Frankenstein is known as the green, screw headed monster. In addition, you will probably say its name is “Frankenstein”. Actually, the real name of this monster is not ‘Frankenstein’. Frankenstein is the name of the medical doctor who created this monster. Then, you might be curious about this monster’s name. Actually in novel <Frankenstein>, the name of the monster was not mentioned. In the novel, the monster is identified only as “creature” which literally means ‘a living thing’. Usually the characters in the novel have names, but why the author of this book did not give a monster its own name? The answer lies in the social trend at the time when Frankenstein’s author, Marry Sherlly (1797~1851) was born.
Surprisingly, the monster in the novel is quite different from the monster you know. The monster in original novel was a humane and smart character that can learn French alone, moved while reading literature, and the one that can save a drowning child. But although the monster approached society with favor, people isolated the monster from society and attacked it because it wasn’t one of the mainstream. This pain of a monster is similar to the pain that writer Merry Sherlly went through. She was born into an intellectual family in the early 19th century. Although she was a young-competent writer, she had no choice but to be discriminated against in the male-dominated literary world. As she was a female writer, she had to publish the manuscript in ‘anonymous’. So Mary Sherlly had to identify herself as an author of <Frankenstein> 13 years after the book was published. This discrimination wasn’t limited to her only, but to all female writers of the time. After she revealed her identity, critics who praised her work changed their attitude saying-“It’s a 3rd rate novel written by a woman in the 20s with a mental illness.” No one asked, wandered, or called the monster’s name, so as Merry Sherlly’s. The world threw stones at them because they were different. Mary and the monster just wanted to be called by their name.
This novel’s monster is not a symbol of fear. It is a symbol of the socially disadvantaged who marginalized and erased from society, and a spokesperson* of Mary Sherlly. Novel <Frankenstein> is not just a horror novel, but a novel that shows the fear of prejudice and discrimination. I’d like to end this essay with the words of the monster in this book.
“Deadly prejudice cover their eyes and see only the gruesome monster instead of the friendly, friendly friend.”
|A portrait of Mary Shelley|
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