Frankenstein & Autism

I recently finished Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein. My perception of the novel was skewed by the movie clips I’ve seen, and I was pleasantly surprised by the novel’s depth. It certainly isn’t the graphic horror story I anticipated.

Learning of the creatures awakening to the world, I was struck by a few descriptions and I wonder if Shelley knew something of Autism.

A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw, felt, heard, and smelt at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses. (Chapter 11)

No distinct ideas occupied my mind; all was confused. I felt light and hunger, and thirst, and darkness; innumerable sounds rang in my ears, and on all sides various scents saluted me; the only object that I could distinguish was the bright moon, and I fixed my eyes on that with pleasure. (Chapter 11)

I don’t have Autism, but from what I’ve read, I think she beautifully and accurately describes the overwhelming, hyper-sensitivity to sensory stimulus that so many autistic people struggle with.

If you’re interested in writing and reading, I also posted this on my writing blog, Discovering Writing.

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About ryan85

A son, a brother, a husband, a father of eight, and a friend. A follower of Jesus Christ. A fan of the Seminoles and all teams Atlanta. I write, I read, and teach when I can. I prefer red pens. I'm easily distracted. I've lived in Augusta, GA, northern Minnesota, the beautiful western NC mountains, and Tallahassee, FL - Go 'Noles. I played football for FSU, was on the national championship team in 1999, and took a few snaps with the Pittsburgh Steelers. My favorite colors are fluorescent yellow, and Garnet & Gold. I drive a minivan and think it's cool.
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2 Responses to Frankenstein & Autism

  1. lisa says:

    I’ve read that this can describe synesthesia, when your senses are combined so you see a number and associate a colour with it.

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