The monster wasn't pretty, but ...
About 1937 my father took me to the Avalon theater in South Central Los Angeles to see Frankenstein. I would have been seven years old. I had no idea what I was going to see. We didn’t have a car so we walked the mile or so to the theater. It was dark. I still recall two or three scenes, most clearly the one where Boris Karloff is raging among the flames on the roof or parapet of the place where he dies. I think a flaming beam falls on his neck.
I haven’t read Shelly’s book. I’m not going to read it now. But I was struck by the narration in the bio about how the “creature” behaved as badly as he did for lack of real human relationship, for lack of love. His desire was to enter into the world into which he was “born,” but he was too ugly. He thought so, and others thought so. He was a human being, but he was an ugly one. He longed for love, and he was hurt by the lack of it. That’s human. One thing led to another and it was over for him.
As I listened to the narration of the Mary Shelly bio, thought turned to the book I’m writing, Adolf Hitler and Me: Reading Mein Kampf > http://www.adolfhitlerandme.com/ <. Thought was reminded that there are no monsters in the real world. Some of us commit monstrous acts. The irony is that while some of us who commit monstrous acts are bad guys, others of us who commit monstrous acts are good guys. It’s as if the gods are playing with us.
Mary Shelly thought it monstrous for ordinary people to not see Frankenstein’s monster for the “person” he was. Not seeing Adolf Hitler for the “person” he was, but as a monster, has morally justified a long and bloody trail of monstrous acts. I’m not suggesting that Adolf was a nice guy, only that he was human—all too human perhaps.