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Mary Shelleys Frankenstein - Book Report/Review Example

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Mary Shelleys Frankenstein

From the critical perspective, Mary Shelley achieved every mentioned of her artistic goals, and moreover, her novel's richness and complexity created immense amount of discussions and debates, including those questioning the relationship of "Frankenstein" and Mary Shelley's life.
Some psychoanalytical and biographical literature discuss Shelley's novel as a portrayal of motherhood and family, suggesting that "Frankenstein" can depict author's rejection of male ego and radical philosophy held by her parents and a husband. For instance, Knoepflmacher attempts to explain that "Frankenstein" constitutes a picture of Shelley's adolescent anger (author was only nineteen years old when she wrote her novel) over her irresponsible father who continuously sacrificed his children pursuing his political career (Knoepflmacher, 39). However, Ellen Moers in her analysis of Shelley's novel takes a different perspective and explains the events occurring in the story as a reflection of author's tragic experience - a lonely mother whose baby died a few weeks after birth. Therefore, as Moers argues, "Frankenstein" is embedded in Shelley's personal tragedy of childbirth and motherhood and Shelley's guilt over her mother's death. It is not surprising that Moers characterizes the novel as a "horror story of maternity" (Moers, 95).
From the critical perspective, this "story of maternity" continues if one conside...
Mary Shelley's mother indicated: "Make them [women] free, or the injustice which one half of the human race are obliged to submit to, retorting on their oppressors, the virtue of man will be worm-eaten by the insect whom he keeps under his feet" (Wollstonecraft, 105). Gilbert and Gubar suggest that in the years before she wrote "Frankenstein," Mary Shelley "studied her parents' writings ... like a scholarly detective seeking clues to the significance of some cryptic text" and that books "appear to have functioned as her surrogate parents, pages and words standing in for flesh and blood" (223). Mary Shelley not only read all of her mother's works repeatedly, but also got acquainted to the harsh political criticism, which called mother's Vindication of the Rights of Woman "a scripture, archly framed for propagating w[hores]" (Gilbert and Gubar, 222). Therefore, Mary Shelley gave a fictional form to her mother's pain in the form of the atrocious and despised monster.
If assessed critically, the idea of Mary Shelley embedding herself inside the monster character in "Frankenstein" can be considered plausible. For instance, Gilbert and Gubar suggest that "Victor Frankenstein's male monster may really be a female in disguise" (237). Indeed, both monster and Mary Shelley do have intellectual similarity, and the monster educates himself with the same books as did Mary Shelley and these books must have "seemed to her to embody lessons a female author (or monster) must learn about a male-dominated society" (Gilbert and Gubar, 237). Simultaneously, Mary Shelley depicted Frankenstein as a symbol of nineteenth-century ...Show more

Summary

Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" appeared as a result of the ghost story contest among Lord Byron, John Polidori, Mary Shelley and her husband, occurred during the summer of 1816, when literary geniuses spent rainy evenings near Lake Geneva discussing the questions of vitalism…
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