Frankenstein Essay Research Paper Mary Shelley had

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Frankenstein Essay, Research Paper

Mary Shelley had a dark childhood and a abnormal life. This

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had a large influence on how she wrote Frankenstein. In

Frankenstein, her personal life played a significant roll on the

gothic appeal of the book. The people that influenced her book

the most was her father, William Godwin, her Mother, Mary

Wollstonecraft Godwin, Her Husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley and her

little brother William Godwin.

Mary Shelley s father William Godwin was a philosopher and a

political theorist. Her father was a great writer but he was not

there when Mary needed him and he didn t give Mary the attention

that she needed. He was not a bad father he was just not there to

raise her and watched after her, he still managed to earn her

love though. This would help to explain why Mary was a great

author, but wrote about dark and dominated things in

Frankenstein. Despite her resentment of her father s bleak

rationality, she acknowledged her deep intellectual debts to his

novels by dedicating Frankenstein to him (Davenport 191). Her

father also wrote dark stories of misery. Mary saw as did her

father, the duality in human nature which is capable of brining

misery and ruin to the most gifted of beings. (Bloom78).

After the death of his wife and Mary s mother he married

Mary Jane Clairmont. Mary was a very bad stepmother. She did not

give Mary any of the attention or love that she needed from a

mother. It only got worse when Mary Jane gave birth to her first

child. Now that Mary Jane had a child of her own she did not give

any attention to Mary. Mary Jane would go on to have four more

children. The five children crowded into one house increased

Mary s feeling of inner isolation, the refrain which sounds

throughout her novels and short stories. Another constant

refrain, that of complex familiar relationships, is seen embodied

in the five children, no one of whom could muster two parents in

common, Charles and Jane Excepted (Harold78)

The death of her mother was probably the biggest factor that

affected the writing of Frankenstein. One theme of Frankenstein

is mothering and the absence of mothers: Mary Shelley s own

mother was heavily pregnant with her when her parents married :

her mother died as a result of her birth. (Gothic 188). This is

where Mary conceived the idea of the Frankenstein Impulse –

The desire to alter human nature even to the point of creating

life itself. (Sunstein 233) A quote that best represents the

relationship between her mother and the creation of the monster

is Victor

dreams seeing pictures of his dead mother ten he wakes up and

sees the dead monster. (Frankenstien43) This quote describes the

relationship between Mary Shelly s mother and the creation,

because Mary had been born into the world motherless, like the

creature and throughout her life she had only had a father to

guide her, like the monster does. The creature is a symbol for

Mary being born into the world as a motherless child. Her

reserved manner hid deep feelings baffled by her mother s death

and her father s distance- two kinds of coldness, one might say,

both of them which are embodied in the monster s dead and also

unloved. (Bloom78)

Mary s Mother also a had a very big influence on giving Mary

the courage to write a book in a society that was ruled and

dominated by men. It was almost unheard for a women to write a

book especially one that is as morbid as Frankenstein. Mary s

mother was a brilliant women who wrote the world s first feminist

tract, A Vindication of the rights of women. Mary got many of her

dark personality traits from her mother. When Mary s mother had a

failed love, before Mary was born, she tried to jump off of a

bridge and commit suicide, luckily though she failed at her


In her late teen years Mary got involved with a married with

a married man who was a great writer also. She did not marry him

until his wife died. She was so desperate for love that she

followed him all around Europe. He would help Mary to spark many

ideas, when he was living and when he died. The

Shelley-Frankenstein connection had been a frequent source of

speculation among the novel s critics… the novel is an

instrument of revenge against her husband. (Bloom)

Marilyn butler has demonstrated that Mary and her husband were

keenly interested in a contemporary medical controversy as to

whether electricity or something analogous to it, could do duty

for the soul and this inspired the means for Frankenstein to be

infuse the vital spark of life into the monstrous

creation. (Gothic 192)

These are both quotes that represent how her husband

influenced her in a negative a positive way. Her husband helped

to give her ideas to write the book , Mary wrote the book as a

form of revenge on her husband because of the way that he treated


The death of Mary s Children and her little brother help to

explain why Frankenstein had so much death in it. Shelley s Plot

contains details of profound personal authenticity which the

reader couldn t guess: she called Frankenstein s little brother,

who is strangled in the woods by the monster, William, The name

of her Favorite baby brother. (Gothic 191), William is dead!

