Wednesday, 9 December 2015

For Those Who have Read 'Frankenstein'



While writing this post, I share the premonition of the monster created by Frankenstein; I don't personally know anyone who has read this novel yet I am dying to discuss it with someone. My intuition dictates that I won't meet that someone for a very long time and even if I do, chances are that things might get lost in perceptions and vindications. Like meaning is lost in translation. I am not a good translator of what I want to convey in words that have voice. I may also share some part of the disposition of the Frankenstein's monster. So while I won't take revenge on my creator because A) I can't and B) I have partially been euthanized by placebos all my life, I would venture to write this post as honestly as I can. 

People who have a yearning for travelling hitherto unknown destinations often have an uncommonly strong desire for finding a friend as well. And that desire is highly selective when it seeks its material and spiritual manifestations. The travelers seek the distance traveled in the eyes of those whom they want to befriend and entrust. They search the marks of that journey in the withering of the face and hands in every face that they encounter. The search for that communion is unending, just like the quest to set foot on lands never visited before by a mortal soul. That was my perception of Captain Robert Walton. He never called his sister Margaret as his friend even though he conversed with her extensively. I guess he unconsciously knew that we can only be friends with individuals about whom we have this intuition that they can switch places with us, as a theory of sociology says. Unless the illusion of looking yourself in a mirror while conversing with another human being isn't there, the connection will almost always leave you unsatisfied. 
Unlike many of the travelers who are tried in the court of their travels, he finds that friend. And from the narration of that friend hence, starts the story that has so gripped my imagination.

I wonder how that monster must have felt when he opened his eyes and the first vision he ever saw was a spiteful creator and an empty apartment. They say that human babies die if they are not touched or stroked in the first five hours of their life outside the womb of the mother. He was not a human baby yet he was an alive extension of a human mind and thus he must have wanted that touch to assure him that the world he was summoned in to was not a terrible place. He was powerful yet there was no compassion to properly guide the exercise of that power. Throughout the novel, he laments this loss. How human that is, to lament the occurrence of loneliness in the early part of life. To lament waking up in dark rooms and then searching for the doors in the dark. To say farewell to those rooms, rejecting the dismal hope that somewhere in that darkness, someone from whom you instinctively expected kindness and compassion got lost.

How convenient was it for Frankenstein to label his creation a monster? This can be related with, for you often find this notion among those who create art in any medium, of detesting and abhorring their creation. But with what authority could he call him a demon? We are often reminded to not pass judgement on other people unless we have walked in their shoes. Did he even try doing that? Frankenstein’s early life was nothing but bliss. Benevolent and mature parents, a home in a valley, friends and siblings who adored him and a freedom to practice pretty much anything. Of course he would care about the lives of others throughout his life because others cared about him when he was young. That is how his filter about humans was furnished. In contrast, the first hand that the creature ever extends, after months of ardent preparation and selfless service, gets brutally rejected by virtue of the skin covering that hand. The first model relationship for him involves not compassionate words or kind embraces, but violence. This is his first perception of humans, of himself. That they reject and he is the one who’ll be rejected. That they hurt and he is the one to whom that hurt will find its way. That they judge without listening and the judgment will always find him guilty. That they are scared of the things that they have no control over.

What would he do in his further life with that first impression? What would you do with that kind of a back ground? There are only moments when Frankenstein considers this question. But they are not everlasting. Again and again, he tries to compare his creation with the notions of what a civilized being ought to have done. He equates the honesty of raw misery and pain in the discourse of his creation with eloquence that deceives. So when he laments of the loneliness deepened by the rejection of all mankind, Frankenstein rarely sees the humanness in that lament. For him, he is a demonic monster who’ll bring havoc upon the mankind. As Sirius Black wanted to commit the murder for which he was locked in Azkaban, this monster also then wanted to live up to the reputation bestowed upon him by his creator. And he did. Till the very end.

Does that mean that the killings that this monster carried out were justified? Even the monster didn’t believe that. He suffered in agony over the murders that he committed. The question then should be, who was responsible for the loss of innocent lives? Loneliness. Loneliness was responsible for extinguishing the flames of companionship. This I guess, is the nature of this Universe. That the components of this Universe, regardless of the good and evil in their nature, continue to expand, reaching out to the fire of the other opposite pole and to extinguish it. So if companionship will not reach out to extinguish loneliness, the later will find a way to destroy the former. In the world we live in, humans are the vessels of that extension and transfusion. Who became the vessel of the extension of loneliness and estrangement in this novel? Frankenstein. He first created loneliness and then refused to cater to that loneliness, always viewing it from an apathetic distance. That loneliness then, reached out to the bliss that he was fortunate enough to have, but was not generous enough to bestow where it was needed.