I knew that I wanted to pick a scary story for this month’s book recommendation, but there were so many choices that I had difficulty choosing one. Finally, I decided to recommend a classic, my favorite classic in fact, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein which was published in 1818. This tale of horror came into being when poet Lord Byron challenged Mary, her husband Percy, and others to write a ghost story. Mary created her classic horror novel, which has been creating shivers down readers’ spines for centuries. Though Hollywood has greatly altered her tale, the original story is poignant, complex, and chilling. You may find yourself asking who the real monster of the story is.
This is a story of a man who tried to play as God, and was punished for it. Victor Frankenstein discovers the secret to life, and seeks to create a creature from it. But instead, he creates a hideous monster, a daemon who seeks his very destruction.
But the monster is not all he seems to be. He desires all that is good and beautiful, but is rejected by mankind and his own creator. Unless he can have some degree of happiness in his life, he vows to wreak vengeance of Victor Frankenstein, destroying all he loves.
In this story of horror and revenge, men and monsters seek to rise above themselves. But men will become monsters, and monsters will succumb to their most base natures. This isn’t your Hollywood Frankenstein complete with lightning and dumb, plodding green monsters. This is the original story, and its reflections on the nature of man may be scarier than ever.
Book Group Questions
1. How did an increase of knowledge negatively affect both Frankenstein’s life and the monster’s?
2. In discovering the secret to creating life, one could say that Victor played at being God. Do you think that God punished Victor, or were Victor’s own actions of dealing with unholy arts the cause of his downfall?
3. Who do you think was the real monster of the story? Victor, his creation, or both? In what ways were Frankenstein and the monster similar?
4. Both Frankenstein and his monster seek revenge upon one another. How does this vengeance lead to both of their downfalls?