These were some of the ideas that influenced Mary’s thinking:
- She’d read the Greek mythological story of Prometheus, who got in BAD trouble with the gods for stealing their powerful, amazing FIRE. In fact, Mary’s dreamy poet boyfriend, Percy Shelley, whom she’d marry later on, was writing about Prometheus. Their handsome poet-friend George Gordon, known as Lord Byron had been writing about him too. What if Mary wrote about a scientist who stole God’s power of making LIFE?
- People had been talking about this Italian scientist, Luigi Galvani, who’d been doing exciting experiments with electrical sparks: They made animals’ muscles move – even if they were dead!
- In her travels in Germany, Mary had seen the medieval Castle Frankenstein.
Hmmm…I’ll bet you can guess now what story Mary wrote! In it, her character, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, gathered parts of dead people’s bodies in his laboratory. His experiment? He’d make a perfect person then bring it to LIFE with the power of lightning – and it worked! But – oh no! Dr. Frankenstein accidentally created a MONSTER! And then a lot of horrible things happened!
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which was first published in 1818, never got very good reviews, but never mind. In the almost two centuries since she wrote it, Mary’s monster story has sparked the imaginations of playwrights, moviemakers, cartoonists, musicians, and Halloween costume-makers again and again and again.
It kind of makes you wonder about your own ideas and memories. What if you put them together in your imagination? You could spark a story into LIFE!
Cheryl Harness is not only a nonfiction author and an illustrator, but she has also written a novel called Just for You to Know. If you would like to read an excerpt from her book, click here.
Halloween is a fun-filled kid holiday, but it has a creepy side with its focus on death images. Penny Colman has dug up some great information on how this came about.