To celebrate the Halloween mood, I decided to do something I haven’t done before and read a horror novel. That’s right–I have not read a horror novel before. I’ve read a Goosebumps book when I was younger, Edgar Allan Poe’s stories (the tell-tale heart scared me when I read it in the library when I was eleven), and am creeped out by some of Neil Gaiman’s stories (especially the image of Coraline) but have never really read a novel in the horror genre before.
I bought my copy of Frankenstein in a second hand store for less than 20PHP and it’s in relatively good condition. I started it with feelings of anticipation and excitement, ready to be scared by one of the greatest horror classics.
I am 72% in (according to Goodreads) and I am battling feelings of great disappointment. 194 pages in, the monster created, the monster has murdered, and I have not felt scared at all.
Is the horror aspect of this book humanity and how they are predisposed to judging and despising the ugly? Or does the horror pertain to humanity’s evil? Because if it’s the latter, then Blindness by Jose Sarmago does a much better job of showing how evil humanity can get without the need of a being comprised of a combination of corpses who was brought to life in an unexplained manner.
It is actually quite funny that the being Frankenstein gives life to is captivated by human beauty. After all, perceptions of beauty are different in every part of the world. Japanese girls constantly want their eyes to look bigger, thus the circular contact lenses. Korean women undergo eyelid surgery to have double eyelids. Chinese women bind their feet to make them smaller. Western women want to tan, Philippine women want to be whiter. Yet this being recognized the concept of beauty quickly, almost as fast as he understood his need for nourishment. Thus began an obsession of looks (his compared to others) that became the bane of his existence.
Another thing that bothers me is that this being that Frankenstein created had so much more potential than the outcast Shelley gave life to. In all aspects except looks, the being is superior to a human. He is more agile, he heals faster even without medical attention, he is taller, he learned to talk fluently in less than a year. If Frankenstein had not been a wimp, he’d have seen this early on. He could have created so much more, a race superior to that of humans. And if he could have made an isolated community of them and taken over the wo–okay, so I’m obviously heading toward the science fiction genre here. But my point–the potential. Frankenstein had just made a leap in science and yet he ran away! He made a sentient being out of corpses and god knows what because the author either did not have enough imagination to tell or she was psychic and knew her story would be so famous one day, so she didn’t want anybody to actually try what she’d written. Or maybe she just wasn’t one for deep imagination.
After all, Frankenstein’s creature came to her in a dream.
You know who else came to a female author in a dream?
Edward Cullen of Twilight.
I’ll stop here for now and edit when I’m actually done with the book. I just needed to let my initial reaction out before I forget.