DISCUSS THE WAYS IN WHICH FRANKENSTEIN USES IDEAS OF MONSTROUS OTHERNESS TO EXPLORE AND NEGOTIATE ISSUES SURROUNDING HUMAN IDENTITY.
Throughout one of her better renowned works, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft wishes “to persuade women to endeavor to acquire strength, both of mind and body.” Approximately three decades later, her daughter, Mary Shelly, writes such a horrific, gothic novel that is ironically devoid of any strong female leads – Frankenstein. Though filled with feeble female characters which highlights the brusque treatment of women within a patriarchal society, Frankenstein has a more enthralling philosophy to voice. The theme of Frankenstein essentially derives from the fact that though men retain the leading roles throughout the entire novel, it is full of mistakes they make; therefore, Mary Shelley is making a truly feminist point by stating that women are the primary gender who source livelihood within society.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a horrific novel that avoids strong and independent female leads. It is hard to believe the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, an important feminist, could write such a thing. Within Frankenstein, it seems as if Mary Shelley is demoralizing women by keeping them fairly absent and focusing upon men in the novel (Behrendt 1). Shelley acts against women by making the three main narrators of Frankenstein men. Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the monster all narrate this haunting tale. However, these central characterized men make plentiful mistakes throughout society. One may think, therefore, that Shelley’s treatment of Dr. Frankenstein and Walton actually acts as a female critique of male ambition since the characters both possess an insensitivity that leads to their downfall (Aldrich and Isomaki 3). Perhaps, in her novel, Shelley is actually showing how women are instead a backbone to society. Mary Shelley makes a truly feminist point within her well-known literary classic, Frankenstein.
Mary Shelley brings attention to feminist issues simply by exposing the speaking limitations, the level of control men have, and suppressed decision making.
Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein seems to focus on the characterization of men yet what is ironic is the fact that she is a woman. After the birth of Shelley, her mother Mary Wollstonecraft who was one of the first and most important feminist advocates had died, leaving Shelley to continue in her footsteps (“Feminism & Women in Frankenstein”). Growing up, she was exposed to the work done by her mother and this led her to become exposed to feminist ideals at a very early age (“Feminism & Women in Frankenstein”). In Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, it is controversial of why she chose to characterize both sexes in the way she did and this controversy on women’s roles held of one the central themes in the text. Some critics argue that
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a gothic novel that was wrote during the 1800s, or other known as the enlightenment era. During this era, the ideas of discovering the natural law of the universe and the thirst for scientific knowledge were being spread all across Europe. Mary Shelley incorporates these ideas with Victor Frankenstein's thirst for dangerous knowledge, and through allusions of Prometheus and the Genesis story. Shelley not only incorporates other supplementary readings into Frankenstein, but uses feminist literary theory as a way to put to life the idea of women’s inferiority to men.
Writing a paper on the topic of Frankenstein days before Halloween might give you the wrong idea- lets clear something up straight away Frankenstein is the doctor not the monster and the monster doesn’t have a name (which we later learn is mildly important to the story). You see, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is arguably a story of creation, murder, love, and learning amongst many other sad and depressing themes that perhaps root from Mary Shelley’s life. Mary Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft was a well-known feminist author, that may have influenced her daughter’s work despite passing away a mere eleven days after
None of Shelley’s female characters in Frankenstein are feminist icons; the women of the novel are written as passive, defined entirely by the men in their lives. This understanding, which informs Stephanie Haddad’s article “Women as the Submissive Sex in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”, is partially achieved through point of view, specifically that of
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), the characterization of women is based on the rigid gender division in eighteenth-century Geneva. Shelley depicts the social status of women in contemporary London by presenting the female characters as ineffective to the public sphere. Male characters in Frankenstein are categorized as scientists, politicians and explorers, leaving women confined to the home as mere companions, wives and often caregivers. By upholding women’s views of the familial, Shelley illustrates the patriarchal social system, which favor men over women. The division highlights Shelley’s portrayal of women’s passivity; hence the disposal of the female characters in the novel illustrate the sexist separation of the male and female
As the first recognizable, female novelist in western history, Mary Godwin Shelley engraves her name on the figurative monument of accomplishment formerly reserved exclusively for men, and paves the course for future female greatness, leading the crusade for the respect and credibility of women as equal members of society. In her most famous work, Frankenstein, Shelley reflects on the issue of the degradation and repression of women, as well as the neglect of their education, the nonexistence of their political voice, and their inability to showcase the fullest extent of feminine practical and intellectual skill during the Romantic era. Shelley indirectly reflects on the societal obstacles which deter women from achieving accomplishments worthy
for the years pre-1970 presented male to female ratios of 4.0:1 in titles, 2.6:1 in central roles, and 1.6:1 in pictures (Kortenhaus & Demarest, 1993). The Caldecott books for the years post-1970 had more equal ratios of 1.2:1 for titles, 1.2:1 for central roles, and 1.1:1 in pictures. The non-award books showed similar ratios. This is a significant decrease from the male to female ratios in Weitzman’s study of Caldecott books in 1972. This study resulted in 8.0:1 ratio in titles, 3.5:1 ratio in central roles, and a 7.6:1 ratio in pictures (Kortenhaus & Demarest, 1993).
