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Discussion of Frankenstein

Members of the forum choose and read a new book every month together, and then discuss it. Each book of the month get's it's own whole subforum in this forum. Click here to nominate books for book of the month.

How do you rate Frankenstein?

1 star - poor, recommend against reading it
0
No votes
2 stars - fair, okay
3
15%
3 stars - good, recommend it
12
60%
4 stars - excellent, amazing
5
25%
 
Total votes : 20

Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » 02 Oct 2012, 21:30

Please use this topic to discuss the October 2012 book of the month, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Although most people already are familiar with the story, still please be advised that this topic will contain spoilers.
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#2  Postby Bighuey » 04 Oct 2012, 19:31

Ive read Frankenstein several times over the years and am still fascinated with the story. It could be interpeted as treating someone as an outcast because they are different, which sadly, is quite common. Apparently a lot of the feelings and emotions in the book were Mary's own feelings. Ive been reading a book about her life, and it was a tragic one. The book holds up well even in modern times, parts of it are somewhat melodramatic and old-fashioned but all in all its a true classic.
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#3  Postby howardsadvocate » 05 Oct 2012, 20:26

It's about the time old question, nature vs nurture, does evil exist, does good exist, or are they just human inventions?

"I was born benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend."

Are we merely just the sum of our surroundings & experiences? Can it be as simple as that?
Frankenstein's monster is the creation of genius.

Mary Shelley, I would have loved to have had a beer with you.

-- 05 Oct 2012, 21:46 --

The pure innocence of chapter 11 contrasts so sharply with the rest of the book, he is like a child, experiencing all for the first time, it created a lot of empathy for him for me when I read it, and its memory inclined me to pity him later.

[I'm not allowed to post links yet, aha, I have not earned my url rights, you'll have to find it yourselves]

""Here then I retreated, and lay down happy to have found a shelter, however miserable, from the inclemency of the season, and still more from the barbarity of man."


The whole book just makes you see all the cruelty and the sadness in humanity. It certainly made me think.

"They were not entirely happy. The young man and his companion often went apart, and appeared to weep. I saw no cause for their unhappiness; but I was deeply affected by it. If such lovely creatures were miserable, it was less strange that I, an imperfect and solitary being, should be wretched."
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#4  Postby Schaps » 06 Oct 2012, 16:02

Shelley clearly and directly addresses her "devils" in Frankenstein. the book is replete with obvious references to conflicts of discrimination, the unfairness of life and dreams unfulfilled. While the details of the murders are disturbing, I for one, unapologetically take the side of the monster!
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#5  Postby woodshedder » 06 Oct 2012, 21:01

I liked the book. (First post by the way, so a friendly howdy to all)

I liked the way that Shelley relayed the anguish that Frankenstein continually suffered due to his actions. I liked the fast pace of it, probably partly due to the fact that that pace is in stark contrast to “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby”, which I am currently listening to on audiobook, and in which there is tons of minutia amidst rare significant events (although I like other Dickens' stuff).

Some of the unlikely coincidences in the book were a little off-putting, like the monster happening to run into Frankenstein’s brother (and then killing him), and then on the same night just happening to cross paths with another member of Frankenstein’s household—Justine—an encounter which ultimately led to her death by execution. So thanks to those unlikely coincidences, Frankenstein was made to pay mightily for creation of the monster. In addition, Clerval’s murder happened to occur at just the spot (or very near the spot) at which Frankenstein happened to come ashore after being lost at sea for a time.

And speaking of Justine, the way that she was introduced to the reader was odd, her history being related to Frankenstein in a letter, as if he didn’t already know her history, even though in his younger days Justine “was a favorite” of his.

Despite the anguish of Frankenstein, I--like Schaps--empathized with the monster more than with him. The monster’s misery—in the beginning at least—was due to no fault of his own, whereas Frankenstein’s misery was ultimately his own fault. And although you could say it was due to a dreadful mistake, due to youthful passions, at least he could have empathized more I thought with his monster’s plight.

Of course the whole story is far-fetched, but it is even “farther-fetched” to require that Frankenstein’s methods could bring to life only a creature created by him almost from scratch, as opposed to being able to bring any recently dead person back. I don’t know why that requirement was employed by Shelley.

I also thought the highly articulate language and sophisticated social understanding possessed by the monster were odd, when both had to be learned. When these skills were first made apparent, I thought it must have been the case that he had memories from whatever brain he was "born" with, but I later saw that that was not the case. So he apparently learned both skills at super speed.

Having said all that, I did like the book. I thought its characters were interesting and mostly believable, and the story was engaging.

I kinda feel like the old lady whose Olive Garden review went viral since everyone knows (more or less) about Frankenstein. :D
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#6  Postby Lolla » 08 Oct 2012, 07:18

woodshedder wrote:Despite the anguish of Frankenstein, I--like Schaps--empathized with the monster more than with him. The monster’s misery—in the beginning at least—was due to no fault of his own, whereas Frankenstein’s misery was ultimately his own fault. And although you could say it was due to a dreadful mistake, due to youthful passions, at least he could have empathized more I thought with his monster’s plight.


I also agree with this. Along with the theme of people being outcasts because they differ from the norm, I also think it speaks to the fact that some people just can't take responsibility for their actions. Being an intelligent man he probably should have foreseen that bringing something that unnatural to life would not be a good idea, to say the least. Which is kind of beside the point I guess, because if the character was a sensible one we wouldn't have the story. :D

Looking at it as just a novel, it was a good read and I enjoyed it.
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
― Neil Gaiman, Coraline
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#7  Postby sjohnston922 » 09 Oct 2012, 14:32

I read this for the first time last year, and it took me forever to get through it. Perhaps I have been too enfluenced by Hollywood's renditions of the story (I know the original movie is nothing like the book but there have been others that are closer), but I wanted it move faster. Part of that is a condition of the time period. Novels of that era tend to have long descriptive paragraphs which I have trouble concentrating on.

