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Embracing Science Fiction in School Curriculum

On a cold starry night in 1816, young Mary Shelley started a story that would change the world. In Frankenstein, Shelley told a tale that went beyond the modest task of a ghost story. In it, her hero Doctor Frankenstein created a living being from the dead flesh of corpses. Horrified by the monster, the doctor fled, abandoning his child and forsaking his creation. Meanwhile, the creature roamed the country, innocent in his origins, confused and bereft until he met a poor family. Staying hidden, he watched them until he learned their language and many of the characteristics that the poor family had. Touched by the love that they had for one another and aware of his own paternal rejection, he searched out his former father looking for some kind of connection. He found him, but the father spurned him once again, driving the monster to kill most of the young doctor's family. When the monster finally cornered Doctor Frankenstein, he asked for a mate, but the doctor refused and the two were driven to kill the other. In the end, Doctor Frankenstein dies but the monster finds no salvation in his death. Shelley's ghost story transcended the typical archetype, becoming one of the first science fiction stories. In her tale, the man became the monster and the monster was searching for his humanity in a world of darkness. These themes, while not new, helped define a new genre of fiction and open the doors for many to explore the greater themes of man while within a science fictional narrative.

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