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English Teachers’s Favorite Books: Ms. Northcutt

Nikki Northcutt

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Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

Ms. Northcutt holds her copy of Frankenstein. Photo by Madison Olsen.

Ms. Northcutt holds her copy of Frankenstein. Photo by Madison Olsen.

“To me, Frankenstein is about an obnoxious guy, who makes something, and is therefore its parent. Then, he abdicates all of his parental responsibilities. I think that still happens today, where we create things and then we abandon them, whether that means literal parenting, in science, in the environment, or in business.

The themes in Frankenstein are super relevant and important, like the theme of man or humankind’s foolish ambition and our dysfunctional relationship with nature and the issues of motherhood and fatherhood. I tend to be drawn to dark themes and stories because I find them interesting. I also love that Mary Shelley is a woman, and she’s writing about a man who tries to mimic the birth process and failing. I’m really drawn to the monster, and feel that he’s a really misunderstood character in popular culture and in literature. I’ve always been drawn to underdogs, and the monster is so vulnerable that I just want to protect him, and I think that’s why I love that story so much.

I love the language, which is what most kids hate about the book, but I love the ornate, Victorian way of writing of the time period. I first read it as a freshman in high school, but I didn’t appreciate it then. I’ve read it four times since then. Being a freshman, your brain isn’t fully developed, and you can’t absorb the enormity of those themes. The structure of [the book], like the fact that’s epistolary, is very confusing for students. I saw a freshman reading it during the STAAR exam, and they were making gun shooting motions against their temple because the were so miserable, and it made me so sad because it’s one of those things you need to reread to appreciate. Give it a second chance.”

Interview by Madison Olsen

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English Teachers’s Favorite Books: Ms. Northcutt