I've always been a lover of horror and while the classic Shelley tale Frankenstein is a major influence on writers today, I never thought about its impact on my children's generation. They have so many things today that easily outstrip the world of Frankenstein that the books doesn't seem relevant any more.
At least, that's what I thought. In a world of videogames and a million cable channels, I didn't thing my son would be interested in reading a book like Frankenstein. At his recent birthday party, his grandmother gave him several “Classics” including Frankenstein.
He was genuinely thrilled. He knew who Frankenstein's monster was from the countless cartoons and shows on television, but he's never seen or read the origin story. At the heart, Frankenstein is a story about humanity and the definition of a monster.
The monster, while hideous, has a compassion about him that the good doctor does not. The monster in the book isn't just a stupid brute, but an intelligent beast and Frankenstein is like an obsessed Ahab after his white whale.
Frankenstein is the one without the emotions willing to steal bodies and transcend the boundaries of morality for his own morbid curiosity and god complex. In many ways, he is the monster.
After thinking on it, I discovered this tale is as relevant, if not more, today then during Shelley's time. I encouraged my son to read it and try to understand both the motivations of the doctor and the monster. The story may have been created in a drunken and drug induced haze, but it's still excellent.