Fear of Pregnancy in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

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Fear of Pregnancy in Frankenstein

Frankenstein can be read as a tale of what happens when a man tries to create a child without a woman. It can, however, also be read as an account of a woman's anxieties and insecurities about her own creative and reproductive capabilities. The story of Frankenstein is the first articulation of a woman's experience of pregnancy and related fears. Mary Shelley, in the development and education of the monster, discusses child development and education and how the nurturing of a loving parent is extremely important in the moral development of an individual. Thus, in Frankenstein, Mary Shelley examines her own fears and thoughts about pregnancy, childbirth, and child development.

Pregnancy and
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Percy actually didn't seem to care that the child was dead and even went out with Claire, leaving Mary alone with her grief. Mary's second child, William, was born January 24, 1816. (William died of malaria June 7,1819 .) Thus, at the time that Mary conceived of the story, her first child had died and her second was only 6 months old. There is no doubt that she expected to be pregnant again and about six months later she was. Pregnancy and child-rearing was at the forefront of Mary's mind at this point in her life.

Frankenstein is probably the first story in Western literature the expresses the anxieties of pregnancy. Obviously male writers avoided this topic and it was considered taboo and in poor taste for a woman to discuss it. Mary's focus on the birth process allowed men to understand female fears about pregnancy and reassured women that they were not alone with their anxieties. The story expresses Mary's deepest fears; What of my child is born deformed? Could I still love it or would I wish it were dead? What if I can't love my child? Am I capable of raising a healthy, normal child? Will my child die? Could I wish my own child to die? Will my child kill me in childbirth?
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