Monday, February 22, 2016

Currently Reading 2.22.16




Hello all.

Your friendly neighborhood Boylan blogger is here today to ask you if you can keep a secret. It's important to me, and no one can ever know. Ready?

I have never...ever...read Mary Shelly's Frankenstein in completion. 

Yes, even as I hang my head in shame and write this, the truth must be known. The English major in me sure does feel like I've disappointed somebody, though not exactly sure who. This isn't one of those Hipster-like rants about how there are these unfair expectations of English majors to be well-versed in every major classic English novel and how I'm too cool for that. Honestly, I was just never assigned it. Despite knowing someday that I would read it, my 19th Century English Novels course is the first time I've ever picked it up to actually finish. It seems like a pretty quick read and I'm not done, but I thought it'd be fun to briefly bring it up since...well, it is what I'm currently reading, after all.

There were so many covers to choose from - I selected this one because of how
 differently the monster looks from Hollywood's version.
There are three distinct narratives in which my professor believes people usually read Frankenstein - the psychological thriller of a parent and his child, the science fictional story of a creator and his misunderstood creation, and the philosophical commentary of an artist and his art. I'm inclined to agree with her, especially since most of what I have heard about it over the years, and definitely what Hollywood has done, has been some culmination of these three views. As a reader and writer, however, my biggest joy is not seeing what this story is about, nearly as much as how it tells its story. I love how fresh the epistolary story-telling seems even though it is an old technique and I have fallen in love with the varying sizes of Captain Walton's letters, as they often build tension for the story. I think this is a novel that I could find myself rereading which is surprising, considering that the classics tend to be so dense for me, that it is often hard for me to feel captivated enough by the plot to really enjoy them. I hate feeling like I have to pretend to like something, just because so many people do. I do not think such a temptation will be aroused as I continue to read Frankenstein. 

It is in my nature to rush through almost everything I do. My classes, my job, with helping lead my Campus Ministry...heck, even things like my relationship with Bukky (that's my Nigerian princess for those of ya'll who don't know) and my writing suffer because I'm constantly on the go, paranoid that I am not going to be excellent and that as a result, what I do will suffer. I appreciate the time Mary Shelly takes with her writing - she builds up to the monster, not shoving him down the readers' throats. She understood what most of twenty-first century horror cinema doesn't; to build fear in the hearts of people, you need a healthy balance of suspense and surprise, not just shock value. 

Lastly, as a big fan of bromance, I love how one-sided the bromance seems to be between Victor Frankenstein and Captain Walton. Walton seems to adore Victor, whereas poor, tormented Victor seems to have way too much going for him to be concerned with building with his bosom buddy. Ahh well.

I should be done this week, class work permitting, so I’m hoping to enjoy this next portion even more and perhaps gain more insights. Hopefully I won’t be the only one talking in class, because…well, we all know how annoying that can be.

Stay golden everybody,
Mike 

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