Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
My Initial Reaction to the Work
The literary work that impressed me much is written by Mary Shelley and titled Frankenstein. I liked the plot of the story and the message that the author transferred to readers. I must admit that the book is interesting enough to read it in one sitting. My initial feelings about the literary work were the breathtaking emotions and deep interest in what would happen further. In addition, I felt empathy to the main characters and worried about them throughout the book. Importantly, making a reader feel empathy to the characters of the book is a good sign of an author´s maturity and ability to create and tell stories that are worth reading. The aspect of a given literary work that most interested me is the presence of the deep inner rueful feelings of the main characters. Indeed, it is always interesting for me to observe and try to understand inner feelings of main characters in literary works.
Analysis of the Work
Despite the intention of Mary Shelley to create a ghost story, she could not avoid the major issues that were current and important at times when she lived. Throughout the book, Mary Shelley shows how her story depicts the society of the nineteenth century. As it is known, such aspects as laws, luxury, enlightenment, government, and wealth were widely spread in the nineteenth century. As one can see, the author depicted the society with the same characteristic features. Consequently, Frankenstein can be called a reflection of the history of the nineteenth century society (Bloom 94). The link between the book and the 19th century is in the representation of enlightenment, woman, concept of Marxism, and the birth of science. For instance, Frankenstein symbolizes the birth of science as he is a creature that was created with its help. Justine represents women of the 19th century, who did not have any voice and were perceived as servants for men (Shelley 57). Victor is an embodiment of social enlightenment as he attempted to reveal the secrets of nature and physical life. Finally, the concept of Marxism lies in Victor’s understanding that Frankenstein’s rights in the society were not defended (Bloom 103). To conclude, one can state that Mary Shelley’s literary work depicts the 19th century in terms of such aspects as enlightenment, knowledge, and social class.
However, beside the era of Romanticism, one can find some reflections of Mary Shelley´s own life in her book. Frankenstein was first published in 1818. At that time, the book was an extended version of Shelly´s gothic horror story that she created spending time in a Swiss lake house with her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and some other famous people. However, in 1831, it was decided to republish the book as a one-volume edition (Bloom 113). By that time, Mary Shelley had lost her children and husband. As a result, she expressed her grim feelings in the new version of Frankenstein´s story. Due to such changes in the story, the nature became a destructive power, while Victor was no more a victim of his own actions, but a sufferer who experienced terrible events due to fate. In addition, new version of the book shows that families are more oppressive and claustrophobic than supportive and happy.
Frankenstein was written in the Romantic period of history, which is known to be the era of new opportunities and beginnings. Romanticism revealed not only infinite and deep feelings of humans, but also the dark side of an individual. As one can see, such dark side is represented by the monster in Shelley´s book. One of the beliefs of Romanticism is that the sleep of reason is the source of producing monsters. For instance, the sleep Victor´s reason and total realization of what he was doing created a real monster. Sinners in the hands of angry gods is another belief of that period that is a good source of terror, which also found its reflection in Frankenstein. Such belief shows guilt and retribution that is given by gods to a guilty creature. Thus, Victor became guilty for his attempt to rise in revolt of nature and received his retribution alongside with numerous deaths. At that period of time, evil was believed to be a part of society, while the centre of the world was a human. An individual was the one who could rescue his life and find salvation or make a great mistake and destroy his/her life. As one can see, the same is depicted in Mary Shelley´s literary work.
Obviously, one can state that Shelley’s Frankenstein is a very educative book that has relevance not only to the 19th century, but also to the modern society. The main aspect in the book that has relevance to the modern world is responsibility. One can see that Victor created a monster, but, unfortunately, he did not think about the possible consequences. Victor had interest and great desire to comprehend all the secrets of human being, including such questions as if it is possible to live forever and to create life from death (Shelley 14). Today, one can see almost the same situation in the modern society. As well as Victor, people tend to think more about their desires and do everything in order to satisfy them. People become more irresponsible; they do many things without thinking about the consequences. As a result, there are many victims of different irrational decisions and actions, including people who make such decisions and actions. In addition, Frankensteinshows one more problem of all times and nations, including the 21st century. To be more precise, one can state that the problem of individuality has always been very keen. In other words, Mary Shelley’s literary work shows that the members of the society does not accept someone or something that differs from them.
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My Reflection on the Work
I can state that the book written by Mary Shelley impressed me much. It made me feel empathy to the main characters, no matter if they are guilty in what happened or not. However, the process of analyzing a given literary work gave me an opportunity to receive more information about the history of its creation. Being acquainted with the historical context of the Frankenstein, I changed my view about the book and started perceiving it much deeper than before. First, I perceived the story as a simple gothic tale about a monster that makes other people’s lives unbearable. However, after analyzing the book and its historical context, I realized how deep it was. Indeed, now I see that the monster was a victim, perhaps, even more than Victor. In addition, I can see that Mary Shelley revealed the problems that were current and significant for the society of the nineteenth century. I believe that the book is worth reading, and I will recommend it to other people. However, I will insist on reading it not as a simple story that was created as a result of boringness, but as the reflection of societal norms and problems in the nineteenth century reflected in the form of a fiction literature.