ENG 1A – Literary Analysis
Ms. Lyn Schrader
04 March 2015
The classic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, written by Mary Shelley, tells a story of dangerous pursuits of knowledge, abandonment, human cruelty towards the unknown and different, and the consequences of such actions. Much like the story’s antagonist, simply and quite aptly named the Monster, who was made out of stitched-up body parts and organs, the novel is a patchwork of various voices and perspectives that enables the readers to delve into the thoughts of the characters and have a more personal understanding of each. This paper aims to dissect the novel based on my personal reflections as an avid learner and as a homosexual, and analysis of the gender-bias issues apparent in the novel.
I have always been a keen reader. I have been reading since I was three years old. When I was a young boy, I was always holed up in our family’s library, going through every single book that I can reach. My favorite ones were the several sets of encyclopedia. Usually, I would grab one book based on which letter I thought extra interesting that particular day, and just read through pages and pages of diverse topics until I fell asleep. I also enjoyed reading the newspaper on Sunday mornings with my grandfather.
I found myself personally relating to Victor in this regard. He was an accomplished reader, going through the works of scientists, philosophers, alchemists, and sorcerers. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and discovery. He would always be in the company of his books and even his loved ones were hard-pressed to get him to leave his tomes and enjoy other things. Victor’s knowledge and determination led him to accomplish what others could not – create life – but the excessiveness also ruined his life and pushed him to the brink of insanity. I have carried on my childhood traditions up to this day by browsing the internet for hours, reading the news and other sources of knowledge. But thankfully, I have learned to temper myself and take everything in moderation.
I am a homosexual. I have known it for as long as I can remember and I was able to recognize and admit it to myself at the age of ten. Being born and raised in a conservative society where the Catholic Church holds so much clout, it was an almost daily challenge as a gay boy. Although homosexuals were quite common and many are out and outspoken, they were still frowned upon and ridiculed. The Church demonized homosexuals and the fanatical flock treated them like secondary citizens. In the media, gays were often the butt of jokes. Even the people who were more accepting of gays would laugh with the crowd. Regardless of physical and mental capacities, and despite impressive accomplishments, being a homosexual was a nasty stain that everyone noted. One can only imagine how much worse it was for me since I attended a very strict Catholic school, where uniforms were regulated, haircuts were policed, and non-standard personal possessions were banned.
I saw through the eyes of the Monster. I understood his struggles of being maltreated simply for being who he was. I felt his isolation and deprivation while he was living with the pigs. I felt his sadness of being disregarded even after he helped the peasants. I could relate to his angst and his anger towards the people who have wronged him. I also found myself looking back in high school when almost all my friends were gay, and compared that to how the Monster longed for someone who would not judge him nor hate him, someone who he could spend the rest of his wretched life with. Perhaps another monster.
The Patriarchy There was a major lack of strong women characters in the novel. Victor’s mother, Caroline, was a subservient wife to Alphonse. She was expected to accept her husband’s whims and was self-sacrificing to her natural and adopted