Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve read this novel a few times – in part because copies with my underlinings, which I teach from, seem to disappear – and it gets better every time I read it. Some readers regard “Frankenstein” as overrated or have other complaints about it, but I both enjoy it and teach it for several reasons. First, it gives students a chance to see how media representations and film remakes distort an author’s original work. (It’s a good example of why we should read the book, not just watch the movie.) Second, its style is definitely 19th-century Romantic but not so dense as to be unattainable to high-school students. Third, the story asks common human questions about identity and meaning while presenting quandaries about the uses and misuses of science and technology, and also offering an (extreme) example of the mistakes that unrestrained youthful vigor can lead to. I’ve found that students are typically impressed by how the novel is not what they expected it to be.
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