To what extent is Frankenstein (the novel) scary?
Mary Shelley states that she wants to "curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart." My question is whether or not she managed it.
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The novel Frankenstein is strange and rather uncanny, but it is not scary. Many young readers who encounter it today must find it a big disappointment because they have not only seen the movie version of the story starring Boris Karloff but have seen plenty of other really scary movies and read much scarier stories by writers like Stephen King. Young readers must be especially surprised to discover that the Monster, rather than expressing himself with sounds like "Ummm!" and "Aarrh!", speaks like an English gentleman and is able to describe his thoughts and feelings with a rich vocabulary. It is probably due to the fact that Mary Shelley made her monster so articulate that she did not succeed in curdling the blood and quickening the beatings of many hearts. Nevertheless, she had a wonderful idea for a novel. It is still interesting and thought-provoking after all these years, and it has inspired countless "mad scientist" imitations. It even makes better sense than the movie because we can understand how the Monster would feel and why he would turn against his creator as he does.
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