Perhaps the strongest evidence of feminism in Frankenstein stems from what happens when Victor Frankenstein tries to create life without the help of a woman. In the nineteenth century and before, a woman’s ability to bear children was the one thing that gave her power over man—the one thing women could do that men could not. However, Frankenstein, inadvertently or not, usurps this power from women as he “gives birth” to a living thing. In “Frankenstein and a Critique of Imperialism,” Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak states that “Frankenstein’s apparent antagonist is God himself as Maker of Man, but his real competitor is also woman as the maker of children…In Shelley’s view, man’s hubris as soul maker both usurps the place of God and attempts—vainly—to sublate woman’s physiological prerogative” (263). This interpretation of Frankenstein’s work suggests that in creating a new life, he has taken man’s power a step further by taking the one thing women could be proud to be able to do—childbearing—and turning it into something that was no longer unique to them.
Unfortunately, an action as extraordinary as creating life backfires harshly on Franken...
... middle of paper ...
...o the male monster since she may not be “feminine” enough, or c) not find the male monster attractive and mate with ordinary males. All of these things center around a fear of a female’s ability to reproduce and a fear of a female’s ability to choose her own path. Shelley suggests that the impact of these things is what frightens men, making them feel like they must dominate women to avoid any of the negative implications of them.
Though Frankenstein may seem like just another horror story, a closer look at its message indicates a strong presence of feminist themes. Through Victor Frankenstein’s thoughts and actions, one can easily see Shelley’s intention of revealing men’s fears toward strong women in society. While it may have not been able to change the place of women in society, Frankenstein is step toward unveiling the hidden strength of a woman’s voice.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... Ugly wretch. You wish to eat me and tear me to pieces. You are an ogre. Let me go, or I will tell my papa. ' "`Boy, you will never see your father again; you must come with me. ' "`Hideous monster. Let me go. My papa is a syndic--he is M. Frankenstein--he will punish you. You dare not keep me. (Frankenstein 122) The boy revealed himself to the monster as his monstrous creator 's family and in return the monster killed the boy and exclaimed "The child still struggled and loaded me with epithets which carried despair to my heart; I grasped his throat to silence him, and in a moment he lay dead at my feet" (Frankenstein 122).... [tags: Frankenstein, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley]
994 words (2.8 pages)
- Over the years, the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has become universally portrayed in one way: a tall, green-skinned, dumb brute with no language or reasoning abilities. Society has turned the story of Frankenstein into a mere horror story, dehumanizing the monster more than was intended in Shelley’s novel. However, the message of Frankenstein is a far cry from the freak show displayed by the media. While many people may only see Frankenstein as a grotesque story meant to thrill its audience, its purpose goes much deeper as it advocates for the equal rights of women in society.... [tags: Literature, Gender Issues]
1757 words (5 pages)
- Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, is written by Mary Shelly in 1818. It is a science fiction describing a brilliant scientist intends to create life as human but a monster is created instead. Themes such as ugliness of the Creature, wrong attitude towards science of Victor Frankenstein, and the support of feminism will be discussed in the essay. To begin with, the ugliness of the being created by Frankenstein is a kind of excess, rather than lack (Gigant, 2000). It can be interpreted that it is more than enough and different from ordinary.... [tags: Feminism, Shelly, Frankenstein]
911 words (2.6 pages)
- Throughout the texts we have read in English thus far have been feminist issues. Such issues range from how the author published the book to direct, open statements concerning feminist matters. The different ways to present feminist issues is even directly spoken of in one of the essays we read and discussed. The less obvious of these feminist critiques is found buried within the texts, however, and must be read carefully to understand their full meaning- or to even see them. Mary Shelley's anonymous publishing of her very powerful Frankenstein is a fine example of feminism found in society.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
638 words (1.8 pages)
- Author of Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; Born on 30th August 1797-Died on 1st February 1851. In her time she was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, a travel-writer and her Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus 1818. Marry Shelley, when she made a conscious decision to produce Frankenstein, she literally collected her own demons together to create her own autobiography in Frankenstein. Her book shows heartbreak towards conception. In other words where she had problems of having children of her own, she wanted to show this in her book.... [tags: comparative media analysis, movies, films]
1874 words (5.4 pages)
- Feminist Reading of Frankenstein When reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, one cannot help but notice that the women characters seem to have little substance compared to the male characters. This may have been caused by the time period in which she wrote: one in which females were considered inferior to males. This difference between the sexes can be looked at using a variety of different perspectives. Johanna M. Smith, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, discusses this issue using feminist eyes in her essay entitled "'Cooped up': Feminine Domesticity in Frankenstein." The main points in Professor Smith's essay are that the female characters are there only to reflect the... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
591 words (1.7 pages)
- ... However, Elizabeth Lavenza did believe in Moritz’ innocence, but she did not have the power to prevent her execution. This unassertive personality led to dire consequences; her death. These women did not take strong initiative to take control of their own lives. Secondly, women are represented as companions; to support their loved ones and their family. This can be represented through two males: Victor Frankenstein and the monster. Alphonse Frankenstein requested that Elizabeth Lavenza and Victor Frankenstein get married as soon as possible.... [tags: Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein, Gender]
1117 words (3.2 pages)
- ... It becomes a problem when the world’s most powerful women become an object of sexism because our media is tearing them apart based on their looks. In the news, people will judged based on what they are wearing instead of the laws they are passing. These things are what the feminist are worried about daily. If people can’t respect the most powerful women in the world, what makes you think they would respect ordinary women. If the media is telling women that their mind and opinions are not as important as their bodies and appearance, what left do they have to believe.... [tags: Feminism, Women's suffrage, Gender, Woman]
2051 words (5.9 pages)
- Mary Shelly (1797-1851) is one of the world’s most renowned authors and has authored numerous books which are still read and highly respected today. However, her best known work is Frankenstein. Mary Shelly’s first novel, Frankenstein, is one of the world’s finest pieces of literature and the definitive novel of the English Romantic Era; the novel combines a detailed critique on humanity with many powerful themes and multiple characters in the novel reflect the troubled woman who authored the classic tale.... [tags: Literature]
1684 words (4.8 pages)
- Frankenstein: A Warning Against Masculine Individualistic Freedom In this commentary, I wanted to examine a little further the implications of a point brought up in the presentation on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. They briefly suggested that Victor might occupy a space of idealised masculine freedom; given Victor's less than ideal fate and Mary Shelley's Feminism, such a masculine idealisation becomes highly problematic. Victor holds a privileged social position that allows him a financial and social freedom through which he can choose his occupations at will.... [tags: Mary Shelley Frankenstein Essays Papers]
1657 words (4.7 pages)