Comparing and Contrasting Shelley's Frankenstein with Brook's Young Frankenstein

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Comparing and Contrasting Shelley's Frankenstein with Brook's Young Frankenstein

The 1818 book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the 1972 movie Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks both portray the differences in feminism regarding the cultural times through the character of Elizabeth. When Mary Shelley wrote the book Frankenstein, she was on a mission to pursue equal rights in education for her daughter. In Shelley's time, the only way to show feminine empowerment was to be literate and well-poised, which readers can see in certain passages featuring Elizabeth in Shelley's book. In the 1970's, when the movie Young Frankenstein was made, female empowerment was emphasized with a movement called “lipstick feminism”, which encouraged women to seek power over men by dressing and acting seductively, a theme seen through Elizabeth in many scenes throughout the movie. “Far from being instruments of oppression in a vast male conspiracy, such ``beauty devices'' were used by women to manipulate the judgmental masculine eye in an effort to control the uncontrollable”(Reuters 1). Both versions of Elizabeth show a woman seeking to show her feminine strength through the different acceptable approaches of the time.

In the 1818 book, conservative cultural norms are apparent although Shelley tries to portray women as powerful and strong. When the reader is first introduced to Elizabeth, she is being adopted by the Frankenstein family, showing that, to some extent, this young girl was taken against her will. As the story progresses, however, the reader becomes aware that because of this adoption, Elizabeth is given a better life and a chance to succeed and to learn. Throughout the novel, Elizabeth is not mentioned as much as Victor is, since they are separated. As Elizabeth writes to Victor, “You are distant from me, and it is possible that you may dread and yet be pleased with this explanation” (Shelley 642). Victor seems to have forgotten about his sister and wife-to-be, but...
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