It is unfortunate what the films using the name Frankenstein have done to prejudice readers against this novel. Frankenstein is not about a big, dumb, insensitive, savage monster; instead it is a remarkable book for its insights into human nature and human needs, especially as they are felt and amplified in the form of a gigantic creature from outside humanity. The novel touches several powerful themes: love and hate, appearances vs. reality, innocence and guilt, whether real or imagined, compassion and hard-heartedness, nature vs. nurture. Romanticism, The Industrial Revolution, and science and technology, of the time period in which the novel was written, all intertwine to produce this mind-boggling classic novel.
Mary Shelley was born of a mother who was a strong supporter of the French Revolution. Though Mary's mother died soon after giving birth, the ideals from both her family and those resulting from the revolution were well passed on, even to the young Shelley. However, it was the French revolution which began the Romantic era and is one of the main factors of the bringing about of this novel; this is because without Romantic ideals the novel would have simply not worked. "Mary Shelly combined the ethical concerns of her parents with Romantic sensibilities of Percy Shelly's poetic inclinations. Her father's concern for the underprivileged influenced her description of the poverty-stricken De Lacey family. Her appeals to the imagination, isolation, and nature represented typical scenes and themes explored in some Percy Shelley's poetry (Telgen, pg191)." The Romantic Period was known for a change in the direction of the thinking process. Before this, the common outlook on subjects was outward, while the new found Romantics looked inwards. That is that they focused on the imagination and the heart, it is what is inside that matters. This is evident in Frankenstein in the touching and painfull scene, due to the realization of humanities flaw of "judging based on the cover", when a blind man finds Frankenstein a sincere man; but when the blind De Lacey's family learns of the monster they disown the creature, chasing him into the woods.