Sorry I haven’t been posting much recently. Got sold to a new master out in DC and I’ve been learning the ropes. This place alone has inspired many posts in my head so stay tuned. Now on to the story.
So Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus” is one of my favorite books. Who doesn’t love the classic movie monster made from parts of dead folks? Who wasn’t afraid of this reanimated giant? Frankenstein’s monster is a part of American culture, but it turns out the book where it was created is a much deeper philosophical exploration of the nature of existence and identity. And while I was reading it for the billionth time this one thought struck me. Frankenstein’s monster was a nigga.
Or rather, Frankenstein’s monster was a nigger. The parallel is so striking that I’m almost certain Mary Shelley used the plight of the Negro consciously or subconsciously as an influence when writing this in 1818. Given the intense global debates about slavery and her place amongst liberal/Romantic British literati, this may not be too far-fetched. Let me break down the story quickly for those of you who haven’t read it or need refreshing:
So how does this resemble black folks? A race “created” as an amalgam of different cultures and peoples through slavery. A race of people who can never truly be sure of their real ancestry and history who generally assume a view of their history as one of a pastiche of different stereotypes (of Africans). A group of people who mostly still assume the names of the master (as Frankenstein’s monster is commonly identified simply AS Frankenstein). A race that is defined by confusion and attempts to define itself by mimicking the race which oppressed it. A people that is deeply angered by the circumstances of its inception and incensed at the fear and loathing that the creator’s race feels toward it. A cycle of violence and misunderstanding that threatens the institution of both races. This is DEFINITELY an able metaphor of the plight of black folks in this country, whether it was done on purpose or not. And just individually, the monster’s life just sounds like that of a Nigger. He travels the world and everyone hates him because of how he looks. Everywhere. We can definitely empathize with this guy. Frankenstein’s monster was a nigga.