CBR14Bingo – Monster – It’s a about a monster. And while yes, Victor Frankenstein is a monster, the Monster is most definitely a monster.
The thing that always strikes me about Frankenstein, and I think this is probably my fifth or so time reading it is the narrative structure. It’s told entirely through the perspective and letters of Robert Walton, an adventurer at sea, after he sees the Monster on the ice, and then finds and befriend Victor, who is pursuing the monster. These two are kindred spirits, and the best way to express the dual theme of misadventure that Shelley puts into the novel. The advancement of science without the careful consideration of ethics and abomination and the advancement of colonialism and conquest, again, without considering the dangers of leaving home behind. There’s nothing to suggest to me that Walton is anything but a reliable enough narrator, in terms of getting his facts right, but the emotional coloring of the stories seems an obvious possibility. He is recording Victor’s testimony, but Victor’s testimony also includes his memory of the confrontation with the Monster on the mountaintop and there’s too much room for variation and misremembering to ignore here.
In addition, the Monster’s story always strikes me as deeply self-serving, however sympathetic, and while we’re meant to read his tale as connected to Young Werther by Goethe, one of the books he reads, it’s hard to avoid the connection to Faust by association. There’s a few other references that would be interesting to chase down too and see how they connect to the ways in which the monster’s sensibility (ala Quixote) is formed by the things he reads.