Frankenstein is a fictional story written by Mary Shelly. It was later adapted into a movie version, which was directed by James Whales. There are more differences than similarities between the book and the movie. This is because; the movie is mainly based on the 1920’s play, other than the original Mary Shelly’s book Frankenstein. A text has to be altered in one way or the other while making a movie due to a number of obvious factors. A lot of details from the book were missing in the movie, but the changes made by Whales were effective as they made the movie interesting, and successful. Both the movie and the book present a story of a monster created by Victor Frankenstein.
There are a number of differences between the book, and movie adaptation of Frankenstein. The first evident difference is, in the book, the creature learns to read and write on his own, from some books he read (Shelley 87). Comparably, in the movie adaptation, the monster learned from watching the De Lacy family, and how they communicated to each other. The book goes in detail to explain the monsters education, and how the books helped whereas, in the movie, little is shared of how fast the monster acquired education. The monster’s education is reflected best in the book, compared to the movie. In addition to this, the monster’s appearance is very different in the movie, compared to how he is described in the book. In the book, the creature taught himself how to read and write from the classic literature, whereas in the movie, it is unclear how he learnt how to speak.
Another difference between the movie and the book Frankenstein is that, in the novel, we are told that, Frankenstein created the being from scientific principles of building up human body parts. However, we are not told how he got the body parts. Comparably, in the movie, Victor is seen robbing graves of the dead in search of human parts to create his monster. Additionally, the creature demanded for a companion from victor, whereby Victor starts to create another monster, which he in turn destroys out of remorse (Shelley 102). Victor feared creating another creature that would cause more destruction and carnage, and that is why he destroyed it. In contrast to the movie, Victor creates the monster companion, who later on commits suicide. Another notable difference is the change of names. In the novel, Frankenstein is known as Victor, whereas in the movie, he is known as Henry, yet Henry was Victor’s best friend. In addition, Henry was a student and not a doctor as depicted in the movie.
There is another difference in the plot of the movie and the film. In the novel, the monster took revenge on the people for their rejection, because of his hideous appearance. He was trying to be friendly to them so as to relate to them, but they ran away from him, and even chased him away too. His main revenge was on the people for their rejection, then afterwards to his creator who abandoned him. Whilst in the film, the monster only took revenge on his creator Victor, and his family. The monster in the book tried to make friends with the people, only that they rejected him, while in the movie; he never made friends with anyone but was determined to destroy and hurt others as opposed to the book. Furthermore, the death of Frankenstein’s father is very different in the book and the novel. In the novel, he dies of heart attack after he finds the body of Elizabeth, after the monster killed her. Whereas in the film, Victor’s father is murdered by the monster himself.
One notable similarity between the book and the novel is that, a creature is created from human body parts. Victor was obsessed with his creation, and spent a significant time creating his monster in both the movie and the book. However, in the novel, he creates the monster through his won scientific studies and experiments. While in the movie, he creates the monster after examining a research from a dead professor’s research and this is quite contrasting. Another similarity in both the book and the movie is that Frankenstein is portrayed as the monster. Moreover, in the movie Frankenstein is seen harnessing power from the lightening to bring his creation to life (Frankenstein). His Hunchback assistant, his former professor, fiancée and a friend, accompanied him. In contrast, in the book, Frankenstein brought his creature to life on his own without anyone watching. He did it all alone without anyone’s help. The endings are very different. In the movie, the main characters do not die but in the book, they all die.
The creature grew more independent, educated and intelligent both in the movie and in the book. The creature knew that he was all alone because of his appearance that is different from humans (Baldick 123). He was a race of his own and needed a companion of his own race and appearance.
In conclusion, there are notable differences and similarities between the book, and movie Frankenstein. The differences start with the education of the monster, the plot, the ending of the story, and the characteristics of the monster. The similarities dealing with the creation of the monster, and the turning point of the story. The differences and similarities preserve the genre themes, and the main points in both the story and the movie. In essence, both the movie and the book presents a story of a monster created and caused carnage and havoc to humanity.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1994. Print.
Frankenstein. Dir. James Whales. Universal Pictures, 1931. Film.
Baldick, Chris. In Frankenstein's Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity, and Nineteenth-Century Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. Print.