Hello! Hope my readers are having a great October. Halloween is about 12 days away & I have devised a great way to celebrate it with the help of a literary (and later cinematic) phenomenon known as Frankenstein. Most people these days think of Frankenstein as a green monster terrifying to anyone who rests his or her eyes upon him. However, unlike those few feeble-minded individuals that I rather stray away from, Frankenstein was a highly sensitive, ambiguously intelligent, and deeply conflicted character in a novel written by a woman.
Frankenstein was very special for me in college and still is. My connection to the novel has a lot to do with the gender of its writer, but equally prominent are the themes, setting, and its important character development. In recent years thanks to easy access to a vast amount of information online, I have been able to uncover secrets and possible inspirations for Frankenstein leading me to believe that Mary Shelley was writing a literary satire instead of a horror/gothic story. Maybe it is about time we celebrate her as a satirical writer in addition to the first female who published a horror story.
To learn a few tidbits on why & how Mary Shelley devised the novel, check this website out HERE and HERE. For some personal opinions and anecdotes, see below. Frankenstein celebrated individualism like no other novel. Hence, the reason I have pieced together a Halloween post marrying literature and culture in creative ways.
Halloween is about bringing out your creative best which invites a variety of interpretations in almost every aspect of the holiday – decor, costumes, candy, movies, literature, even in music sometimes. From wearing the same “US President” mask bought from Walmarts country-wide to actually having coordinated family costumes have made Halloween fun that much more competitive in recent years.
However, this competition has done something unexpected. These days people focus so much on planning something together that gone is the idea that the holiday is about standing apart. However, many choose to retain the tradition. So still, besides the ghoulish costumes, Halloween celebrates creativity and individuality like no other traditional holiday does, making it a favorite for many children and grownups alike. Keeping that fact intact in my mind, I decided to promote a Frankenstein-themed Halloween today.
Having a Frankenstein-themed Halloween is my idea of adding the semblance of cohesiveness to the night. From watching a classic or modern Frankenstein adaptation (See HERE) on Netflix (See HERE) or actually reading the classic by Mary Shelley (See HERE) is a low-key way to spend Halloween night in the comfort of your home. For some cult classics, don’t forget to catch the cult series, The Addam Family (See HERE). If you feel empowered by the fact that Frankenstein was actually a creative novel (a less scary thought in the 21st century than Frankenstein himself) written by Mary Shelley. You can check out the recent biopic (See HERE) on her.
Costumes And Decor
For those of you who love to mingle and are curious about the world outside like Frankenstein himself, then feel like you belong amidst scary and superhero costumes (but not those princess costumes because you will be ignored even on Halloween) behind a Frankenstein mask (See HERE) or in a full costume (See HERE). For children, this costume (See HERE) is a great option, which comes in three different sizes and requires some assembly. For party hosts, lighting up some Frankincense ( 😉 ) or Myrrh (See HERE, HERE, and HERE) is great for having that earthy smell in your venue when your guests arrive in their Halloween finest.
If you are big Frankenstein-enthusiasts or traveling during the holiday, then check out some following travel ideas (See HERE, HERE, and HERE) to help you find the way, which sadly for Frankenstein was not an option.
Personal Anecdote On Individuality
I have spent my entire life trying to stand out. Maybe because I was a middle child or maybe because I was so close to strong women in my family, finding outlets to let my creativity run wild was a passion of mine.
A wonderful memory I have of my grandfather went something like this. It was before dawn when I was awoken by my grandfather and placed in the back seat of his Mercedes. I knew it was my grandfather so I didn’t scream although my worries kept increasing at each passing minute. I remember him fumbling with the radio and being angry over finding nothing but the static noise. Meanwhile, I was afraid what will happen if I spoke up. An hour or so later (he may have driven me around for a while) we reached to our destination. It was perfect timing because I could see the rays of sunshine. He quickly pulled me out of the car and carried me to the edge of the small mountain in a mountain range in Islamabad, Pakistan. I was so happy but confused at the same time. I turned to him and I asked why he planned this. To which he replied because it was “our” birthday. I laughed because it was not (I actually don’t remember because I was so young to remember my birthday). He told me it is December and that is all I need to know. I said okay. And just then another car pulled up and out came the very young Taylor Swift with her dad. We had the biggest smiles on our faces as we both realized what my grandfather planned for our birthday month. Her dad placed her right next to me and stood behind her like my grandfather stood behind me.
At that moment when the sun was coming up rather fast (and large!), I realized my life dream. I saw Taylor making music and music videos. And what my grandfather (and friends) planned for my life all made sense to me at the moment. I whispered in my grandfather’s ear that I have decided something. And that something will be related to tech and computers when I grow up. And the four of us remained silent for a while until we were tired. Best day ever!
Interpretations About The Novel
- “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy half-vital motion.” I wonder if she was appalled by what people were thinking and doing at the time of the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment/Romanticism. I wonder if she was really frightful of the whole notion of technology “playing God”. I think she was also grappling with what the industrial revolution really could mean for future generations and humankind. I definitely think it was more of a social commentary of the time instead of a feminist perspective. She just happens to be a female and so the focus is firstly put on that.
- No one really knows who Frankenstein really is as a character. Most scholars (like me!) believe it is the scientist whereas the majority believe it is the monster. A few think that Frankenstein is the story itself – from a social commentary to an epic monster.
- Was Mary Shelley Frankenstein herself? Horrid times for women writers and they were treated badly. Women felt lonely, much like the loneliness felt by Frankenstein in the book. Were feminists considered monsters at the time? It was considered very “Romantic” to talk about individualism.