November Spawned a Monster

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November Spawned a Monster Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is filled with voiceless, complicit and finally dead female characters. Modern criticism of the text has attempt to reconcile the passive female characters of the novel with a feminist reading which exonerates the novel from being at best a mere reproduction of patriarchy and at worst an entrenchment of patriarchy’s worst offenses. In this paper I will show the patriarchal structure of the actions that unfold in the novel. I will also complicate those actions by looking at the narrative itself and its advocacy of something more complicated than a gender binary, one not dependent on a rejection of patriarchy for matriarchy. One of the largest problems a feminist reading of the novel must get over is the female bodies that are strewn about the novel. Early on we find Carol Frankenstein dead after she decides to take care of Elizabeth during Elizabeth’s bout with Scarlet Fever (Shelley 44). Justine, becomes the scapegoat for the actions of the creature and perhaps Victor Frankenstein for setting the state for the killing of William. Justine is innocent, yet neither Victor nor the creature comes forward to delay her execution (Shelley 90). Victor’s original creation escapes being killed, but his desired female companion is dropped into the ocean in a basket of parts by Victor (Shelley 176). Lastly we have the killing of Victor’s fiancée Elizabeth, whose dead body Victor embraces (Shelley 199). The worst anyone can attribute to any of these deaths being self inflected is over anxiousness on the part of Carol in treating Elizabeth, certainly they all lacked significant malice or any actions demanding retribution. They appear as bystanders to be trampled by Victor an... ... middle of paper ... ...he is to assume the role of Adam, as the father of a new race of people, he would need Eve to procreate. If the creature remains dependent on Victor to continue creating creature he does not serve as the father, Victor remains in the position of power. In expressing his doubts over creating a partner for his creature Victor uses the feminine pronoun “she” and worries about the harm their offspring will cause. “she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate… yet one of the first results of those sympathies for which the daemon thirsted would be children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth” (Shelley 170). If we accept Gilbert’s analysis what are we to make of this language? The argument that was already resting on scant empirical evidence from the novel becomes even more strained when this is taken into consideration.
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