Feminist Feminism In Frankenstein

Superior Essays
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a horrific novel that avoids strong and independent female leads. It is hard to believe the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, an important feminist, could write such a thing. Within Frankenstein, it seems as if Mary Shelley is demoralizing women by keeping them fairly absent and focusing upon men in the novel (Behrendt 1). However, these main characterized men stem many mistakes throughout society. Perhaps, Shelley is showing how women are instead a backbone to society. Mary Shelley makes a truly feminist point within her well-known literary classic, Frankenstein. Mary Shelley’s was left motherless ten days after birth when her mother died of a fever. Instead of having a strong motherly figure in her life, she …show more content…
She is extremely passive and gets thrown back and forth between her family and the Frankenstein’s. However, in Frankenstein her main action in the novel is being framed for the murder of William by the creature. In seeing Justine, the creature realized that she is another beautiful thing he cannot have. However, the creature can in fact destroy her. At the trial Justine was calm. “She was dressed in mourning and her countenance, always engaging, was rendered, by the solemnity of her feelings, exquisitely beautiful.” (Shelley 62). Her actions and speech demonstrate her passiveness. Justine seems to be the easy answer for William’s death, despite the truth. She confessed to a crime she did not commit, because she was pressured by a man. Justine is eventually executed for the crime. Ironically, another woman dies in the plot due to a man’s …show more content…
For such an apparent theme, there are a multitude of interpretations on why the roles play such a big part in the novel. I believe Shelley used her past experiences to add to the gender roles. Shelley shows what she felt as female author in the nineteenth century. When Frankenstein was published many did not even believe that Mary Shelley was the true author. How could a women write such a beautifully mastered thought-provoking piece? Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein initially shows women as inferior to men at first glance. However, Shelley uses female roles such as Caroline, Elizabeth, Justine, and others as a teaching method. Women are employed to uphold Shelley’s mother's belief and teaching. Mary Wollstonecraft’s belief that all men and women are equal. This is very obvious upon further reading and research. Feminism did not begin until the nineteenth century. Mary Shelley helped this movement advance with her novel, Frankenstein. From reading her mother's previous feminist work, she was able to incorporate a teaching in her novel. For this reason, faminist critics have shown great interest in Frankenstein (Bennett 1). Shelley notes within her novel, that in order for the world to properly evolve, equality must exist. Almost two-hundred years later people are still reading this novel. Since, women have taken great strides towards gaining equality with men. Without the writing of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley,

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    The Role of Passiveness of Women in Frankenstein In the nineteenth century, women were only seen to be inferior to men; they were only susceptive of being a caretakers due to gender roles. Throughout this time, women were also seen as being unequal to men since they carried more physical strength. Mary Wollstonecraft believed women and men should have the equality of education. In Wollstonecraft’s Vindication, Wollstonecraft argued that women should be justified to an equal education not just the knowledge of pleasing a man. Since Frankenstein was published in this century, Mary Shelley has depicted every female character in the novel to have a common trait of passiveness.…

    • 925 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Frankenstein in its basic sense is about a monster being created and the havoc he causes. However, if you look more in depth you will see there is much more to the story, like the role of women. In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the women are characterized as submissive, passive, and in some cases lost without male superiority. Some many say that Shelley intended to show that women were superior but when you analyze the book you see that is not true. The three main characters: Caroline, Justine and Elizabeth serve as nothing more than docile servants and lessons for the men in the novel.…

    • 1118 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “Shelley has an inevitable focus on maternity, reproduction, and the female body” and Frankenstein creating a monster is a joke to Shelley (Yousef). This proving the theme of feminism runs throughout the entire novel. Feminism is also evident with the lack of women in Frankenstein, which seems strange seeing that you would think more women in the novel would be make it more feministic. Mary Shelley continued to accomplish the feminism theme by having all these male character who are faulty. Mary Shelley reflected on her mother’s feminist novels to help her create a seemingly normal novel with an underlying feministic…

