Wednesday, October 22, 2008


When I was in school studying Mary Shelley, I read somewhere or heard that Mary met Percy Shelley as he walked up a hill and saw her there performing a seance in order to communicate with the spirit of her mother who died at her birth. Shelley was a married man, but was immediately smitten with Mary although he did not remain faithful to her either. Whether or not the story of the seance is true, they did court behind her father's back at the grave site of her mother... a graveyard courtship.
Death was a devastating and all to frequent an occurrence to the Victorian who had really almost no hope of raising most of their children to adulthood. Infant mortality was high and real medicine a new and often brutal science.
Subsequently, a generational desire to conquer death through science and the debate over how far science should go were topics of the day. It almost sounds like the Victorian era never ended doesn't it?
Of course the book has other interesting themes. The idea of beauty being linked with a persons treatment, something that has been studied and well documented in our culture. Looking from a modern point of view, I would also say that more evolved emotional intelligence and better communication could have solved the troubles in this book.
However, the most interesting theme was brought up to me by my sister the English teacher who said that Frankenstein's creature was yearning and searching for a divine creator. He wanted an omnipotent, compassionate, loving and perfect creator to set him on course and help him to make a life for himself with purpose and direction, things that he could not do for himself. A mere mortal scientist fell far short and disappointed at every turn. Likewise, our mortal parents, creators of our clay forms can hurt or reject us and we can and do fail our own offspring in large or small ways, while a perfect God and creator does not disappoint, fail or lead us astray.
With few exceptions, I am not really a science fiction/ fantasy fan, but I found this book a very interesting read.