Mary Shelley Gothic Horror and Science-Fiction - Frankenstein Essay Background: Mary Shelley’s life was surrounded with death as Mary Shelley’s mother died just ten days after giving birth to her. Her own daughter died within two weeks of
birth. Then Mary’s husband drowned when he took a boat out to sea in a storm even though he could not swim. These deaths may be the reason why Mary Shelley became intrigued in bringing the dead back to life.
In 1818 Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein (Although the novel was written in 1818, it was only in 1831 in the third revised edition that Mary Shelley put her name to it as female authors weren’t credited as male authors were.), a Gothic Horror novel also incorporating themes of Science-Fiction, In this essay therefore I will explore how Mary Shelley portraits her skills as a writer of both Gothic Horror and Science-Fiction. Chapter 5 of the novel was originally intended as a short story to be entered into a ghost story competition. In order to stand a chance of winning Mary Shelley had to hook the reader within the first few paragraphs of reading. She does this by shrouding the reader in mystery as to what is going on and throwing the reader into a vivid description of the monster without explanation. As the novel was originally intended for as a ‘ghost story’, the horror theme is explicit.
I previously described the novel as vivid and explicit, this can be traced back to what Mary Shelley described as a ‘waking nightmare’, which originally sparked the idea for the novel. The Gothic Horror theme draws many parallels to the Science-Fiction; both are surrounded by mystery and unrealism. Some themes of Gothic Horror can be: Darkness, the supernatural, pathetic fallacy & mystery. Often upon hearing the term Science-Fiction, vast spaceships and brightly coloured stars immediately come to mind, where as on the contrary Science-Fiction is simply...