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Frankenstein-Value for Modern Readers

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Frankenstein-value for modern readers

Mary Shelley’s text, Frankenstein is a text, which is highly regarded in today’s society for its outstanding literary worth. However, the text as it was seen during the time of Shelley and its appearance and appeal today, most certainly differ. The most significant difference is that over a hundred years ago, the text was seen as a popular text, our modern day Simpsons, if you like. Conversely, today it appeals to the cannon of high culture. Its gradual change over time has been based on a number of deciding factors.

Frankenstein’s immediate audience was that of a popular audience. Such an audience purely relied on a story, which would indulge them with exhilaration or apprehension. In the case of Frankenstein the audience was introduced to the horror thesis. The story told delved piquantly into the tragic ordeals of Victor as his fiend wreaked destruction and devastation to all those, who were close to Victor. This story line is symptomatic of a popular audience, as they craved a story, which would invigorate passion and tragedy.

Vast arrays of appropriations have sprung from Shelley’s text, which influence as to why the text still remains today. The main source of today’s appropriations has been drawn directly from the figure of the monster itself. As, technology advanced and the idea of the stage was subjugated with the growing trend towards cinema, the figure of the original idea of the monster diminished. The figure slowly morphed into a hideous being, possessing green, stitched skin with bolts in the side of the head (lacking the original parallels to Adam). Unfortunately, the birth of cinema and its immediate success led to the demise of the philosophies and principles, which were initially at the crux of Shelley’s Frankenstein. A modern day appropriation of Frankenstein is The Rocky Horror Show, which draws directly from the creation of a monster, yet puts it in a satirical context, once again abating the traditional philosophies. The birth of the horror theme was partly due to Shelley’s text and though the horror theme is carried through today, it differs greatly as society now expects a different form of horror.

Shelley envisioned a strong sense of humanity in her novel. She encapsulated the quintessence of the period in which she lived by expressing ideologies, such as humanity’s relationship with God and the hypothesis of nature versus nurture. The relationship with God was vividly changed during the industrial era. Shelley’s focus on such an aspect admonished society that playing God can have devastating effects, which are perceptibly expressed in Frankenstein. Shelley also made a comment on the idea of nature versus nurture. She enforced contemplation as to whether a being is affected by their original state or by external forces, such as society or family, which can determine their outlook on life. This notion is evident in Frankenstein as we see the monster inflict havoc and destruction due to either his nature or his nurture. Such philosophical concepts of humanity and the questions posed to society are lost due to modern appropriations, which are aimed at a popular audience. Hence, we can see that that the original concepts in Shelley’s text now appeal to a more academic or high culture cannon.

The novel itself followed a certain criteria in regards to structure.

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