Frankenstein: The conclusion: #NaNoReMo update

FRANKENSTEIN: THE CONCLUSION

“…In a fit of enthusiastic madness I created a rational creature and was bound towards him to assure, as far as was in my power, his happiness and well-being.”

Oh wretched man indeed you should have! I, the reader pity you and your sorrow affects my being as well, but my heart shudders for those who fall innocent struck by the monster you created and abandoned.

Frankly the narrative of this novel is a big misunderstanding. “If only”  – I don’t know how many times I thought that while reading. I suppose this is an indication of how gripping the story is, that I want to have power over the events and alter them with the knowledge of what’s what.

I admit the last chapter left me a bit broken. It is the measure of the previous misfortunes and the final crusade of Victor Frankenstein, at last standing before his damned child with the intention of revenge. I think that beyond the nobility and the kindness which Frankenstein bares throughout the novel, the final chapter uplifts his character, showing far greater determination to punish not only the perpetrator of the horrid crimes, but to also severely punish himself, pushing his being over every possible limit of body and mind. I dare say if he would to be immortal he would walk and walk and walk through ice and water, desert and forest always following his nightmarish shadow until they stand face to face in one last battle. But alas… he is human, and his outcome as his fellow men, is fatal.  He reaches the ultimate woe, his words powerful in his final confession, his frame weak and devastated.  From the death of Elizabeth (I open a gap here to say I was sadly right in my prognosis of the other characters being used as martyrs) an onwards the story becomes a storm and it surprises the reader as it becomes nothing like what preceded it.

It was a shocker ending for me, and I say shocker, because I did not quite sympathize with Frankenstein. I, God forbid, viewed him as weak many times during my read. But by the end, Shelley worked some magic and I wept inside for him. He is a character exploring madness, horror, grief, anger, weakness, fear, and at last bravery.  He recreates the misfortunes upon him, the unnecessary murders time and time again, until he kneels before the family tomb, a supernatural and eerie scene that calls upon the death as if to rise. I will carry the vision of that scene for a while.

But what of the monster? The last update I made was set just before his story began. I will highlight a bit of it here.

I don’t whether Shelley’s sympathy lies with Frankenstein’s creation at the end or if she tried to balance it between the two, I somehow was led to think that the Being had the final word, cementing his point and claiming his long lost right for a happy life, but he did not have the last laugh. His farewell to Frankenstein’s growing cold body and the ambitious voyager Walton, whose journal of the events in Frankenstein’s life, draw the frame of the story, is one that addresses his crimes with remorse, and his creator with both anger and sorrow. And even as his own peril is soon to follow (because death is all there left, and in death there goes the last hope, the last pray that peace and joy might be given even to the wretched monster), the Being reminiscence of days gone by when he first was acquainted to the beauty of the world before his illusory vision is destroyed by the gained knowledge of his deformity, his mask of horror. How easy is the soul depraved! I believe Frankenstein’s creation serves to follow that dreadful descend from innocence to a furious tempest darkened by misfortune events. If only… Though his asking was dubious indeed, a woman of his kind to company him in his isolation…

There’s an example and a lesson: once an outcast, forever an outcast. As to how the Being educated himself and for a brief time had affection towards the human race I will not speak. His dreams were naïve for the informed reader, his attempts bound to fail and terrify, but gaining the ability to see himself through the eyes of others and understand their terror and anger towards him was perhaps one of the moments in the novel which felt utterly real, plausible. There are many monsters amongst us and we cast them away for their faces and never seek the spark of light and crave for love they carry in their hearts. So one day, they become true monsters, shackled by the destiny bound to them by others.

I got distracted a bit…Or maybe I suffer the ability of persuasion the Being possesses.

There are three questions asking of why is the tale of Frankenstein this gripping:

“The  danger  of  scientific Promethianism – that   is,   daring  to  go  beyond   the  realm  of   man   and  in to  that   of   the  divine?  The pathos of being an outcast?  Fear of the dead coming to life and seeking revenge?  The monster’s character as a marauding embodiment of our unconscious rage?”

I want to answer these questions, but alas they pose a certain ponder to me. I’ll simply say all three. Stripping the novel layer by layer this is what you get, this is what you read in between. These combined are the true horror aspect in my opinion, shadowing even the murders. They do reflect the human existence don’t they, even partially metaphoric.

“The Modern Prometheus”,  the newborn Adam, or a Cain, Frankenstein’s monster is all that. He is a son cast away by his father, he is a superb creature denied the right of pleasure by his god, he is a being robbed of happiness, and thus in return he shall also rob and destroy, seeking decay and weeping beside it.

