I want to give you such a hug. Most people don’t realize how much you need one. Most people don’t even know what your name is. They think it’s Frankenstein. Sometimes they know that Frankenstein was actually the name of the mad scientist, but even most people who know that think your name is Frankenstein’s Monster. I dunno which is worse, calling you by the name of that jerkface who made you and then abandoned you, or defining you solely as his monster. I suppose that isn’t too unexpected, though. You are only referred to as “Adam” in the book a couple of times and they could be interpreted as metaphors, but I still feel like it’s clear that you think of yourself as an Adam, so as far as I’m concerned, that’s your name.
But anyway I love you, and what I love most about you is how badly you wanted to be better. I read about how, after Frankenstein abandoned you, you made friends with an old blind man who taught you, not only how to speak, but reading, literature… basically you got the classical education. And most of it you got it by eavesdropping on him teaching other people. You learned by witnessing others get the nurturing, loving education that you were denied. Then you had a glimmer of a chance of a friendship with this old blind tutor, but when his sighted children saw you, and told him how you looked, you were cast out.
I wouldn’t have cast you out. I might have been a bit squicked out and awkward at first, I’m sure, but I would have tried to cover up and been polite. After time, I’m sure, I would grow used to how you look and not even be bothered by it. I would have happily talked literature with you all day.
Anyway, then you went to Frankenstein and figured that if you couldn’t be accepted by humans at least you could be accepted by your own kind. That’s why you gave yourself the name Adam, after all. You didn’t want to be seen as an outsider of humanity. You wanted to be seen as the first of your kind.
That didn’t work out so well. I can understand Frankenstein’s ethical qualms at creating another one of you, but I also think it was the least he could have done, if he wasn’t willing to love you himself. Why he couldn’t empathize with your need for love and acceptance, I don’t know.
Now, let’s be honest, Adam. Your reaction to all this awfulness is not okay. You flip out and after a while you start murdering people. That does make you kind of a monster; your form doesn’t, in my mind, but your actions do. Still, I understand that you are an unloved soul in a violent world. You learned your violence from the way others treated you, and at the end of the book even you see and regret this. So I believe you didn’t have to end up this way, and I still kind of love you.
I’m setting up a home of rehabilitation and community service for literary criminals, based on principles of restorative justice. There’s a dorm with your name on it; you’d be sharing a space with Heathcliff and The Phantom of the Opera. If you want to be a better person as much as I think you do, please turn yourself in. But before you show up, stop by my place first.
I’ve got a really, really big and overdue hug for you.
P.S. Oh, just show up either way. Because you’ve never been hugged and everybody, no matter how rotten they’ve been, deserves at least one hug in their lifetime.
So I’ve got a confession to make… I’m usually secretly rooting for the “literary criminal.” Thank you, Lane, for giving these much deserved and often misunderstood creatures a home.