Okay, so, it is considered as being one of the first Gothic and scientific novel by a woman. It was published in 1818, by famous female prodigy, Mary Shelley. Mary was the daughter of two famous radicals of England – Mary Wollstencraft and William Godwin and got married to the most famous radical poet of Romantic era, P. B. Shelley.
Well, I think I enjoyed reading the lives of people that were there in the Romantic Era more than their poetry -Wordsworth, our opium guy Coleridge, the rake Byron etc. Their promiscuous lifestyle and eccentric habits, made me their fan.
Coming back to the novel review, it is a novel which is written in a Chinese box tradition – a narrative within a narrative – there are 3 narrators. So, the story goes like this – Victor Frankenstein, a scientist, creates a creature by collecting the dead body parts from the grave and infusing into it life. But the sad part begins, when Victor having thought of making such a discovery which would abnegate nature laws and he will be worshipped as a great scientist, turns out to be a disaster! The creature he makes, has abhorring physiognomy and detestable eyes, due to which without even talking to his creature or nurturing it, Frankenstein turns his back on it. He abandons the creature he makes and ahead in the novel we see, the creature becomes a monster because everybody starts negating it because of his detestable looks!
Creature tells his story of abandonment and how he became a bad guy to Victor and he tells his story to Walton, who tells all this to his sister through letters. Walton is that character whom Victor meets, when he was following the creature to make it dead.
Interesting novel plot but more interesting are the questions it raises – the question of parent-child relationship(Victor father, Creature child), the issues of male-motherhood, the treatment of women writing in 19th century, patriarchal society, and the most important question – are we born monstrous or the world’s cruel treatment makes us a monster?
These are the questions that Mary Shelley raises in this novel and this novel has also been considered as being the finest example of l’ecriture feminine (feminie writing), a concept introduced by Cixou, Irigaray and Kristeva. This style of writing, was the goal of many feminists to achieve that female style of writing which was not patriarchal and more libidnal & plural like a woman’s body!