Personal Post: He Doesn’t Have a Criminal Mind

For about the 5th time in my life, I have read Frankenstein. It is an awesome book, evoking travel imagery as well as lots of emotion as Victor struggles with being God and his Creature struggles with being a creation abandoned by his creator. There’s a lot of interesting ideas in the book, and I could discuss any of them in depth, but I’m going to explore the book’s cover instead.


I purchased this book long, long ago and have often been embarassed by the cover; Frankenstein’s Creature looks like he is… well…  slow. I asked other people to verify my suspicions, and many a person agreed that the creature looks like he suffers from a mental disability.

The Creature is an intellectual being born (seemingly) without (according to some philosophers) man’s innate desire to destroy. It is when he is subjected to humankind’s hard heart that he becomes a destructive force akin to a 7 foot tall Godzilla that strangles his victims instead of blowing their heads off with atomic breath. In a way, Frankenstein’s creature and Godzilla are two sides of the same coin. But I digress; I’m getting away from the cover discussion.

That said, what does this cover suggest? Aside from reflecting a scene that is a composite of the story’s events (as opposed to being a specific scene), it also seems to suggest that the Creature is not only ugly, but also not terribly bright. Does he seem like the type of guy that would say a word like “opprobrium”?

While as ugly as a ten-year old sack of mushrooms, the one thing the Creature is not is mentally insufficient. He might not be the craftiest of beasts, but he certainly isn’t lacking wits. Then, why is it that the Creature is so often portrayed as mentally inferior to the average man?

What do you think?



About harrylthompsonjr

I'm a writer, a photographer, and a lover of role playing games. I've moved my blog to wordpress in hopes of actually getting some feedback. We'll see :)
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9 Responses to Personal Post: He Doesn’t Have a Criminal Mind

  1. Robyn says:

    *cracking up* The options for your poll have me laughing so hard I am crying…

  2. ~m says:

    You know, since you showed it to me the other day, I’ve been thinking about it….
    and I think part of it has to be the skin colour!

    I mean, if he were the classic green, or even zombie grey, or some other monstrous colour,
    he’d still have that awful, aaawful expression on his face, but it would still be at least slightly more removed from humanity. Does that make any sense?
    I think he’d look a *little* more like an unusually stupid, vacuous Frankenstein,
    and less like a man with severe developmental delay.

    if he were wearing something other than a button-down shirt! That might help, too.
    Because, seriously,
    What. is. that.
    It’s almost like the guy this company paid 50 bucks to pump out some non-trademark-infringing cover art
    played a practical joke on a friend by using an unflattering candid shot as the basis for the whole thing…

    “Hey, Bob, remember that awful photo of you carrying in Helen’s birthday cake two years ago?
    Well, gueeees whaaaat…”

    • Robyn says:

      Wowzers! you are so right!

    • Sarah says:

      Since I read your comment it’s gotten me thinking about the skin colour. You are right. It’s disturbing to see it as “real skin colour” and not green, grey or such.

  3. ~m says:

    Matt read this tonight, and added something I hadn’t thought of –his opinion is that it was influenced by the Lon Chaney jr. Frankenstein,
    which is, basically,
    malicious, lumpy, dumb and vague.

    Or, as Matt always prefers to call him
    “the mr. potato head Frankenstein”

    And look, on the Universal VHS release covers, he was colorized as live caucasian!

    Lon was a wonderful wolfman, but he was a pretty bad Frankie.

    • ~m says:

      ….looks like he’s just discovered the pudding went bad, no?

      • harrylthompsonjr says:

        Few people know that the creature’s turn to evil was caused, not by the inequities of humankind and the neglect of his creator, but because of spoiled pudding.

    • harrylthompsonjr says:

      Mr. Potatohead Frankenstein makes me laugh, particularly since I almost immediately shortened it to P.Frank; a sudden image sprang into my mind: George Clinton as a Frankenstein monster.

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