Have you ever read two books that are generally clumped together in a genre and both are relatively well-loved and you read one and loved it and then the other wanted to kick the author in the privates?
That’s close to how I feel about Frankenstein and Dracula.
I read both of them for a Brit Lit class. This was very soon after I decided to get a degree in English and I wanted to see how many lit classes I could take before I wanted to break. The most I ever took was ever three.
Anyway it was Brit Lit 2 and we read Frankenstien first. I went into reading this book, knowing a little about the history, thinking I’m going to hate this book. Well, I was the only one in class when we discussed it that defended the book. I have to give Dr. Kajenki props on this. When I stated in class that I didn’t really hate the book, I got pounced on and she totally stuck up for me and let me voice my opinion. I liked the simplicity of it.
By the time that we got Dracula I was a little burnt out by the semester and wasn’t a big fan of the book it was a meh book for me. I think I just couldn’t wrap my head around it at that time. The one funny thing I remember about Dracula was one of the ladies stated very firmly that she wouldn’t read it at night.
Now 4 years after the class my opinions have kind of reversed. I love Dracula‘s epistolary style. I like the writing and I like how it’s formated and I think it’s clever. I love the darkness in it. Which is really funny because usually I’m not really into the darker side of a novel.
Now I don’t think Frankenstien isn’t a well written novel. It’s just a young novel. Shelley was just young when she wrote it on a dare. I think the character Frankenstein is just retarded. I mean the monster warns him for his wedding night and he leaves his bride alone. I mean seriously. That’s only one example of my anger toward the character. Besides Frankenstein, the writting is young. I’m past being young, sort of. This doesn’t hurt the novel but now every time I think about the novel, I think of the Mel Brooks movie “Young Frankenstein” and I giggle uncontrollably.
One of my favorite parts of reading these novels for college is the scholarly articles that we had to read after the novel. It’s one thing to actually read the novel and one thing but actually reading it and then reading an analysis on it is so much more rewarding for me. It points out things and undertones that you missed when reading the novel. For example you know that Dracula is sexual, but read an article about it. You, or at least I did, miss some of the innuendos. Try it with these novels. It’s worth it.
I think the monster is the greatest thing in both novels. I know you wouldn’t have a novel without the monster but each monster is created so spectacularly. I love the different ways that they were created and the ways they different ways they act. I love the monster.
Granted, this is a personal opinion, but I think Frankenstein is written for a younger audience. It’s a decent book at any age but I think reading the book earlier, personally, would have been a better love affair.