“You throw a torch into a pile of buildings, and when they are consumed, you sit among the ruins and lament the fall.”

From pitying the creator, to pitying the monster; from pitying the creator, to hating the monster; from hating the creator, to pitying the monster… and again and again this wheel turns, as the reader seeks to justify one and punish the other, because partially that’s Shelley’s expectation – to come out of this mad spin condemning one and innocent the other.  Do I blame the monster for not reasoning and running to hide forever in the Alps, accepting the granted eternal solitary? Do I blame the creator for seeking immortality in such a horrid and maniacal manner and abandon all reason? Or do I pity the foolish craves of a man and comfort his fears…or do I give my sympathy and utmost pity to his creation, alone in the unknown, without a name, without a place, without a memory but that of a terrified man running away? Shall I curse the being who had no voice, who had no reason or his master that was mad day and night chasing after some achievement which no one would see as marvelous but in fact as dreadful?

Yes, this is how I spent a good hour questioning both the main characters and I still can’t decide, if it is to be decided. I am equal to their misfortunes? Blimey hard task…

Overall “Frankenstein” is a wonderful novel, beautifully written and drawn with many colors that run from bright to gloomy, describing perfectly each emotion drawn by the landscape or the inner lament of the characters. It is extremely emotive, with well-read horror. I enjoyed every page of it and am recommending it to everyone without exceptions. It’s a classic you wouldn’t want to miss and I’m glad I picked it for the National Novel Reading Month.

Now it is concluded. I don’t think this will be my final word on the novel; I plan to extend my observations in an upcoming course work for university, but for now, as this closure is not big enough I would like to extend it with a discussion either here or on Twitter, so please feel welcomed to have a chat about the novel!

I leave you with the thought of this line.

“He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish.

*Illustraions belong to Lynd Ward for the 1934 edition of “Frankenstein”

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6 thoughts on “Frankenstein: The conclusion: #NaNoReMo update

  1. I really enjoyed reading this Cindy. I’ve only ever seen the movie adaptations of this novel, but you have convinced me that this should be my next classic to read. I’m still working my way through Bram Stoker’s Dracula and enjoying every moment of it. ^_^

  2. Wow, no wonder it took you a while to post this. This is longer than my entire review of Middlemarch is going to be!

    I believe it was Shelley’s intention that Dr. Frankenstein be deeply flawed. At best, he’s morally shallow with poor emotional thinking and empathy for anyone not directly in front of him. The separations bleed into much of the novel – his Creature really turns raw because its development is separated too often. I love how smart it was, but its intelligence opens it up to self-deception and evil. Such a complex book, psychologically.

    • I would have posted it earlier, but I had to fix my sleeping regime from going in bed at 5 am to 11 pm, because of university. But yeah it became longer then I intended it to be, though I believe this novel can be discussed and interpret in an even vaster lenght.

      I thought of using the word psychological in this review, but I wasn’t sure whether someone won’t argue with that, so thank you for bringing it up, John. It is a very complex book.

      I still don’t quite like Dr. Frankenstein. I don’t recall reading a character this weak in a long time, and more then that, selfishly incapable of fixing his wrongs.

      Yes, the separations were a bit throwing me off the read at times, but that’s why I love the last chapter, it’s just more fast paced and sums up all the important bits and revelations, confessions. I root for the Creature, secretly and now openly. But then again I always enjoy a cunning “villain”, even one that was manifactured to be such.

  3. This is one of my favorite novels, though I have to admit I have NEVER empathized with the creator. He has always appeared too spoiled and full of his own importance for me to be able to put myself in his shoes. The creature I felt truly sorry for, and was suitably horrified when he began his quest for vengeance. Every innocent he killed was destroying him, yet he did it anyway. It was heartbreaking.

    • Oh, I agree. From the reader’s perspective putting oneself in Victor’s shoes is a near impossible task from start to finish. I know I counted the times I gritted my teeth at him. But he is a very interesting character to explore with the mood swings and the brilliance bordering strongly on insanity. I love characters like that.

      I like to think that quite a few well-written characters here and there in fiction have been modeled after him. He may very well be the epitome of that brilliant, arrogant even psychopathic character who near disregards any other living being but himself. And all the while desperately stays fixated on some immortal success even through multiple failures and spilled blood.

      An interesting observation is that perhaps the Creature in the end became more human than Frankenstein had ever been. There’s a great deal of emotions involved in the deep down realization that every innocent death is punishable by some higher purpose and that those deaths take away so much from the soul- something so easily corruptible, especially in the Creature’s lifespan.

      It’s such a fantastic novel for discussions. I’m still biased on the rights and wrongs done by both men!

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