Analysis Of Mary Shelley 's ' Frankenstein '

1563 Words Sep 18th, 2016 7 Pages
Every work is a product of its time. Indeed, we see that in Frankenstein, like in the world which produced its author, race, or the outward appearances on which that construct is based, determines much of the treatment received by those at all levels of its hierarchy. Within the work, Mary Shelley, its author, not only presents a racialized view of its characters, but further establishes and enforces the racial hierarchy present and known to her in her own world. For the few non-European characters, their appearance, and thus their standing in its related hierarchy, defines their entrances into the narrative. For the Creature, this occurs on the ices of the Artic, when, “atop a low carriage, fixed on a sledge and drawn by dogs, pass on towards the north, at the distance of half a mile;” Walton and his men perceived, “a being which had the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature.” (Shelley 13) Shelley clarifies, even this early in her novel, the race of its principal Other as soon after the intrepid adventurers rescue its namesake, Victor Frankenstein, who, Shelley clarifies, “was not, as the other traveller seemed to be, a savage inhabitant of some undiscovered island, but an European.” (Shelley 14) Later, closer examination of the Creature reveals a visage and figure of near unimaginable disfigurement, with a “shrivelled complexion,” and yellow skin which “scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath.” (Shelley 35) This could be contrasted directly…
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