Sophomore Honors English
21 October 2010
Mary Shelly’s Messages
“Money doesn’t buy happiness” is one of those common phrases that seem to be overused in today’s society. Yet it becomes clear when reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, that this saying is all too true. It is easy to see in the character of Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and The Monster that all three had a similar sense of unhappiness. What is interesting about this is that there is historical evidence that Mary Shelley may have also been very much unhappy. In the book Frankenstein, Mary Shelley related the unhappiness of the characters to that of her own.
Mary Shelley was born into a reasonably wealthy and well off family for that of her time and her wealth never seemed to diminish. In fact as she grew older she married a young, and very wealthy author and businessman named Percy Bysshe Shelley. Yet as all this sounds as though she had all that she needed to feel fulfilled and happy with life, as you dig a little deeper it is evident she did not. For Mary, things had been going deadly awry since birth. For instance, her mother died while giving birth to her, her half-sister committed suicide, and her husband’s sister drowned herself and her unborn child after Mary and Percy were married. All of these events affected Mary in a negative way, but none nearly as bad as her unsuccessful quest to have children. Several times Mary was pregnant but had only still births or sickness take her children from her. As she aged she realized although she had the fortune and life that would be desired, she was missing the key components to making her happy, a family.
The first character that Mary Shelly uses to express her unhappiness is Robert Walton. From the beginning Robert quested to find happiness. His method for doing so was to achieve fame and fortune by journeying to and studying the North Pole. Although from the start of his trip, the unhappiness is evident.... [continues]
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