Mary Shelley vs. Frankenstein Essay
Mary Shelley vs. Frankenstein
In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the author relates her life to the events that happened in the book. Certain events in her life led her to write the horror story that eerie, rainy night at Lord Byron’s mansion in London. Mary Shelley experienced many tragedies and losses. Writing a novel like Frankenstein was her way of mourning and dealing with her grief. Her environment also had an effect on her for it inspired her to write the way she did, why she did, and why she wrote it in the first place.
Mary Shelley had a desire, a wish, a craving for something she hasn’t experienced – and probably never will – motherhood. Writing Frankenstein made her feel the power of creation and that she can take care of others. She spreads the lesson that if we don’t take care of something that needs that attention, it can lead to things we don’t like. From the beginning, it was a failure. When Mary Shelley was born, her mother, Mary Wollestonecraft – the well-known woman who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman – died during labor. Mary Shelley never really had a mother figure around.
Her father, William Godwin, on the other hand, was always busy with business and writings that all she would do is sit around whenever her father had meetings with his fellow writers. Mary Shelley grew up in the dawn of the British Industrial Age. Britain was one of the first nations to industrialize. It was a time for the advance in technology and new things. This era could have had an effect on Mary Shelley by influencing her to use electricity and water to create the monster that Frankenstein created. It wasn’t only technology that was affected during the Industrial Revolution. Social patterns started changing too.
The population boomed and new social classes appeared. There were gaps between levels of society and the upper class usually looked down on everyone else. “Reading Wollenstonecraft’s Maria and The Rights of Woman, Godwin’s Memoirs of her mother or his Political Justice, undoubtedly provided intellectual justification for Mary Shelley’s defiance of social values. “1 Mary Shelley was surrounded by workers for reforms, philosophers, a changing social climate, and even the feminist movements that her own mother started, and this caused her to write the social gaps between characters in her novel, Frankenstein.
Women weren’t allowed to write before either. Her mother and other feminists who worked to be as equal as the men in society had influenced her and made her try to show the world that she, too, like any other men, can write a good novel. Mary Shelley ran away with a married man, Percy B. Shelley, to France when she was only 19 years old. Percy B. Shelley was one of her father’s friends and doing this caused her father to refuse to communicate with her for the next two and a half years. She traveled all around Europe, seeing many people and things. Percy B.
Shelley impregnated her, and there was times that he left her all alone since had business to do. Mary Shelley wrote many journals. She was excited to have a baby. In February of 1815, she finally gave birth to her first child, Clara. She was two months premature and soon died early the following month. Later on after that, Mary Shelley kept attempting to have children but they kept dying. She longed to be a mother but all her attempts failed. She became depressed because of this. One summer night in 1816, Mary Shelley and many other philosophers and writers came to Lord Byron’s house in London.
They couldn’t go outside because of the heavy rain so Lord Byron decided to have a contest on who can write the best horror story. Later that night, Mary Shelley had a dream. She wrote in her journal, “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life… His success would terrify the artist; he would rush away… hope that… this thing… would subside into dead matter… he opens his eyes; behold the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains…
“2 This of course, is the main concept of her novel which she called, Frankenstein. There are many events in Frankenstein that are related to Mary Shelley’s own life. For example, she named the first child to die in the novel William. Mary Shelley had a son who died from malaria when he was only three years old. His name was also William. Coincidence? Maybe. But there were more of these relations. “During inclement weather on a family vacation, Frankenstein happens upon the writings of Cornelius Agrippa, and is immediately fired with the longing to penetrate the secrets of life and death.
Similarly it was during a wet, ungenial summer in Switzerland that Mary, Shelley, Byron and several others picked up a volume of ghost stories and decided to write [… ]”3 It took Victor Frankenstein a while and first researched about how to create a life. He gathered many materials and received information from many of his professors. His mother was dying and he couldn’t accept the fact that one day life just passes someone by. He wanted to create life and this was what Mary Shelley desired also. She had suffered many losses and tragedies; first and foremost she lost her mother, then all those babies she lost.
She wanted to create life also – play God. Mary Shelley had radical views and strict outlooks on society. She saw that leaving a person alone just because they were different was wrong. Mary Shelley was a caring person and she wanted to show love to all. When she eloped with Percy B. Shelley, she was misunderstood and became an outcast for she was seen as “one of those. ” She understood how the monster in her novel felt and she could relate a lot to it. The monster in the novel says that all he wanted was some love and he would have been better.
It seemed as if Mary Shelley spoke through the monster in the novel. “Frankenstein, in other words, can be read as the story of the experience of writing Frankenstein. What is at stake in Mary’s introduction as well as in the novel is the description of a primal sense of creation. “4 Writing Frankenstein was more like writing an autobiography of Mary Shelley’s life. She put so many evens in her life into the novel that it could have been her own life story, except that she made it more interesting and more horrific.
She expressed her grief and pain through the words of the novel.
Citations Page 1. Poovey, Mary. “My Hideous Progeny: The Lady and the Monster. ” Page 81 2. http://www. kimwoodbirdge. com/maryshel/summer. shtml 3. Johnson, Barbara. “My Monster / My Self. ” Page 62 4. Johnson, Barbara. “My Monster / My Self. ” Page 63 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 November 2017
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