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This week I came across a quote about one of my favorite books, Frankenstein  by Mary Shelley, and it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.

I feel somewhat unsettled to admit that I loved this book. The topic is so…. disturbing, horrifying at times, bordering on the brink of sanity ripping into insanity. It is fictional, of course.

Well, . . . of course it is. Surly it is. . . . isn’t it?

Or, is it?

On the scientific side, assuming it is, of course, fiction, Frankenstein makes your mind wander and wonder. Tinkering with genes and DNA and cloning that goes on in deep recesses down the shiny-floored hallways of science labs or in someone’s cold, damp basement. What could be growing and lurking there? A cloned monster emerging on a rampage toward global chaos?  To veer to Charlotte Mason’s views on scientific thought and ‘progress’,  we can only hope, as she says, that the scientists of the day are trained about the sacrifice, humility, and respect due to nature and her scientific comrades.  Without that dutiful care, Frankenstein could well emerge from a dark world of science fiction into human reality. Maybe we best leave those thoughts buried.

So leaving that disturbing train of thought for another point of view. We delve in the the moral side of life. It doesn’t improve much. One must take a look at self. Like Victor, could I have innocently created monsters that loom over life? Could I have created Frankensteins made by my own hands, made with my name on them? Is Frankenstein an idea, a spiritual reality, or character crisis? Maybe in life, Frankenstein is not a true, physical being, but the disturbing, continual, pressing paths we take ever walking further into the chaos that will inevitably be created unless we break the doomed path- if we can break the doomed path.  My wake in this journey of life has consequences. To again delve to CM for perspective. Our life consists of the habits we allow, patterns of character we continue, the train of thought we choose to follow. Volume 5 is full of suggestions of habitual tracks we ought be careful of if we are traveling upon them. There are creations that mount too large for life, character flaws that loom ready to devour and suck the life from a friendship, a relationship, a marriage, a child. Frankenstein reminds us to be careful in what we start, being thoughtful at the outset of what we will inevitably foster. There is a way that seems right, but the end is death.

But, in case you were wondering, those introspective and disturbing thoughts that query science and check the soul are not exactly why I love Frankenstein. I love it because it is Smooth as Butter. I have no idea how to otherwise describe the beauty of Mary Shelley’s words. Her narrative flows like water. Not a bubbly brook tumbling and splashing down the mountain rocks, but, a force like the Missouri River. A vast, moving mass, powerful and quiet, reflective as glass. No odd pauses or strange breaks in thought. Flowing but not meandering into boring. Flowing. Maybe someday I could write like that. Sorry for my choppiness!

I initially picked this book up because it was recommended on a book list as a classic for high school literature. I missed out myself on this classic earlier in life. Before I handed this to my high school student, it seemed prudent that I should preview. I would recommend it for high school. Discussion might arise about thinking before acting, the consequences of dealing with our creations, the regret and despair that follow thoughtless actions even though they initially seemed good. It might pair very well with Volume 4 and the daemons that arise alongside the esquires and lords. A very sensitive type might not want to read it before bed like I did, or they may have strange dreams of someone chasing them! It’s a suspenseful page turner at times.

Oh yes, the quote I had been reading earlier this week.

“To be a good writer, you must pull back the curtain and look through the window, describing what you see, as Mary Shelley does in Frankenstein: “grand shapes…congregated round me; the unstained snowy mountaintop, the glittering pinnacle, the pine woods, and ragged, bare ravine, the eagle, soaring amidst the clouds….” – The Roar on the Other Side by Suzanne Rhodes p.28