It was less of a horror tale then an ode to the calming powers of nature. For both Frankenstein and the monster, being out in nature gave them a sense of wonder and calmed their troubled minds.
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#8  Postby Diane B » 12 Oct 2012, 14:53

I was surprised by the book because the real story was different than the Hollywood/monty phython versions! I thought the book would be mostly about creating the monster, but that took place quite close to the beginning. And - Frankenstein was NOT the name of the monster. How cruel life can be when you are born ugly. What a waste of 2 lives - but I did feel more sympathy for Frankenstein, creator. I never expected the monster to sound like a university professor - that's quite a switch from the Hallowe'en version of Frankenstein. Why didn't F. go to the authorities after the first murder and tell all? When he finally did tell his story, it was too late: he had no support and was judged unstable. It seems like Shelley is saying ambition and thirst for knowledge leads to nothing but trouble. Amazing she was apparently barely 19 when she wrote this.
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#9  Postby hartmanr1 » 14 Oct 2012, 10:41

Isn't it a pleasure to savor the real book of FRANKENSTEIN vs. later Hollywood versions

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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#10  Postby Theodore434 » 21 Oct 2012, 16:17

I loved this book! I think Mary Shelley was such a wonderful author!!!
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#11  Postby letigre2393 » 22 Oct 2012, 13:48

I rather enjoyed this novel. I was supposed to read this in my high school literature class, but couldn't bring myself to actually read it. A while after I graduated, I came back to it. I absolutely love to read, and I figured I should at least try to get into Frankenstein; it is a classic, after all. I think my trouble with getting into this story was more to do with my stubborn resistance to authority than any fault of the author.
Frankenstein is a wonderful novel to discuss. You can take it in so many different directions. First, the consequences of playing God. When Frankenstein created his monster, it was like a slap in the face to God. He basically said, I don't need God, I can create life all on my own. And look where that got him. His monster was both directly and indirectly responsible for the death of several of his friends and family, and he was blamed for all of it. Second, the plight of Frankenstein's monster can be applied to the modern day discrimination of the LGBT community (among many other minority groups.) No matter what the monster feels on the inside, or what kind of person he is, society despises him because of one thing that he cannot help; namely, his appearance. He did not choose to look the way he does (or even to be created in the first place), but because he looks different to everyone else, he cannot be a good person; he must be a monster. We fear that which we don't know.
Anyway, I digress. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a great classic novel. Easy read, fully-developed characters, great discussion piece. Overall a fantastic experience.
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#12  Postby franmillington » 24 Oct 2012, 14:47

Hi, I have read Frankenstein a few times and it is one of my personal favourites. The story and characters are well crafted and the language used is beautiful and evocative throughout. I have a 'soft spot' for gothic literature in general, but I found this a particularly fascinating novel, given the circumstances surrounding the events of its writing. The themes explored have a universal resonance and highlight issues of acceptance and prejudice, loyalty and betrayal. I realise that this is not everybody's kind of book, but for me personally, I would have to say that I would thoroughly recommend it.

Just my opinion. :)

Fran M x x
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#13  Postby jomarie » 27 Oct 2012, 06:00

I have read the book many times and on rereading as a much older and wiser person (???) I was stuck by the theme of "man's" relationship to his creator. Should the created attempt to take the role of creator??
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#14  Postby howardsadvocate » 10 Nov 2012, 19:26

Schaps wrote:Shelley clearly and directly addresses her "devils" in Frankenstein. the book is replete with obvious references to conflicts of discrimination, the unfairness of life and dreams unfulfilled. While the details of the murders are disturbing, I for one, unapologetically take the side of the monster!





-Agreed, and to extent she uses Frankenstein to represent her husband's obsession with literature.
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Re: Discussion of Frankenstein

Post Number:#15  Postby otleylovebug » 12 Nov 2012, 17:37

Just read Franenstein for first time - before that only seen the movie - so many layers to the novel. Best quote:

“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.”

Frantenstein after creating his monster hopes there will be no repercussions from his experiment but by interfering with nature he loses his brother William, Justine (servant), Clerval (friend), Eliabeth (bride) and finally his father who dies grief stricken. He also loses his peace of mind. In spite of this I did feel sympathy for the Monster when I heard his story as if Frankenstein had taken responsibility for the Monster he might turned out very differently.

I am fasinated also by the life story of Mary Shelley who wrote Frantensteir at the age of 19. She lost her mother as a baby and also lost three of her four children. She ran away with Peter Shelley (poet) who was already married and although she did marry him later it came at a price as his wife committed suicide and also her half sister who was left at home and had to deal with the fallout committed suitcide. When Shelley was drowned Mary Shelley was left alone and devoted herself to bringing up her remaining son. She seemed to be someone who was not bound by convention and society and the moral dilemnas she creating in the book are fasinating If I met her would I want to meet her at 19 when she wrote the book at later in life when she was older and alone and had time to reflect.

The book offers so much more than the film I saw and I found it quite easy to read and although not a long novel it certainly had a punch to it. This novel is very relevant is today's society where there is so much interference with nature with the enviroment and genetics etc

Five Stars *****
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