Sia’s “Alive” could easily be heard as a retelling of the monster’s life in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The similarities are actually kind of crazy:
“I was born in a thunderstorm
I grew up overnight
I played alone
I played on my own
I survived” –Sia
“The rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open.” —Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The very first lines of the song strike a chord with the novel. (Ha! No pun intended.) Both the monster and the “I” of the song were born in the rain. The monster could also be said to have grown up “overnight” since he came to life as a fully-grown man.
“I wanted everything I never had
Like the love that comes with light
I wore envy and I hated that
But I survived” –Sia
“‘Night quickly shut in; but, to my extreme wonder, I found that the cottagers had a means of prolonging light…I longed to join them, but dared not. I remembered too well the treatment I had suffered the night before from the barbarous villagers.'” –The monster in Frankenstein
The monster desperately craves the human affection he sees between Safie and the other cottagers. But because of his hideous appearance, he never even has a chance at that kind of life.
“I took and I took and I took what you gave
But you never noticed that I was in pain” –Sia
“My daily vows rose for revenge–a deep and deadly revenge, such as would alone compensate for the outrages and anguish I had endured.” –The monster in Frankenstein
As he watches the cottagers, the monster struggles more and more with the fact of his creator’s abandonment, which leads to his revenge.
And finally, a summary of the monster’s life in relation to his creator:
“You took it all, but I’m still breathing” –Sia
I seriously have to wonder if the songwriter based the lyrics on Shelley’s novel. And if not, maybe this says something about how certain struggles and concepts are always relevant to our lives no matter what period of history we live in.
There’s also the fact that I only made the connection between “Alive” and Frankenstein after Googling the song’s lyrics. Just by listening to it I didn’t pick up on the similarities because Sia made it her own. It would seem, then, that point-of-view/voice affects the story itself–would you agree?
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Classical Music Stories: Frankenstein.
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