Friday, August 6, 2010

Not As Evil As All That, Really

I'd intended to post my backlogged rant on clarity today, but something happened that I have to comment on.

I have, officially, found a book I hate on principle more than Twilight.

(Gasp! Impossible! Surely you jest!)

No. It's true.

The book?


And not entirely (but, admittedly, partly) because I had to read it for school.

Modern interpretations of Frankenstein's monster, I think, tend to portray him as an unintelligent beast who can do naught but murder. (At least, that's my experience, although sometimes this is a bit skewed for comedic purposes.) I feel that such portrayals do the poor thing a great disservice.

For one, he taught himself to talk, and read, without any healthy human interaction.

This book sickens and disgusts me for one very powerful (in my mind) reason: the absolute bigotry.

People judge this poor monster because of his looks. Frankenstein himself, upon seeing the monster (he never even gets a name!) is sickened by the guy's ugliness. It's his own fault for making the poor creature all out-of-proper-human-proportion and ugly. It's not like the monster had any say in the matter.

Further, everyone treats him like a monster because of his looks. The one person who shows him kindness is the old blind man, and this because he is, indeed, blind. Frankenstein's creation is a very articulate, intelligent, kind person while talking with this man, which shows the potential he has in the world, if only people would ignore his ugly outer shell.

The worst part, of course, is that this view is presented as "good." Walton, who opens and closes the story through his letters to his sister, is enchanted by Frankenstein, describing him in terms that nowadays would have earned him the label "homosexual," and completely shares his view that the creature is a monster.

And then, the monster is remorseful that he caused his creator such suffering. And Walton still views him as a monster.

The monster should feel terrible remorse over killing people, and feel compassion for the suffering he inflicted on Frankenstein, but he treats Frankenstein like some martyr. The guy caused his own troubles by rejecting completely what he, in his pride and stupidity, created in the first place. The monster has no reason to revere Frankenstein, or call him--and I quote--"the select specimen of all that is worthy of love and admiration among men."

This whole thing makes me realize why I hate classics so much--they're filled with bigotry. I know that was simply the mindset of the times, but I simply can't stand books filled with misogyny and xenophobia when those things are presented as right and proper.

Ahem. And this concludes my indignant tirade against all things classic, but especially Frankenstein.

And, to you, Mr. Frankenstein: You are a poopy-face.

1 comment:

  1. Surely there are a couple classics without so much bigotry. Have you by chance read Wuthering Heights? Now there's a book I'd have liked to throw across the room. (Haven't read Frankenstein.)