Mary Shelley's Influences for Writing Frankenstein

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WHAT EXPERIENCES, POWERS OF IMAGINATION AND INFLUENCES MADE MARY SHELLEY WRITE SUCH AN INNOVATIVE NOVEL AS ‘FRANKENSTEIN’ WHEN SHE WAS ONLY 19 YEARS OF AGE?

“It was on a dreary night of November, that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.” (Frankenstein, page 86)

By looking at this extract taken from a novel, anybody would think that it was written by a very experienced writer; however, it is surprising that the author of the book was still a teenager. Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus is a Gothic novel written by Mary Shelley. It was first published in London in 1818 and some people say that it was the very first science fiction novel ever written in that time. This classic horror story has been enormously popular and continuously in print in many languages. The story has inspired plays, poems, parodies, other stories, novels and more that 40 movies. Frankenstein has become known around the world, influenced across literature and popular culture, since it has spawned a new genre of horror stories. Frankenstein’s popularity is partly because it is the first modern myth that used science to give life to a monster. (http://frankenstein.monstrous.com/) Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was only 19 years old; how could such a young girl think of such a hideous idea which would become such an unimaginative success? Mary Shelley had many factors that influenced her to write one of the most successful stories of all times, which is also considered to be the greatest gothic romantic novel. The most important influences that made Mary Shelley write Frankenstein are the education she got, since both of her parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, were important literary persons of the age. In the same way, Mary’s husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, was who incited her to write Frankenstein in order to be recognized by society. Besides, Mary Shelley was interested in the experiments that intended to prove that electricity could give life to death matter, which gave her the idea of Frankenstein’s story. Furthermore, Mary had a very wide knowledge because she used to read a lot; in her novel she points out many ideas got from the literary sources she read. Another influence is that she had a very troubling life, since when she still was very young, she had already suffered many tragedies in her family. Finally, the last and the most important reason for Mary to write the novel was that Lord Byron, another literary friend, challenged her and her husband to write a really frightening ghost story. First of all, Mary Shelley was influenced to become a writer by her parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, both important writers of the age. William Godwin, who was a member of a circle of radical thinkers in England, was a philosopher, novelist, and publisher. Mary Wollstonecraft was a writer and an early feminist thinker; she was the author of “A vindication of the rights of woman”, a feminist tract that encourages women to think and act by themselves. Although Mary’s mother died shortly after her birth, Mary was always influenced by her father to develop a habit of deep and extensive reading and research. Mary Shelley received a unique educational experience and was encouraged to study and be creative. “It is not singular that, as the daughter of two persons of distinguished literary celebrity, I should very early in life have thought of writing…and my favorite pastime during the hours given me for recreation was to write stories” (Frankenstein, page 5)....
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