As I read Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel Frankenstein, I found myself consciously pushing aside all the various iterations of the monster that I’ve encountered over the years and trying to appreciate it for the unique work it was when written in 1818. I was pleasantly surprised by its structure and use of both letters and first person narrative. There was nothing of the lumbering heavy-lidded look made famous by Boris Karloff, but rather a creature alienated and outcast—having no homeland or loved ones to provide roots, care, or shelter. Much more than a monster story, Shelley crafted a clever morality tale about the responsibility we have to bear for all of our actions—no matter how altruistic or pure-hearted our intentions may have been. In the end it could be argued that the creator of the so-called monster was more monstrous in his actions than his creation. A classic of literature I’m glad I finally got around to reading.

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