Thursday, June 23

Despondence and Mortification!

I'm not into nit-picking in books, but I have noticed a sort of absurd and hilarious little thing in Frankenstein which has been niggling in me so much the last two days that I absolutely must mention it! 

I'm not sure if Mary Shelley provides any sort of explanation for it later on or not, because I haven't finished it yet obviously, but I can't get over how eloquently Frankenstein's monster talks!  I have reached the part where Frankenstein is listening to his creation's 'story', because he begged him to hear him out before killing him.  His monster then goes on to tell pretty well his entire life's story.  He explains how he had to learn everything from scratch just like an infant.  This includes speech.  So why exactly is he telling this story about learning to understand words like 'fire' and 'rain' with the eloquent and verbose phrases of an English scholar? 

The old man, leaning on his son, walked each day at noon, when it did not rain, as I found it was called when the heavens poured forth its water. 


I had admired the perfect forms of my cottagers - their grace, beauty, and delicate complexions: but how was I terrified, when I viewed myself in a transparent pool!  At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who w as reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification.  Alas!  I did not yet entirely know the fatal effects of this miserable deformity.

Chapter IV, Part II, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (published 1818). 

Mmmhmm.  Yes.  Well.  Despondence and mortification!  Alas.  I did not yet entirely know that you would be able to talk like this so quickly after learning what 'rain' and 'fire' are. 

It doesn't annoy me at all, though.  I just kind of find it funny.  It's nearly cute.  It's a nice little thing to know, isn't it?  And I don't think I'll ever forget it, because I've thought about it so much. 


  1. I thought the exact same thing!! But just like you it didn't bother me. I love the story and the message behind it, I wish cinema hadn't completely ruined it! Also I understand about only reading classics, I'm quite like that too but have been occasionally branching out if I think the book will be worth it. I'm not sure what we're reading next, any recommendations?

  2. Oh, Frankenstein. I have not read that in ages but I think I did not quite finish it. I am more of a Jane Austen girl-parlor fiction makes me happy. I do remember writing a paper and getting Frankenstein and the monster mixed up. Sadly, that did not go over well.


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