Monday, December 18, 2006

The Monsters

Well Christmas shopping is going better than I thought it would. On Friday it almost seemed as though God had gone through the store ahead of me and put clearance tags on the things I needed to buy. He always amazes me when he answers even my selfish and silly prayers like that. To me the answers to those prayers are almost more moving than when He answers my big prayers. We all expect/hope for important prayers to be answered, but when God takes the time to answer the little ones I voice throughout the day, it tells me how much He loves me and wants to be part of every aspect of my life. Now if I could just get a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for Gamecube for $50.00, that will be a miracle!

The Monsters
by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler is a fascinating read about the creation of the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The book traces Mary's family tree as well as the other members of the Diodati circle in a way that gives a great deal of insight into their characters. Both Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron come off as the foolish geniuses they were. The authors spend a great deal of time sorting out the two men's various affairs, but apparently that's what they had to do as well! The real victim of these men and their foibles were their children. Percy and Mary lost four of their five children before the age of four. And Byron's abandonment of his daughter seems especially tragic as she died not long after. The Hooblers do a terrific job of analyzing Frankenstein in a way relevant for our time as well as Mary's, and they see parallels between Percy, William Godwin (Mary's father) and Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The insightful writing gives the reader extreme sympathy for Mary. She identified with the monster in her book because it had been rejected by its father figure, much as Mary was not only by her father, but also by her mentor Percy. The monsters in this book are not the kind of nightmares; they are the monster from Mary's famous book. Every one of them felt alone and cut off from the world, just like the monster. It's a universal human feeling, which is why Frankenstein has resonated through the years more strongly that Shelley's or Byron's poems, and the young woman who was ignored by the poets has outshone them finally.

Mary grew up in a time when society was starting to question freedom. Giving women more rights, abolishing marriage, free love, democracy, and atheism were all ideas embraced by the Romantics. I ached for Mary and the loss of her children while reading this book, and I couldn't help but think that perhaps when we start throwing aside some of the basic components of society: marriage, monogamy, religion; we destroy our children.

I think I'll end today on that heavy thought. I need to make cookies for Mia's preschool play tomorrow night.