Sunday, September 11, 2011

Isolation & Misery

Hey everyone, my name's Alex and I'm a senior History major who has read some graphic novels here-and-there.

Before Words & Images, my only familiarity with Frankenstein was with the ubiquitous image of the emotionless, boxy head with screws emanating from his neck. Upon viewing the film and reading the first half of the book, I've found there's a lot more to this story than the shock value of the birth of a monster. In fact, I would posit that the monster is not even the scariest aspect of the book; rather, the true demon or "wretch" is the darkness of the human mind and the extent to which man can fall into misery. This is evident throughout the book as Capt. Walton, Frankenstein, the monster, and Elizabeth (a character who represents joy and benevolence) all battle with despair and the anguish within their own minds. To go along with this theme of misery is the idea that company and human contact is the greatest threat to despair. Walton longs for a friend in his letters and Frankenstein creates the monster after becoming obsessed with his work due to his complete isolation at college. Although it is never explicitly stated that Frankenstein is miserable during his time at college before creating the monster, I believe he is in denial of his mother's death and turns that misery into obsession with his work.

The monster puts it best when he proclaims, "...misery made me a fiend."

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