Written in 1818 by Mary Shelly, Frankenstein is arguably a feminist novel. (London, pg. 257). Although there are no major women in the novel, women take a peripheral position in the novel. This peripheral position in the novel makes women to be central to the text simply because they do not take an active role in the novel but a passive one. It is imperative to say that the absence of women in Frankenstein matters a lot especially when exploring the theme of feminism. Frankenstein reveals Shelley’s feminist viewpoints that have continued to shape her life. However, her representation of women in most of her work is both complex and contradictory. In some instances women are depicted as instrumental in
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which tells the story of an egotistical doctor looking to create life where there is none, is a male-dominated novel. Every female character is portrayed as passive, listening to and depending on the men in her life. It can be argued that the egotistical and aggressive men in the story, particularly Victor, are present to make the reader think about the female characters and the unfair treatment they face throughout the story. Besides each woman’s illustration of being shy and accepting of her fate, there is not much else that the reader sees of them. The three dimensions that the male characters have are all apparent in that the reader sees different sides of each of them, and the men really contribute to the book, unlike the women. Shelley, a feminist, wanted to expose the pressure women felt to please their male counterparts, and by putting her real name on the book during her lifetime, she showed women that it should be acceptable to speak up and share their ideas, regardless of their gender. The book also would have been less likely to be accepted by society had it been more obviously radical for the time period, for example, if Shelley portrayed the women as independent and outspoken. Shelley critiques society’s tendency to immediately categorize women as less important and contributing than men by making the reader sympathize a bit with the monster, someone who is seen as horrid and unforgivable after
“Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience” (Wollstonecraft 16). Mary Shelley, similar to her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, overtly advocates feminist ideals through her literary works. In her novel Frankenstein, Shelley portrays female characters in accordance with their typical roles in gothic literature. She tasks them with the common duties of women of their time period, including constant service to the males related to them. Further, Shelley presents certain women as gifts and rewards to her male characters. Females such as Safie immediately become objects, offered when their male superiors enter dire straits. The majority of the female characters in Frankenstein are, at some point, subjected to severe cruelty from male characters. In a number of these instances, including those of Elizabeth Lavenza and Justine Moritz, death is the ultimate result. Shelley, by constructing women as subordinate to men and exposing them to utter torture, clearly conveys the principles of the feminist movement. Her technique is similar to that of Voltaire in Candide, who satirizes the injustices faced by women in order to criticize the stereotypes regarding women of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (“The Position of Women”). Shelley develops the female characters in Frankenstein as docile and oppressed, communicating the notion that women ought to have the same amount of influence as men in society.
Mary Shelley portrays women as vital to the life and success of individuals, families, and society. She uses Frankenstein to prove this point by employing him to do the opposite; disprove it. He raises a monster from failed body parts, acting as creator and distorted patriarch of his own twisted romance with nature. His sudden failure to support this creature demonstrates the principles of feminism, influenced of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft. It also sets into motion some of the futuristic notions later embodied in second wave feminism. Shelly uses both Frankenstein's monster, and the world they live in to establish that women are important, loved, and intellectually independent. Society is functional because of women.