    • 1531 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Due to her mother dying in child birth, Mary knew her through her many writings about equality with women. This molded Marys outlook on gender and carried qover into her novel. Mary knew that women were seen as objects and as so, she saw fit to passivly showing that in Frankenstein. Directly in chapter one, Mary shows how womwn are treated as objects through the character Elizabeth. “Everyone loved Elizabeth.…

    • 761 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Betty Friedan Feminism

    • 1438 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Once upon a time, there was a woman named Betty Friedan who lived in Peoria, Illinois. She was born on February 4th, 1921, went to Smith College, and died on February 4th, 2006. As she grew up, she noticed that women and men were treated differently, and decided to take a stand. She wrote many articles and books expressing her ideas, but her first book was the most influential. By noticing sexual discrimination during adolescence and experiencing sexism as a journalist, Betty Friedan was motivated to become a feminist and fuel the Women’s Movement by expressing her views on gender discrimination in the book, The Feminine Mystique.…

    • 1438 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Mary Shelley, the author of the novel Frankenstein was the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, a woman whom many consider to be the first modern feminist. Mary Wollstonecraft authored the pamphlet “Vindication of Women’s Rights” in 1792, in which she argued that women were not, by their nature, inferior to men, but may have appeared so only because they lacked the same educational opportunities to which men had far greater access. Much has been written about Mary Shelley’s life that demonstrates that she shared many of her mother’s ideas about the equality of women. Frankenstein does not have a strong, central female character per se, who models what might be considered feminist principles. The existence of feminism is far subtler than that.…

    • 991 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Chopin was no doubt, a writer who was far ahead of her time. She dealt with a huge portion of these in her everyday life and made a point to not hide or conform to the stereotypical woman’s role. While many women fulfilled their "responsibilities", Chopin responded to this attempt to define and limit their roles with her own literature and work in the feminist movement. Chopin constantly withstood severe criticism by male critics for her themes and ideas of marriage, feminism and suicide in her novel “The Awakening”. The male critics found this novel controversial since one of the female characters has two lovers, which the critics considered as completely unethical for a woman to do.…

    • 575 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Everyone Matters Mary Shelley utilizes many characters in her novel Frankenstein. Although the reader may believe Elizabeth, Clerval, and Walton are only minor characters, they are actually major characters. Each one fulfills a meaningful purpose in the story. These characters emphasize ideas of theme, plot, and character. Notably, Elizabeth is Shelley’s way of fulfilling her mother’s and audience’s expectation of creating a novel with a flare of feminism.…

    • 719 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The next step would be to publish a writing that related to all women in which they would pursue other roles other than a caretaker. Betty Friedan is the author of the Feminine Mystique ; a book that described the oppression of women, soon after being published it became a bestseller(ww.nwhp.org). The literary work of art inspired its readers to live a life in which they felt fit not the life that was picked for them (www.nwhp.org). These powerful women paved the way for the emerging feminist and opened up a new can of topics that needed to be discussed if women were ever going to have full equality. Topics like women’s reproductive rights, military involvement, leadership roles in religious worship, business…

    • 1773 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the time frame Dracula was written women were entering fields of work where they had previously not been (Senf 47), however, it had long been acceptable for a woman to hold a job in the fields of education and child care. Mina’s job fell into one of the socially acceptable positions as she was employed as an assistant school mistress (Stoker 55). She does, however, speak of a plan to imitate the more contemporary women for her journal entries when she writes, “I shall try and do what I see the lady journalists do: interviewing and writing descriptions and trying to remember conversations” (Stoker 56) She again shows a traditional aspect by learning shorthand. This, she comments in a letter to Lucy Westenra, would be something useful to her soon to be husband in his work (Stoker 55). According to Lydia Murdoch (81) wives would often help their husbands in their work, although they did not receive recognition for their…

    • 1278 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays