Why is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein one of the most interesting books you have ever read?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While not everyone will agree with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein being one of the most interesting books he or she has ever read, I adore the novel. For me, it remains one of my most favorite novels of all times because of the characters and Shelley's desire to frighten the reader.

In Shelley's 1831 Preface, she recalls how the "student of unhallowed arts" came to be. Frightened by the man and the phantom, Shelley stated the following: "O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!"

I adore Shelley's rich and challenging language, the ability to read the novel with multiple critical lenses (psychoanalytical, reader-response, feminist), and the sympathy/empathy she draws out in regards to the Creature.

The first time I read it, I was shocked at how the media had twisted the text. I was upset that the media had made Frankenstein was the creature and not the doctor. I was completely confused about Elizabeth and her roles (in the movies) as well. 

Reading the novel gave me a chance to see who all of the characters really were, not interpretations of how directors envisioned them. I could relate to the Creature because at times we are alone in life. I suppose another reason the novel remains one of the most interesting is associated with the effect it has on my students. They, even after much complaining, overwhelmingly love the novel. It contains characters they can picture and make decisions about. The novel offers them a chance to question life, death, and fault.

For me, the novel is amazing because Shelley succeeded at creating a creature which frightens me, and the creature frightens me because Shelley has allowed the limited description of the being to fuel my own imagination and fears.