’t exist (59). His conflict in creating something animated, perhaps even seen as alive, was a terrifying concept, bringing together life and death, and breaking an almost hallowed tie between the “corruption of death…to the blooming cheek of life” (55). The modern standing of Frankenstein’s monster, fitting into the myth of a horrible, scary monster is due to the appearance of it, but also our uneasiness towards it as a general dislike for something that shouldn’t be there.

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