Many stories have progressed enough to be the topic of conversation from time to time. The novel, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus has different relationships to many other topics. The author of the story, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley who was born almost 200 years ago bringing with her the age of horror (Edison 5), used biographical strategies to write Frankenstein
. Also, as time progressed, Frankenstein became a well-known story. It was turned into many different films that depicted the time period that it happened to be from. One final relationship that Frankenstein has happens to be the way that everyone can draw morals from the story, no matter what the reader’s age, or how the reader’s life has evolved.
Shelley used biographical strategies to write her well-known novel. Frankenstein has plenty of tragedy included to form the storyline. Many women passed away throughout the entire novel. Perhaps the reason for these mishaps was because Shelley watched many women and children die all through her life. For instance, her mother died after giving birth to Shelley. Also, only one of Mary’s children survived infancy. Mary herself almost died after a miscarriage. Percy Shelley’s wife, Harriet, committed suicide. (Percy married Mary after his wife took her own life.) Shelley also demonstrated a bond between specifics such as names, dates and events. For example, the letters that form the narration of the novel were written to Margaret Walton Saville
(Whose initials M.W.S are those of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley). These letters were written not only during the time that Mary was going through her third pregnancy, but also during the time when she was writing the novel itself. It appears that Mary tries to be a silent person in her story. Most of the important scenes revolve around her in some way. Certain dates had a large enough impact on Mary’s life that she integrated them into her novel. “Mellor discovered that the day and date on which Walton first sees the creature, Monday, 31 July, had coincided in 1797, the year in which Mary Shelley was born. This fact and other internal evidence led Mellor to conclude that the novel ends on 12 September 1797, two days after Mary Wollstonecraft’s death.” (Ty 19) Mary consequently merged the beginning and ending of her life with the book’s beginning and end, just as she combined many morals of her time period with the same morals that one may relate to today.
Because Mary did such a terrific job thinking up the saga of the hideous creature and relating it somehow to life during this romantic time period, many readers find it easy to relate the morals of the story to their own personal lives. Everyday, readers learn the moral lesson that is it important to look within and see a person for who they are and not for what they look like. One major theme of Frankenstein is the thought that beauty lies within. Dr. Frankenstein believes that if he pieces together beautiful body parts from different corpses, he will end up with a beautiful body. “His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful” (Shelley 60). This, however, is not the case. The monster ends up being a hideous creature that the doctor cannot even bear to look at. “I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bedchamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep” (61). Dr. Frankenstein does not give the monster a chance. He does not know what this beast is like on the inside. The monster could have a heart of gold, but that is not important to the doctor. What is important is that he escapes from this hideous looking individual. The example of the doctor’s unwillingness to learn about the monster just proves that beauty in fact does lie within and people need to look for this before “judging a book by its cover.”
Another relation to one’s life in the novel is the importance of one’s family and friends. It is obvious that Dr. Frankenstein loses many friends and members of his family because of his unwillingness to listen. The monster only wants a mate, a partner. Frankenstein does not want to hear the monsters plea, and since he will not pay attention to this request, the creature kills off people that were important to the doctor. “ ‘Frankenstein! You belong then to my enemy- to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim’” (127). By reading this tragic part of the story, readers are taught to live every day to its fullest and to not take anything for granted. Readers are taught to say, “I love you” to the people who mean everything to them whenever it is necessary. “I love you” can never be said too much. One final way that Frankenstein can relate to life is by realizing that work isn’t the most important thing in life. Throughout the story, Dr. Frankenstein puts his entire life on hold so that he can complete his work. “Every night I was oppressed by a slow fever, and I became nervous to a most painful degree; the fall of a leaf startled me, and I shunned my fellow-creatures as if I had been guilty of a crime” (60). His love life and family life all suffer as a result and Frankenstein seems to grow apart from his family and friends. Readers of Frankenstein hopefully see that it is important to always keep in mind the people that love them. Future generations reading Shelley’s work of art still realize the moral values. They still have resonance. Because Shelley does an excellent job in teaching morals related to everyday life many films have derived from the horror novel.
Frankenstein has become a celebrated work of art that has been read and seen in the theatres by many. After Mary Shelley created her infamous tale, many different versions of it appeared. Adaptations of Frankenstein were created. Thomas Edison made the original Frankenstein movie in 1910 (Edison 5); about two decades before Boris Karloff created Frankenstein in 1931 and before James Whale produced his two films in 1931 and 1935. These revivals of Frankenstein brought about a general gothic revival of films derived from horror stories. Society responded to Mary Shelley’s novel by placing it in popular culture. Even now, it is certain that directors are thinking up yet another way to portray Frankenstein. From about 1826 to the present, many diverse films have been fashioned to resemble Shelley’s work of fiction. Each masterpiece has illustrated the time frame in which it was created. Other than assorted variations of Frankenstein, other films have been produced that resemble the gothic theme that Mary Shelley popularized by her novel. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death are just a few of the classics. A more recent representation includes Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (Baron’s). Because of Mary Shelley’s persistence and dedication with her story (it took
Mary almost two years to complete her novel), many people have enjoyed the suspense and thrill from the horror films and novels that have been take-offs of her original.
In conclusion, by looking deeply into the novel and really thinking about its meanings, one can come up with many different ways that Frankenstein relates to various topics. Mary’s life was obviously influenced by many around her. Placing the more important things that affected her life into her novel makes the story more interesting. Many authors besides Mary Shelley also use these thoughts to write their novels, even in the present time. By doing this, stories are more enjoyable and will be more likely to be passed on and portrayed in different forms.
The Original Thomas Edison’s Frankenstein. LRS Marketing Home Page. 24 Mar. 2002.
Ty, Eleanor. “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley”. Brandeis University. 24 Mar. 2002.
The Baron’s Goth Film Picks. Geocities Home Page. 23 Mar. 2002.
Shelley, Mary. “Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus
”. Frankenstein. 6th ed. Johanna M. Smith. Bedford/St. Martins: New York, 2000