Female Gothic The Monster's Mother Essay

1534 Words7 Pages
Female Gothic: The Monster’s Mother

In Ellen Moers’ critical essay Female Gothic: The Monster’s Mother (1974) on Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, she argues that Mary Shelley’s story is greatly influenced by her experience of motherhood. This essay uses the historical approach, biographical, and formalist approach at point. Moers references the cultural context of the novel, Mary Shelley’s experience as a woman and mother and how that influenced her writing, and focuses on the genre of the novel quite a bit. Although Moers’ essay is not entirely focused on the formalist approach, there is a good deal that holds the same values. Moers talks about Gothic fiction as a genre and how the time period influenced Mary Shelley’s alteration of
…show more content…
Shelley’s age saw the rise of Naturalism which normalized the discussion of sex and birth that had before been considered inappropriate. In Moers’ eyes, this is how Shelley was clever, talking about birth in an unnatural way. If so, the established status quo of the Naturalist movement had risen the bar and Mary Shelley could have possibly wanted to cause a comotion to get a new thought out there with the idea of the unnatural creation of life. In science, Sir Humphry Davy had released a book on biology that Shelley herself sought out to study, and studies concerning mesmerism, electricity, and galvanism were also beginning at this time. These all influenced Shelley as she designed the science of the creation of the Creature, to make it as scientifically correct if it was plausible as possible, relaying possible dangers of the current time. This essay uses the biographical approach quite heavily. Moers believed that Mary Shelley used her experience in motherhood to construct the birth of the monster. “Here, Mary Shelley’s book is the most interesting, the most interesting, the most powerful, and the most feminine: in the motif of the revulsion against newborn life, and the drama of guilt, dread, and flight surrounding birth and its consequences” (320). Childbirth was often glamorized by men who wrote about childbirth, having never gone through it. Shelley knew about the gritty details
Get Access