I wrote yesterday about my first impressions of The Maze Runner and the concept of hoity toity brainscapades came up.
In addition to being fun to say, such brainscapades are one of the cornerstones of great literature, and they can become tiresome.
Frankenstein is a great example. It’s an engaging, primal sort of story about creation, arrogance, ambition, cruelty, and f*ing things up.
Basic plot (and SPOILERS for those who worry about such thing) is that Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster out of spare parts. The monster (contrary to popular culture) is very intelligent, articulate and perfectly aware of his monstrousness, and begs the doctor for a companion so he can hide away from the world without loneliness. Only at this point does the doctor get cold feet and run away from what he has done. The monster follows him and, in revenge, destroys everything he holds dear.
Much of the beauty of Frankenstein comes from brainscapades. The doctor first has to justify what he wants to do, then what he has done, and finally NOT doing what the monster asks of him. He goes back and forth making up ever more complex justifications while the world falls apart around him and innocents suffer for his arrogance. The doctor is a highly intelligent man and None of his excuses are simple. Kudos to Mary Shelley for the beauty and complexity of his thoughts, as well as the underlying structure of the novel.
Yet when you strip the book of Frankenstein’s brainscapades, you are left with a violent and horrific story. Children are slaughtered. Innocents live in terror and then are killed through no fault of their own. And all this disaster comes from the arrogant choices of a blame-shifting jerk.
Hoity toity brainscapades mean that you never stare the horror full in the face but only catch it in fits and starts.
Awesome storytelling, no doubt, but not exactly straightforward.