Frankenstein considered as a novel about climate catastrophe

Originally published at:


I still need to pick up the Frankenstein book illustrated by Bernie Wrightson (RIP). I do have a signed print of this page:


Everyone should read the book. No movie has really gotten it right. For one thing, it was the Baron’s occult studies that helped towards the secret of life and had nothing to do with electricity. Also, the Monster was highly articulate and well versed in the King’s English.


It’s got nothing to do with climate change. Nor is it really about the dangers of technology. It’s about psychological abuse and social degradation.
“All men hate the wretched”, the Creature tells the man who created him and then abandoned him to the world. And although the Creature is naturally good-hearted, because he is ugly he is feared, and because he is feared he is persecuted, and because he is persecuted he becomes vengeful and violent – but even then, only towards Victor Frankenstein (and his family).
I’ll tell you who should read it – somebody who despises the poor, wretched refuse of the world, and finds it more convenient to hate them rather than have to pay a nickel to help them. (But, then, he doesn’t really read, does he?)


A nice big eruption might be a serendipitous way to slow global warming.

Just sayin. . . .


The Author is dead so it’s not vitally important what Shelley meant to convey to readers. The meaning we find is what’s important. So before everybody gets into the tedious arguments about what Frankenstein officially means because we think we know what was in Shelley’s head*, just let that drop and reframe this with the idea that Frankenstein can be read as a metaphor for climate catastrophe.

*Too late.


I think Cory would agree that you don’t have to be thinking about something for it to affect your writing.

1 Like

On reading this headline, I was sure it was going to be an interpretation based on the role of the Arctic within the novel. I always wondered why Shelly has the Arctic play such a prominent role in Frankenstein. The ‘telling’ of the story is via “explorer Robert Walton looking for a new passage from Russia to the Pacific Ocean via the Arctic Ocean. After weeks as sea, the crew of Walton’s ship finds an emaciated man, Victor Frankenstein, floating on an ice flow near death.”

Arctic passage? Scientist on an ice flow? Sounds a like climate catastrophe prediction to me.

The Arctic plays a beguiling role in the work, not only as the scene of the telling of the story, but (SPOILER) also as the setting of the final face-off between the Doctor and the monster, and with Shelly’s final image of the monster floating away into the Arctic night on an ice berg: “… upon the ice-raft which lay close to the vessel. He was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness and distance.”

Come on all you English majors, there’s got to be good a ‘monster in the arctic’ climate catastrophe reading in that last sentence alone!


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.