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Why is Frankenstein such a popular text?

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Introduction

Why is Frankenstein such a popular text? Frankenstein is a science fiction novel written by Mary Shelley during the time of the Romantic Movement. It has remained popular ever since it was first published and still sells well today, with many reprints of the book since the first edition. One of the main characters of the story and probably the most (in)famous, Frankenstein's monster, has become an icon of all that is monstrous and wrong. The story has been adapted and interpreted many times all in different ways, causing the monster and the stereotypical view of him to become intertextual. The most popular and well recognised representation of the monster and the one that most people would attempt to draw for you if you asked them what he looked like, is that of a huge green man with bolts coming out of the side of his neck and a flat, broad head. This was created for film by Boris Karloff as his interpretation of what the monster should look like. He would typically move very laboriously, with his arms outstretched as if chasing something. His speech is slow and primitive. This, however, is not the true Frankenstein's monster as described in the book, but one created for television and primarily the cinema, as the book centred more on the issues and moral conflicts when dealing with such a creature, whereas cinema and the media tend to concentrate more on the action and thrilling sides of the story. ...read more.

Middle

By the standards of the author's time, the reactions of those who came into contact with the monster would be perfectly acceptable and normal. It is only today that we would feel it necessary to get to get to know the person before making such harsh judgements, but that is only after we have become adjusted to seeing disabled and disfigured people in everyday life. Still, however, there is a natural and occasionally deliberate tendency to treat people who appear differently not as equals in today's society. There is either a deliberate lack of communication and involvement or an over attentiveness to palm to the person's every need, thus reducing their feeling of independence and their ability to physically care for themselves. The monster is called "the monster" during the course of the story because he is not named by Frankenstein before things start getting out of hand. "He never gave me a name" is one of the most famous lines from the book and represents how the monster is anonymous. As one of the two central roles in the story, the monster and his actions occupy the majority of the plot. I think this is where the typical monster portrayal as a source of action comes from. Frankenstein the scientist is a very strange character. Like the monster, the reader is made to feel different things for Frankenstein at different stages. ...read more.

Conclusion

The structure of the story keeps the reader guessing right until the end. The story starts with Frankenstein in the arctic describing the past events to Captain Walton, so you know vaguely how the story ends but are unsure how it gets there. Captain Walton is like Frankenstein in his own way in as such that he is willing to sacrifice his crew in order to be remembered as the first man to reach the North Pole. It is through Frankenstein's story that he realises the extent of what the is doing as sees that the lengths he is willing to go to are not acceptable or justified at all. This culminates two stories, that of Frankenstein's adventure and Captain Walton's giving the reader an increased feeling of cathagy. In conclusion, the two reasons I believe to be why Frankenstein has remained such a popular text are: a. That the central theme of the story and the issues and situations the arise throughout it are becoming more and more relevant in everyday society so people can relate to the story and b. That it is the first true science fiction story ever and so has been promoted as such that it has grabbed everyone's attention. There are probably a number of stories quite similar and perhaps of even better quality than Mary Shelley's work but few people have heard of them and so they remain in Frankenstein's shadow. ...read more.

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