Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the 18th Century. As there was no cinema or television available books were a widely accessible form of entertainment. Particularly fantastical texts like Dracula and Vathek were popular, books like these were not meant to be thought of as a portrayal of realism, this is why Frankenstein is very unbelievable. Frankenstein is set in a time when new science posed a threat to Christian beliefs, as society started to believe that man could be created. This all seemed very possible in the early 18th Century because Benjamin Franklin had previously invented a lightning conductor and in 1802 Galvani ran a current through a frogs legs and it produced a twitch. The thought of starting life with lightning terrified people because of the dangers it appeared to pose to endanger human life.
William Golding published Lord of the Flies in 1954, nine years after the end of the Second World War. So there were still conflicts going on between Russia and America, Golding used the idea of continuous war and portrayed it onto the island. The text concerns a group of public school boys getting trapped on an island after their plane crashes; they all have traditional upbringings and attitudes.
Other books, which had previously been written such as Swiss Family Robinson and Coral Island, featured a similar situation but with a happier ending, these types of books were all very unrealistic and fairytale like. William Golding wrote what he thought would really happen if anyone ever faced this situation. The two tribes that develop in Lord of the Flies (Jacks and Ralphs) represent Hitler and the Nazis against the allies (America, Great Britain etc). The Italians swapped sides during the war as the Nazis became weaker; Sam and Eric reflect this as they join Jacks tribe because Ralphs is less popular.
Both books have many similarities and differences between them. The main similarity is that both books are about lines of civilisation being broken revealing the darker sides of peoples characters. The boys in Lord of the Flies are immediately, physically desolate after their plane crashes. Nobody knows where they are and there are no adults. In Shelleys book, the character Frankenstein chooses to be isolated as his work is more important to him than anything around him.
One similarity between the two books are the characters Piggy and the creature. These two characters are both judged by their appearance. Piggy is ¦shorter than the fair boy and very fat. He has ¦asthma and ¦thick spectacles. The creature has yellow skin and ¦straight black lips, in both cases we can immediately tell that they are physically different. Even Frankenstein, the creatures creator ¦dreaded to behold him. They both become isolated and victimised because other people see them as being different; this creates a feeling of sympathy towards both characters throughout the books. They also both have no parents as Piggys ¦dads dead, and [his] mum, and the creature said:
No father has watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me
with smiles and caresses.
The creature feels sadness and rejection and believes that having parents is important, this is also implicit in the case of Piggy, but the creature has never been loved by anyone so the feeling of depression is greater. It can be argued however that, in a way the creature has been loved as Frankenstein loved him while he was creating him. When he is brought to life the love he had previously received from Frankenstein ends.
The difference between these two characters is that Piggys intelligence is threatening to the other boys as he has some sensible ideas that the boys do not wish to carry out. He says:
Which is better- to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?
The boys ignore him as they have already descended into tribalism at this point. Piggys intelligence is threatening because he has a very defined idea of what is right and wrong and he is a very moral person. The creatures intelligence is harmless as he only wishes to fit in. However, as the creature becomes more knowledgeable he ¦discovered what a wretched outcast he was. He has no idea of what is right and wrong and only wants to fit in. The level of intelligence an individual has, whether it is a lot or a little can still make them isolated from others. From the start of Lord of the Flies we can tell that Piggy wants to fit in by the way he follows Ralph.
Ralph disentangled himself cautiously and stole away through the
branches. In a few seconds the fat boys grunts were behind him.
He is last to put his hand up to vote for Ralph:
Every hand outside the choir except Piggys was raised immediately.
He hesitates because although he wants to vote for Ralph he does not want to be the only one who votes for him. He wants to fit in and not be the odd one out.
It is implicit that Piggy was not very popular at school as They used to call [him] Piggy. This is why he follows Ralph in the way he does; he desperately tries to try and make friends as he feels depressed and sad about his previous school life. He is not very attractive; this is a reflection of how people perceive him.
There are not just similarities between Piggy and the creature. Frankenstein and Ralph are also similar because although they are in different situations, they both have something they want to achieve. Ralph desperately wants to be rescued from the island. He constantly tries to keep the fire going as ¦The fire is the main thing, because it is a signal to people to show that they are stranded. Frankensteins aim is to take science a step further by creating new life without using nature. They are both headstrong and both have will power to achieve what they want to.
Unlike Frankenstein, Ralph sees reality as he acknowledges that if they do not try to get rescued they will die on the island.
¦without the smoke signal well die here!
Ralph is far more considerate than Frankenstein. Frankenstein does not consider the consequences of his actions and as a result of this he creates a disaster. He does not see reality as he becomes so determined to be the first person to create life. While Frankenstein is preoccupied with creating life, Ralph believes that preserving life is more important.
