Most classic monster stories focus on the point of view of the heroic monster slayer and the creature at the center of the tale is relegated to a secondary role. Mary Shelley broke with this pattern. Her extraordinary story reflects both the monster and his creator’s views.
Much of what movie fans know of the Frankenstein story is a Hollywood invention. But the monster’s failed attempts at participating in human society — his encounter with the old, blind man that is a feature in nearly every Frankenstein film — is a critical part of Mary’s Shelley’s original.
The monster did not wish to be created, but once he’s alive he wants to participate. He wants to be fully human. But his ugliness and his unnatural history set him apart. No one accepts him. He belongs nowhere and to no one. Eventually he asks his creator to make a bride. I won’t put a spoiler in here, but let’s just say it doesn’t work out the way the monster planned.
It’s a very sad story.
In the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, the Beast must first be loved in order to be lovable. What a catch-22! Of course, in most versions of the story, when Belle learns to see the man behind the monstrous image she falls in love with him and the spell that made him a monster is broken.
The takeaway for kids is the message that they should look beyond surface and see the beautiful soul beneath. But only the blind man enjoys the company of Frankenstein’s monster. His appearance was too frightening — too inhuman — for human friends. With that kind of feedback, no wonder the monster’s point-of-view is grim.