I am new in this school.
And . . .
You will wonder about my name. It sounds a little like Mary Godwin who became Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein.
I’ll tell you about it in a minute. But first …
Many people think Frankenstein was the creature. They are wrong. Frankenstein was the monster.
Do you understand what I mean by that? Have you read Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein? Did you know that it has a second title? A Modern Prometheus. Do you know who Prometheus was?
Most people who remember him know him as the Greek god who gave fire to human beings—and because of it got into a lot of trouble with Zeus.
But there’s another Prometheus story, the one Mary Shelley was thinking of when she mentioned him in the title of her book. Using clay, Prometheus created the first men. The goddess Athena then breathed life into them. In Greek the word prometheus means forethought, thinking ahead. That’s an ironic name, isn’t it? Did Prometheus really think ahead when he disobeyed Zeus, the king of the gods, and created men?
Here’s what happened next: Zeus was so angry at Prometheus that he asked Hephaestus, the fire god, to make another clay creature—a woman. Her name was Pandora. Have you heard of Pandora? Who later opened a jar (not a box) she was told never to open? And out of that jar flew all the evils and diseases we now have in the world? Zeus punished Prometheus by making the rest of us miserable.
But not totally miserable.
Because do you know what remained behind in Pandora’s jar?
Hope. Hope remained in that jar. And where would we be without hope?
And now I’m back to what I said before: Frankenstein was not the creature; he was the monster.
Victor Frankenstein was a chemistry student, a gifted one. But he was not a doctor. Never was. He was fascinated with life and wanted to create it. And so he did. From the parts of dead people he put together a creature that was eight feet tall. This was bad. Do you know what was worse? He never gave the creature a name. Can you imagine being alive and not having a name?
Victor Frankenstein was horrified by his creature. It was ugly. Fearsome. And so he did something even worse than failing to name his . . . well, his son. He ran away and abandoned him. He abandoned his own child.
So that’s what I mean. Victor Frankenstein was a monster. He created a living thing. He never gave it a name. He ran away from it. Can you understand, then, what happened next? The suffering? The anger? The revenge? Even the killing?
So how do I know so much about Greek myths? And about Frankenstein?
Oh, there is so much I know, so very much I know.
But I cannot answer your questions. Not yet. No, not yet.
Because, you see, I don’t quite trust you. Not yet. No, not yet.