Frankenstein can also be compared to Simon from Lord of the Flies. They are both symbolic of Christ. Simon passed ¦food down to outstretched hands and Frankenstein stated that;
¦food that I had killed, which after taking a small part, I always
presented to those who had provided me.
They are both kind and considerate and the way they give to others is much like the same way that Jesus did. Although Frankenstein has been isolated and anti social for a few years he is still amiable. Simon is surrounded by a lot of biblical images all through the book.
The way that Simon appreciates the island and nature seems quite strange to the other boys. He is described as ¦cracked and ¦batty. In the same way Frankenstein gets remarks because he enjoys ¦the structure of the human frame. and philosophy. Both Simon and Frankenstein are intransigent as they ignore any comments tackling their views. Frankenstein believes that:
A new species would bless me as its creator¦ would owe their
being to me.
He wants to be worshipped and idolised for creating life like God. Simon wants to appreciate his surroundings, which God as created. Frankenstein states that;
No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely
as I should deserve theirs.
He becomes arrogant and his ego begins to swell. He wants to totally change the way in which humans are brought to life and he becomes insatiably infatuated with this. Simon willingly accepts the beauty of nature and he sees things differently to other people, like the beast only being a fallen pilot (this shows more clarity of thought than the other boys).
Unlike Frankenstein, Simons character is very vague, he is simply known as ¦the boy who fainted towards the beginning of the book. He is also described as a ¦vivid little boy. No one really understands him as he has more maturity to understand things than the other boys, but he does not have the vocabulary to express his views and feelings. Frankensteins character is not constant through the book. At first he is very unorthodox, as he does not consider the views or beliefs of anyone around him. Towards the end of the book he becomes remorseful as he realises that he has created a ¦demoniacal corpse.
When Simon died the ¦clouds opened and let down the rain like a waterfall. This is pathetic fallacy as it reflects what is happening in the story. Simon is seen as God- like, and the storm and heavy rain is like Gods anger against the savage boys sin. It is as if they killed the good on the island and it cannot be justified or tolerated. After he is killed the language used is very calming; there was a ¦trickle of water and ¦no noise. This is ethereal, as if Simons body is being taken by angels up to heaven. The way Simons dead body ¦moved out towards the open sea is very heavenly. When Simon sees the Lord of the Flies for the first time, Golding says:
Even if he shut his eyes, the sows head still remained like an after-
image¦They assured Simon that everything was a bad business.
It is as if Simon is getting a vision from God; the sows head demonstrated how the hunting has got out of control. God is warning him that what is happening on the island cannot be accepted. After this has happened it is ironic that Simon is killed for being mistaken for the beast. The message given to him was right; the hunting on the island had become a ¦bad business. The difference between the two books is that Frankenstein is a man of science and Simon is a man of spirit. In Frankenstein it is science against religion, where as in Lord of the Flies the human need to survive is put against society.
Another character from Lord of the Flies who can be compared to Frankenstein is Jack. It is clear from the start that Jack will potentially be a threat from his appearance. He has ¦red hair which signifies a fiery temper, and red is also used for warning signs, which indicate danger. Both Jack and Frankenstein become obsessive about certain things. Frankenstein becomes obsessed with creating the creature and Jack lets hunting become his obsession. Jack begins to bring up hunting in most conversations, he said:
All the same- in the forest. I mean when youre hunting.
He is the first to suggest that the choir form a group called the hunters and he is always the first to lead them out into the forest to go on a hunt he insists to the other boys that meat is important. Jack becomes excited by ¦droppings that steamed he bends ¦down to them as though he loved them. This is clearly not natural behaviour and these are definite signs that his obsession with hunting has gone too far.
Frankenstein gets so engrossed with his work that he forgets about his family. He, like Jack, becomes disturbingly infatuated with his project as he does many inhumane things:
[He]¦collected bones from charnel- houses and disturbed, with
profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame.
The word profane is important because it illustrates the way he shows disrespect for religion. In Lord of the Flies the other religion could be classed as Ralphs tribe. Jack does not consider the welfare of these boys and he becomes so obsessed with hunting that he forgets both his morals and the fact that the boys need to be rescued. While Jack is hunting The madness came into his eyes again. He has the urge to kill and his obsession has got so far out of control he is losing his sanity.
However, these two characters are also very different because Jack has a cruel personality; he picks on the weaker boys. Piggy is usually his victim; he singles him out for the way he looks, he says, ¦shut up fatty and ¦you fat slug. He ¦smacked Piggys head and he is also very sarcastic towards him:
We mustnt let anything happen to Piggy, must we?
His character is also very fierce; this becomes apparent from the language used. The way he ¦slashed, ¦slammed and ¦snatched shows he is destructive. He acts like this so that the other boys become afraid of him and do not challenge his views; he feels powerful and dominant. He gains respect from the other boys by behaving like this:
Jack looked round for understanding and found only respect.
