Review: Frankenstein


Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
Penguin Books Ltd.: UK
ISBN 0141439475 (ISBN13: 9780141439471)

I have read this book so many times – and every time I do it reveals something new. The first time I met Dr. F and his monster, I was in a high school English class so you can imagine the purposeful, methodical and academic lens through which I first saw the story. Tragic themes: Man as God, good vs. evil, human image, self-awareness, humanity and the need for affection and love, man’s struggle to find his creator, meaning of life, definitions of beauty, historical context of Victorian society, exotic locations and a journey the ends of the Earth, the emotional struggles of characters who are outcast from society, hypocrisy, religious struggle, natural selection vs. human design, morbid and gothic writing of the period, Mary Shelley as an unlikely author and the context for the story itself, and on and on and on.

The biblical themes of this story and the turn of events that bring the creator and his creation full circle are powerful and relevant in many stories throughout time. Man’s struggle to understand himself and the role he plays in the universe as both the creator and the creation is fascinating. Though it is born from monsterous origins, it begins as innocent as a newborn, with all the potential and of a baby, he  is transformed into the vengeful “monster” through the lack of humanity and affection afforded by his creator. The story speaks to anyone who has ever felt like an outcast or an alien among the masses.

Quantatative: Lexile Level: 1170  ATOS 12.4

Qualitative: The themes in this story are mature and even in its adapted version, this novel is best used with upper grade high school or college level readers. The text is complex, using figurative language with multiple layers of complex meaning woven into the story using language that requires readers to have some literary and cultural knowledge of the time and historical context in order to fully appreciate the meaning.

Content Area: English, Religion, British Literature, Gothic

Common Core Standards: Reading Literature 9-12 (RL.1 – RL.5); Language 9-12 (L.1 – L. 6)

Additional/Digital Resources:

See Linked Review: Eve & Adam by Michael Grant


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