Author: Mary Shelley
“How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
First and foremost, Happy Halloween everyone! I decided today would be the perfect day to review Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Disclaimer: This is one of my favorite novels, so the review might (will) be a little biased. Let us first start with the fact that Mary Shelley, a woman, published a book that examined and challenged the roll of science back in the early 19th century (kudos to you Mrs. Shelley!) Let us also note that Mrs. Shelley was a young 21 at the time the book was published. She actually finished writing it at 19. A teenager. Were you questioning the role of science when you were 19? Probably not.
Okay, on to the book. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that my contempt prior to investigation kept me from reading this book until college. If it had not been required, I might never have picked it up. I ignorantly thought this was nothing more than a horror story, and that’s one genre (and there aren’t many) that I just can’t seem to get into. What I found though, is that this is no story of some disgusting, relentless monster, but rather a human creation gone terribly wrong. In her articulate, emotionally charged tale, Shelley challenges how far science should intervene in everyday life. She also challenges the societal standards of beauty, and right versus wrong.
As the reader, I found myself empathetic toward the creature, and ashamed at humanity for shunning him. His subsequent actions not only seem valid, but necessary in the midst of the suffering he endures throughout the story. This novel challenged my own, real-time, views of science and society. With issues like GMO’s, stem-cell research, and the weapons of war at the forefront in today’s society, Frankenstein is as timely now as it was when originally published. Just how much should science pervade our lives?