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The Colonel Chronicle

The Colonel Chronicle

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Having Trouble With Work-Life Balance? Read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Having Trouble With Work-Life Balance? Read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Are you putting in more hours than what your contract obligates you to? Are you losing sleep because of homework assignments or lesson planning? Are you not enjoying life as a teenager because of school?

You might want to take advice from a murderous monster.

Just kidding! You’ll really want to take advice from a woman who died 200 years ago. Her name is Mary Shelley, and she is very admirable. She not only wrote the first science fiction novel but also was a pioneer for work-life balance, probably without even knowing it.

Let’s focus on the said novel: Frankenstein.

The novel begins with a sailor, Captain Robert Walton, who is obsessed with his expedition to the Arctic when he finds Dr. Frankenstein on the brink of death. Dr. Frankenstein sees that the sailor is also struggling with not doing overtime –  I mean that he is severely obsessed with his work (they didn’t have overtime back then; unions didn’t exist!). This compels Dr. Frankenstein to tell the story of his creation.

Dr. Frankenstein explains that he is a very ambitious student. He was a serious STEM advocate, and if he were real and lived today, he definitely would bash you for majoring in Creative Writing. He read science books by an author his father advised him not to read because the author was crazy. This author was so crazy that he wrote about creating life with science. Frankenstein would probably be a Biology major now that I’m thinking about it. Typical of someone who is an overachiever.

However, this scientist wasn’t as crazy as we thought, and Dr. Frankenstein was moving toward replicating the work found in the book. He wanted to make a “perfect human,” and sort of did. But his creation ended up being incredibly hideous and became the Monster that Frankenstein is famous for today. Along the way, Dr. Frankenstein sacrificed family time, recreation time, and probably sick days if he had a job. He dedicated all of his free time to his work! If only he lived in 2024.

Well, this Monster was seriously hideous, and Dr. Frankenstein immediately regretted what he did. Just like how a hard-working employee regrets all those overtime hours when they don’t get that promotion. The Monster is very offended and feels unloved… kind of like how your child might feel when you don’t come to their Little League baseball game because you got called in for work. Rightfully so, the Monster tries to find people that will show him affection.

As I mentioned, he is UGLY. No one takes him in. So he goes back to the source of his trauma, Dr. Frankenstein. The Monster confronts him and literally tells him his life story for 50 pages because he hasn’t lived that long. A family therapist might have been helpful because it did not go too well.

So that you can get the full extent of Mary Shelley’s advice, I won’t spill any more of the drama of this dysfunctional family. Basically, though, the Monster goes on a killing spree to get back at Dr. Frankenstein, and the Monster tells the captain at the beginning of the story to clock out because he is violating the tenants of work-life balance. It’s a very personal topic for him; he knows first hand.

Take the advice of the Monster: make sure you prioritize your mental and physical health over a job. Don’t do what Dr. Frankenstein did and spend all your energy on a 9-5 job, sacrificing personal and family time. Your future children may grow traumatized and kill everyone you know.

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About the Contributor
Jason Murillo, Editor-In-Chief
I am excited to be co-editor-in-chief of the newspaper as we launch our brand new website to our peers, our teachers, and those we know in the Worcester Community. I greatly enjoy writing as I see it as a great method of self-expression, and I particularly enjoy it in a journalistic setting. Outside of the newspaper, I am part of the Drama Club, A Capella, and Chorus. I have also published works in The Apricot Journal. Outside of South High, I am a student at The Hanover Theatre Conservatory and am part of their Youth Acting Company. Performance arts is a big interest for me for similar reasons as writing. Feel free to email me at [email protected].
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    Joseph Anthony GarciaMar 19, 2024 at 8:35 am

    Hi Jason:

    I enjoyed reading your humorous take on Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” which I first read when I was high school back in the 1980s; and I’ve been captivated by science fiction, fantasy, and the “Frankenstein” archetype ever since. I’ve also watched many “Frankenstein” movies going all the way back to the 1930s classics featuring Boris Karloff as the monster. It’s so great that you’ve devoted part of your “Apricot Journal” to promote reading. Apart from all you can learn from it, I love reading as a calming and quiet time away from all the pressures of life and especially the screen-time. Keep up the great work and excellent school spirit!

    Mr. Garcia
    Teacher of Social Studies and Chess

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