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The “Other” Creation: Post-Colonialism in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Essay

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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein (sometimes also known as The Modern Prometheus) is the classic gothic novel of her time. In this eerie tale, Dr. Victor Frankenstein – suffering from quite an extreme superiority complex – brings to life a creature made from body parts of deceased individuals from nearby cemeteries. Rather than to embrace the Creature as his own, Frankenstein alienates him because of his unpleasant appearance. Throughout the novel, the Creature is ostracized not only by Frankenstein but by society as a whole. Initially a kind and gentle being, the Creature becomes violent and eventually seeks revenge for his creator’s betrayal. Rather than to merely focus on the exclusion of the Creature from society, Shelley depicts the progression of Dr. Frankenstein’s seclusion from other humans as well, until he and the Creature ultimately become equals – alone in the world with no one to love, and no one to love them back. Frankenstein serves as more than simply a legendary tale of horror, but also as a representation of how isolation and prejudice can result in the demise of the individual.
Generally, as expressed in Charles Bressler’s Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice (4th Edition), post-colonialism encompasses a study of literature written in countries that are or were at some point in time colonized by England or some other imperial power (235). This analysis of literature implies or assumes that the peoples of these texts experienced social, political, and economic influences from an outside force, and were made out to be the “other” right on their own homeland. While Frankenstein is by no means a tale of conquest, the concepts of isolation and oppression are eminent throughou...


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...c endeavors, and the risk of being ridiculed by his friends and loved ones at the discovery that he is the creator of the murderous monster that has caused them such grief.


Works Cited

Allman, John. “Motherless Creation: Motifs in Science Fiction.” North Dakota Quarterly. 58.2
(Spring 1990): 124-132. Literature Resource Center. James E. Shepard Memorial
Library, Durham. 26 Nov 2010 .
Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. 4th ed. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. 235-244.
Shelley, Mary W. Frankenstein. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003.
Zimmerman, Lee. "Frankenstein, Invisibility, and Nameless Dread." American Imago. 60.2
(2003): 135-158. Literature Resource Center. James E. Shepard Memorial Library,
Durham. 26 Nov 2010 .


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