He regains the power which he lost from not being voted chief by behaving in this way, and he also feels he has control over the other boys. The boys do not always agree with him, they just ¦followed him obediently because they are afraid of him.
Jack is also like the creature because they both show their darker sides after being isolated. Jack believes he has the qualities to be leader because he can ¦sing C sharp. When Ralph is voted leader, Jack immediately becomes isolated, and tension occurs between them as he constantly challenges Ralph to be leader.
The creature becomes isolated because he is not socially accepted, as he looks different. His treacherous side shows as his level of intelligence increases. He begins to feel ¦rage and revenge towards Frankenstein, in the same way Jack feels for Ralph. The creature says that:
I declared ever-lasting war against the species, and more than all,
against him who had formed me.
The language used here is very strong; he shows feelings of hate towards Frankenstein because he enrolled him into a world of misery. Jack and the creature both develop feelings of hatred towards the ones who have ostracised them.
Some of the words used to describe Jack and Frankenstein are animalistic. When Jack is hunting it is like he almost becomes an animal, he ¦sniffs the air and comes ¦trotting back. When Frankenstein gets angry he ¦gnashed [his] teeth and ground them together. They do mot appear human as they are stripped of human characteristics such as conscience and morality. This suggests that they have evil natures.
These evil natures can also be shown by the inhumane killings that occur in both books. Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein both feature violence, death and murder. In Frankenstein the creature becomes completely demoralized like Jack and Roger, the murders they commit are brutal, but the reader is more sympathetic for the creature because he has never been loved and however desperately he tried to find a friend he was always rejected. The boys in Lord of the Flies have been loved and brought up in a religious manner, so they have no excuse to kill.
The boys deconstruction of their reality mirrors the creatures construction of reality. This can be shown when Simon is brutally torn apart, where as the monster is pieced together. Simon can also be related to the creature because he has a problem, which he cannot do anything about. Simon is epileptic and the creature is ugly and ¦8 foot tall. These are problems, which can stop them from being like other people.
In Frankenstein the style in which the book is written is totally different than that of Lord of the Flies. There are three concentric layers, one within the other. The outer layer, which is the shortest, is Robert Waltons letters to his sister describing his voyage to the North Pole. In the next layer Frankenstein tells the story of how he created the monster and how he abandoned it in disgust. In the third layer the creature describes the struggle he has trying to fit in. There are also multiple storytellers in Frankenstein. In Lord of the Flies the book has a linear narrative as it reads from beginning to end, it is narrated entirely by the author.
As Frankenstein is a gothic horror book, the murders do not come as much of a surprise to the reader, where as Lord of the Flies features innocent, young school boys committing brutal murders. So the shock value in Lord of the Flies is greater and indeed more horrific than that in Frankenstein. The books are also both written in a way so that the reader looses track of time. Many phrases are used in the text to imply that a lot of time has passed, like Two years had now nearly elapsed and Six years had elapsed. This reflects the insanity that develops in the characters.
In Lord of the Flies there is a system of hierarchy, as there is only one place at the top Jack and Ralph constantly fight to be the highest so that they have power over the other boys. These boys are underneath Jack and Ralph in the hierarchy so they are not as powerful they are, this is why they follow one of them. Piggy is one of the weaker boys at the bottom; this is why he is victimised. In Frankenstein there is no system of hierarchy, everyone in the text is considered as equal.
In both books there is a role reversal. In Lord of the Flies Ralph goes from being leader to an outcast who is left to survive on his own. Jacks hunting tribe eventually over powers Ralphs tribe who want to be rescued. This shows the immaturity of the boys as they forget their priorities. The role reversal in Frankenstein occurs between Frankenstein and the creature. Frankenstein has power over the creature while he is creating him, but when he disowns him; he is left to do what he likes. He becomes more powerful than Frankenstein (and indeed any human being) because of his sheer stature and his increased level of intelligence. Frankenstein is aware of the fact that he does not have any morals as he killed innocent children. The creature realises this:
You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!
Role reversals are used in the text to show that the goodness in a person does not always win.
I have already discussed thematic issues within characterisation, but the main theme in both books is about the darkness of Mans soul. The evil side of man, which is inherent in everybody, can be brought out in different situations. The two books show this in different ways. Frankenstein involves an adult world confronted with many scientific changes. Lord of the Flies shows a world entirely populated by children who struggle to survive. However, in both books the same message is delivered; the notion of society breaks down when there is nothing to uphold it. This is explored through the themes of isolation, difference, anger, ambition and obsession.
While the boys on the island are unwillingly taken out of society structure and the creature is forcefully thrust into it, the result is the same- the hidden darkness of mans soul is revealed.