Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

October 27, 2013

10/27/2013 — Lee Ward: When you think of Frankenstein, give Mary Shelley her due

ASHLAND — The idea of Frankenstein’s monster was so frightening to me when I was a child that I couldn’t eat Frankenberry cereal. Not a huge deal, because who wouldn’t prefer the rich deliciousness of Count Chocula?

When I got older and understood the monster represented the evil created by man and the misgivings  of man toward God and all kinds of other literary delights, I was in awe of author Mary W. Shelley’s work and every derivative movie that arose from it. My favorite is “Young Frankenstein.”

I’m not the only one with great admiration for Shelley’s work. The website HolidayInsights.com, which lists every known holiday for every day of the year, cites three days in October to celebrate Frankenstein. The site says:

‰Frankenstein Day is on Aug. 30. This day is in honor of author Shelley, who was born that day in 1797.

‰Frankenstein Friday is the last Friday in October. Originally, the website states, there was thought to be a connection to Frankenberry and researchers thought the day was created to promote the cereal. Later, Ron MacCloskey, the creator of Frankenstein Friday, admitted his part in starting the day, never clarify whether Frankenberry had anything to do with it. He did begin awarding “The Franky” to someone who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of Frankenstein.

‰National Frankenstein Day is Oct. 29, according to Google, the website says, but hasn’t verified it as a holiday.

For a writer, this throws a new light on what a feat it was to write “Frankenstein.” Few authors have created a character with as much power symbolically as the monster. Fewer have created a character that would have so many incarnations. Only Shelley created one that can claim both, plus have three days and a cereal named after it.

It’s a good time of year to think about “Frankenstein,” but don’t forget to think about the genius who gave birth to it.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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