That sweet little child, whose smiles delighted and warmed my

heart, who was so gentle yet so gay (Shelley68) This shows how

truly dark and domented Mary was. Catastrophe followed the

harum-scarum young lovers. Mary s first child, a daughter, was

born after they returned to London and their debts; it was

premature and died. ( Bloom) This was perhaps a main contributor

the dark and gothic appeal of the book.

Mary s travel s throughout Europe is what helped to spark an

interest and gave her the idea for writing the book. But these

youthful travelers were among the first to enter France after the

Napoleon Wars, and a desolate place they found it, the fields

uncultivated, the villages and buildings destroyed (Harold 79)

This is when Mary is traveling through Europe with her soon to be

husband and she begin to see ideas for the book. Percy s wife was

also chasing them around Europe , much like the creature chased

victor all over Europe. Like the Story the chase ended in a

tragedy with Percy s wife killing herself.

The idea so possessed my mind, that a thrill of fear ran

through me , and I wished to exchange the ghastly image of my

fancy for the realities around. I see them still; the very

room… the closed shutters, with the moonlight struggling

through, and the sense that I had that glassy white lake and the

while Alps were beyond. I could not get rid of my hideous

phantom; sill haunted me. I must try to think of something else.

I recurred to my ghost story! O! If I could only contrive one

which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened

that night. Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that

broke in upon me. I have found it .( Shelley24)

This is where Mary conceived the idea for Frankenstein. They were

staying at the house of lord Byron , in Switzerland. Not only did

staying in Switzerland spark the idea for Mary but it also

helped to act as the scenario for the book.

It is commonly accepted that Frankenstien relies on

personal experience for its material. It does not deny other

interpretations- for a metaphor has many interpretations- by

stating Mary saw herself as the monster. (Davenport) This is why

we pity it. She too tried to win herself into society. This is an

example of Mary feeling sorry for herself and it being mixed in

with the book. Nomader how hard she tried she could not fit in

society, just like the monster trying to fit in with society.

This is why the readers feel sympathy for the monster.

Mary experienced the fear, guilt, depression , and anxiety

that often attend child birth, particularly in situation such as

hers-unmarried, her consort a married man with children by

another women, and beset by debt in a foreign place. Only a women

only Mary Shelley could have written Frankenstien. As Mirian

Gillon says She was the only one of the lot of them that new

about life .(Davenport 243)

This quote represents how Mary is the only one of the

authors in her time that could have written about life and known

as much about death and the creation of life. Only a person that

went through so many tragedies would understand life like her and

be able to put it into the form of one book.

I had worked for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of

infusing life into inamite body (Shelley 42). Only a person that

is very intelligent but had a very dominated and morbid life

would be able to think something up like this. The time period

that she was living nobody would dare to write something or even

think something like this up.

The biggest link between Mary and the book is the monster.

Through characterization Mary develops the creature into a symbol

of herself. They are both rejected from society and the only

thing that they want is to be loved. I possessed no money, no

friends, no kind of property . (Shelley62). This is when the

monster realize that he will never be able to fit into society

just like Mary. Mary uses imagery to paint a picture of what the

creature looks like. She does this because this is how she feels

on the inside, she is a outsider of society and feels like she

does not belong The Monster wants a companion that he can run

away with and spend the rest of its life with. Mary wants this to

because she wants to be shown love for the first time in her

life. The monster companion is destroyed and this is kind of

odd because after Mary published the book her husband dies. In a

way the destruction of the monsters companion is foreshadowing

the death of Mary s husband. The creature and Mary are also born

into the world without a mother, only a father to take care of

them. For the creature its father was victor and Mary s was her

actual father. Both of their father s did not give them the

attention and the love they needed, they acted like they never

created either one of them.

Mary Shelley had a life that was filled with death and

loneliness and neglect. the beauty of the dream vanished, and

breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. (Shelley42) This

quote, when victor first brings the Monster to life represents

Shelley s life and how she felt about her life. The only way

that she could express herself was through writing Frankenstein.

Reading the book is almost like reading about the life of Mary

Shelley. Mary was a type of writer that would take events in her

life and put them into the stories she was writing. Only a Mary

would have a life that was so bad that she could create a great

novel from it. Frankenstein was one of the greatest books ever

written but the author had to suffer a lot in order to create

that book.