A Comparison Of The Unorthodox Practices In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

1233 Words5 Pages
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is best characterized today by modern readers as an interesting yet fictitious story, but in the 1800s, this was far from the case. Criticized by many readers and scientific elite alike for the unorthodox practices described in the book, it quickly received criticism. These practices however, no matter how unorthodox, were anything but fictitious. In fact, the practices mentioned in the book were derived from the latest medical advancements. It is for this reason that Frankenstein, to an extent, was a story conceived by Mary Shelley using her knowledge of the latest medical advancements of the 1800s. While Frankenstein takes place in the late 1700s, Mary Shelley wrote the book in the early 1800s. These time periods…show more content…
Mellor 's "Frankenstein, Racial Science, and the Yellow Peril" explains the monsters race and how he got his attributes. She describes the monster as "Superhuman strength and endurance, of intelligence and sensibility" (Mellor, 487). Leading up to Mary Shelly 's book, many scientists such as Darwin had researched how different races across the world had different attributes. Some were deemed intelligent, others were considered to be barbaric and senseless. Mary Shelley used these speculations in her book by making the monster similar to that of a Mongol or Asian, yet had a variety of traits considered to be superior, such as those Anne K. Mellor described. This is an important part of her book in that it supports the use of evolution by taking the best body parts from corpses and passing it on to the monster. The final scientist who played a key role was Humphrey Davy, better known for his role as a student and pupil of Abernethy. In Jonathan Bate 's "Frankenstein and the State of Nature", he describes how Mary Shelley interpreted Davy 's research of chemistry to her adaptation into the use of human anatomy. Davy explains chemistry as breaking nature down into its original parts. Mary Shelley adapted this into her book by bring parts together to create a new being. Bate 's interpretation of the book also explains how nature cannot be controlled, such as how Victor attempted to control nature by forcing…show more content…
While the first known research into blood transfusions can be dated as far back as the 17th century, the early 19th century marked a period of heavy research into the matter. At the time of writing the book, blood transfusions were dangerous and years away from being practical in the medical field. This however did not stop Mary Shelley from adapting this would be medical breakthrough to her own personal use. She used the idea of blood transfusions and adapted it to body parts which allowed Victor to create the monster from multiple corpses. As Jonathan Bate points out in "Frankenstein and the State of Nature", the monster is made of “bits and pieces” (Bate,480). Frankenstein is a book that received critical acclaim and criticism upon its release. Its use of radical medical and scientific procedures shocked the readers and infuriated much of the scientific community. The book was even considered blasphemous and was under consideration for a ban. It helped shed light on how many scientists conducted their research, similar to that of Victor Frankenstein. Its success was the result of the recent medical advances of the 1800s that inspired Mary Shelley to write the

More about A Comparison Of The Unorthodox Practices In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

Open Document