Women in Frankenstein

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To begin a class discussion on March 2nd, a thought-provoking question was asked: where are the women in "Frankenstein"? Perhaps this question would not be nearly as interesting had it not been followed with a small insight into the biography of Mary Shelley. As a student, it was brought to my attention that the author was left motherless as a result of her birth, and more fascinating to me, her mot her was a well-known feminist. With that being said, the initial question now held much more meaning; and although I am tempted to discuss the psychology of Shelley in writing "Frankenstein", now knowing some background, perhaps it is more fitting to simply discuss the creating of Safie. While all of the women in "Frankenstein" seem to be these soft, subdued characters that are not representative of what, perhaps, a strong feminist's daughter should create, they are necessary to illuminate Safie's strength and power.

In chapter one the initial mention of a woman right away sets up a precedent for all the women to follow, Safie of course being the exception. Shelley, subtley, introduces the reader from the very beginning to the passivity of woman in speaking of Caroline, "He came like a protecting spirit to the poor girl, who committed herself to his care; and after the interment of his friend, he conducted her to Geneva, and placed her under the protection of a relation"(41). Words such as "protecting" and "placed her" infer that Caroline is in a sense not fully capable, as is Elizabeth and Justine. Caroline's helplessness is no more significant than the rest of the women, however for a journal entry one example will have to suffice in comparison to Safie.

Now being that this is the standard for the women in "Frankenstein" then why would Shelley create Safie, who does not follow any of these ideals? Presumably in critically reading the book as a whole, the reader can understand that Shelley is in fact a feminist herself and the production of all of these women,...
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