Oh Frankenstein's Monster, You Crazy Stalker

Quick reminder – I am back in school so columns will be catch as catch can. Last week for my literature class we read Dracula. I've read it several times in the past and didn't expect to gain anything new from it, but I was kind of mesmerized by how modern it is. Certainly there isn't any texting or mobile phones, but the characters are using technology like typewriters and gramophones that are quite new to them. And it was easy to imagine that I was reading the entries not in a regular diary but in a blog, or even better yet a Tumblr feed.

After Dracula we read Frankenstein, which is not one of my favorites. All that flowery language and bipolar descriptions of the ecstatic highs and despairing lows get tedious pretty quickly. I hadn't read it all the way through since I was thirteen or fourteen. At that time I was impressed that the unnamed monster speaks French, but this time around I was more impressed that he was verbal at all. Picking up a language on your own with an adult brain is not the easiest. It's possible that technically he has a baby brain, since he is only a year or so old when he learns to speak and read, but I'm assuming his brain is physically an adult's. Anyway, he's a super creeper, which I don't think I picked up on when I was a teen.

If you hate Twilight because you think Edward is a stalker you will loathe Frankenstein's monster. He wanders around all alone for an unspecified period of time before finding a hut, or a cottage, or a shanty, or whatever. Some sort of dwelling that is kind of bottom of the barrel. He takes shelter in the pig sty (!!) where he discovers a hole in the wall that allows him to spy on the exiled family that lives within. There is an elderly man and a young brother and sister and the monster spends like a year spying on them.

He watches them all day then spends the nights trying to do good deeds for them, such as gathering wood so that the brother can spend more time on tasks like gardening. He imagines that he is their angel, their secret, good helper and is completely heartbroken when they panic at the sight of him. Once they flee he loses it and burns the cottage to the ground.

I'm sure it's a shock to have people run away at the sight of you but burning down what is also your own residence is seriously problematic. Also if I found out someone was living in my home (or in a shelter attached to it) spying on me all the time I would have a major freak out. If the monster had really understand human nature he would have known that things would end badly and maybe that would have kept him murdering all of those people.

This upcoming week we'll be reading some stories and poems from Poe as well as some of Hawthorne's work. I'm not exactly exuberant about either of them. I've read Poe quite a bit, in fact I memorized the Raven in seventh grade, so once again I'm not sure if I will pick up anything new. I've never been a fan of Hawthorne. The one time I tried to read The House of the Seven Gables I didn't get through it. The Scarlet Letter is one of my least favorite books. Hopefully I'll manage to get through without dying of boredom.

Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat is a short story in twitter form by Jake Swearingen. It's called The #Mostdangerousgame and is a retelling of the famous story of the same name. It is fantastic. Funny enough that I read it three times and laughed every time. The hashtags are particularly brilliant. I think what makes it so good is how spot on the tweets are – they totally sound like something I would read in my twitter feed. http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/the-mostdangerousgame