Sunday, October 17, 2010

books vs. film portrayals

Given that Halloween is fast approaching, it seemed only appropriate that I read something with a "monster" in it, and so I read Frankenstein. I've never read it, and to be honest, while I'm familiar with the great, green hulking monster of film adaptations, I've not yet seen an actual Frankenstein film from start to finish. The green, inarticulate monster kind of put me off sitting through 90+ minutes.

So it was interesting to read the book and come across this well-written passages of speech that came from the creation (because he's never actually named, and Frankenstein is the name of his creator). The monster had feelings, he felt lonely, he felt wonderment at the birds singing and at the warmth of fire, and he felt an attachment to a family he encountered and watched, and learned language from without their knowing of course. And he felt resentment at what he was, at being this lonely creature forced to live away from civilization because of what he was. There are elements in the creature which, to an extent, make him sympathetic.

And yes, even after tormenting Frankenstein, he claims to have felt some remorse at times. Granted, there is a different at feeling remorse and then going forward with a plan to destroy everything Frankenstein holds dear, but while he may have sallow skin, he's not the green, slow monster with screws in his neck. And I was reminded then too about The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

When Jekyll turns into Hyde, Hyde doesn't become this larger than life creation. He is Jekyll kind of shrinking into himself, he's smaller, thinner and I think physically appears craftier and meaner version of Jekyll. It was a surprise reading Jekyll and Hyde because of those expectations. I had to reread the first paragraph of the transformation just to be sure it was in fact the change into Hyde.

Just another reason the movie can't be substituted for the book I guess. 

No comments: