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Frankenstein Kickass Paper

The daughter of an active feminist, Mary Woolstonecraft Shelley eloped with the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley at the age of 15, and after was continually and profoundly influenced by his words and writings. Her novel Frankenstein is named among the best written and most meaningful of the gothic works, and is one of the few still popularly read today. A precursor to the Romantic trend in art and intellect, gothic novels rejected of the precepts of order, balance, idealization, and rationality that typified Classicism in general and late 18th-century Neoclassicism in particular. The gothic tradition grew out of disillusionment with the Enlightenment and 18th-century rationalism and physical materialism. Romanticism as a whole emphasized the individual, the irrational, the imaginative, the spontaneous, the emotional, and the transcendental. Shelley herself defines "gothic" as a story "which would speak to the mysterious fears of our Nature, and would awaken thrilling horror--one to make the reader dread to look around, to curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart." By infusing moral and social concerns into the gothic style, Shelley achieves more than a simple horror story, however. The universal societal and psychoanalytical questions raised in Frankenstein secure its place in world literature and promise decades of similarly fashioned gothic writings.

As stated above, the gothic genre developed as a harsh reaction to the predominant Neoclassic ideals of the time; the emphasis shifted from the whole to the solitary, and from society to nature. The "Graveyard Poets," one of whom is Thomas Gray, are attributed with having ushered in the new philosophy and are often termed "Pre-Romantics." Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" has all the elements of the gothic: graves, overtones of death, a rural setting, and a desire for return to a more simplistic, natural time. Simultaneously, Jean-Jacques Rousseau preached a similar creed which presented society as evil, and called for a "natural state of man." Shelley was schooled in both writers, and took their words to heart. In 1776 and 1789 Revolutions swept America and France, indicating that the Neoclassic ideals were not as stable as was previously thought. News of these ...

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...; and "Fall of the House of Usher" and Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" use many gothic conventions and themes, such as the ominous tone, dream-like or surreal sequences, and warnings about interdependency and the manipulation of one's mind.

The gothic novel revolves as part of the literary cycle, periodically returning for a brief period in the public's eye and then again disappearing into obscure circles of its few disciples. In this scientific age, the gothic is viewed as being overly sentimental, predictable, and implausible. As the ages change, readers, like Victor, are forced to "exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur" which the gothic inspires for "realities of little worth" (Shelley 46). The gothic, the fantastic, is a necessary balance for logic and reason as much as light is to dark, and good to evil. Without one, the other is undefined and therefore has no purpose in its existence. Frankenstein will live on as a brilliant insight into both the political environment of the 18th century and the eternal condition of man as an extension of nature.
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