The Daily Evergreen

Mint Lit Book suggestions: Monsters and their creators

Books that ponder who the real monsters are in this world

BRIANNI HENDERSON, Evergreen columnist

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Fear of the unknown often dominates our thinking. Whether it was the boogey man underneath your bed, or that person whom you think has been following you down the street but seems to disappear when you turn around, your fear overruns you and causes your adrenaline to go.

“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly

“Frankenstein” begins with Victor Frankenstein encountering a sailor with whom he recounts the story of his interest in creating life, leading to his creation of his monster. After creating his monster he realizes his mistake, and after various threats from the monster he goes through the process of trying to protect those that he loves and destroy the monster he created.

“I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson

This novel is focused on post-apocalyptic earth, where the death of the majority of the world’s population was caused by a pandemic that resembled vampirism. However, there was a small population of those effected by the pandemic that, instead of being killed, transformed into vampires that prey on and kill those who seemed to survive the pandemic, such as Robert Neville. As one of the only survivors, he uses his knowledge to survive and attempt to find a cure.

“The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson

The premise of this novel is centered on a lab experiment done by Dr. Henry Jekyll. Dr. Jekyll creates a man to go about performing his vices, to keep himself in check without getting into any institutional trouble. This lab experiment consisted of two elixirs: one that allowed Dr. Jekyll to transform into Mr. Hyde and the other that allowed Dr. Jekyll to control the amount of time that Mr. Hyde was able to come out and be a part of the real world.
A side effect of this elixir completely disfigured Dr. Jekyll so that he did not resemble his former self and this face was identified as being Mr. Hyde.

However, where the lab experiment goes wrong is when Dr. Jekyll has trouble controlling Mr. Hyde from coming out.

A novelists’ choice to create a piece of work centered on the creation of monsters may leave a person up at night. However, with all three novels, there is a sense that the monsters depicted were not the horrors you should fear; but instead, people who had created them were the true monsters of the stories. This question, on the humanity of the creators, will make a reader question their own decisions, because there is a ripple effect where our actions impact others, and their reactions will dictate the events of history.

Selections made by Brianni Henderson

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Mint Lit Book suggestions: Monsters and their creators