“It’s pronounced ‘Fronkensteen.’ ” — Dr. Frankenstein
Alright, so technically week 34 of the Geek-A-Long isn’t Dr. Frankenstein from Young Frankenstein, but how can you talk about Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein without mentioning Gene Wilder? You can’t.
I remember the first time I watched that movie. It was Halloween. I was twelve and “too cool” to go trick or treating anymore. I had dressed up like a vampire to pass out candy and some eleven-year-old boy in a pirate costume said I had “nice stems,” which was the first time a boy paid me a compliment. Anyway, my parents got into a small argument about whether or not I was mature enough to watch Young Frankenstein. I announced that I totally was, which was evident by me passing out candy and not acquiring it on the streets like some baby-child. So, I got to watch the movie and I fell asleep halfway through, because it was way past my bedtime.
Oh, the irony.
Unlike Young Frankenstein, which I was totally old enough to watch, I was too young for Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein when I read it at the tender age of eight. I didn’t understand the language, let alone the message of the book at the time, and I didn’t actually finish it until my third time reading it. By then, I was in high school.
We tend to imagine Dr. Frankenstein’s monster as this angry, unintelligent, violent psychopath, but I think it’s more relevant to compare him to a disenfranchised school-shooter than some sort of generic monster. Don’t get me wrong, nothing excuses the behavior. However, the monster experienced nothing but fear, loathing, and abuse from both his creator and society. When I finally read Frankenstein cover to cover my Freshman year of high school, two students at Columbine High School changed the way we view school violence and bullying forever. It was hard for me not to draw a parallel between the monster in the book and Eric and Dylan. And I realize this may been influenced (ok, heavily influenced) by teenage angst, but all the same, it was sad to realize that so little had changed between 1818 and 1999. I think that as a people we sort of collectively decided that actually portraying the monster as the dark, fiercely intelligent, and uncomfortably real character from the book would just hit a little to close to home. So we make him funny, or cartoonish, or some caricature of dumb-rage, because it’s easier than acknowledging what made the monster so hideous in the first place.
It’s strange how pop culture can shape images in your mind. To me Victor Frankenstein will always look like Gene Wilder (even though his character was actually a distant relative) and Frankenstein’s monster will always be Boris Karloff with the flattop head and bolts in his neck, even though I’ve never actually seen the 1931 film. Baring that in mind, it made it difficult for Megan-Anne and I to agree on what to put on the square. She was in favor of the iconic image of Boris Karloff, but I wanted there to be a distinction between the monster and the man since people tend to refer to the creature as Frankenstein. So, we went with lightning striking the castle and a mob out front. I don’t know why, but it makes me giggle every time I see it. I adore it.
Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Dr. Victor Frankenstein pattern here. Instructions for both knit and crochet are listed in the pattern. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to tweet or instagram your squares at me @jac_attacking or Megan-Anne @Doctor_Llama with the hashtag #geekalong!
If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and a tutorial on crochet here. Want to hang out with other people making the blanket? You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.
“Didn’t you use to have that on the other side?” — Dr. Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein, referring to Igor’s shifting hump
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