Sunteți pe pagina 1din 2

Frankenstein Cheat Sheet: Mary Shelley and Context

Childhood Life:

1. Mary’s mother died shortly after her birth and Mary always blamed herself for killing her

Similarly, the monster eventually destroys the mental state of his creator, leading to Victor Frankenstein’s eventual death

2. In Mary’s early childhood more children came into her family, as her father re-married. Mary felt as though she had to compete

with the new members of the family to win her father’s attention

Francesca Ciocca, Talia Holy, and Liza Francis- En11Er

Francesca Ciocca, Talia Holy, and Liza Francis- En11Er • This is also seen in Frankenstein when

This is also seen in Frankenstein when Elizabeth is adopted into Victor’s family

However, Victor does not compete with Elizabeth to gain his parent’s attention and instead enjoys her company

3. Furthermore, Mary’s new step mother, Mary Jane Clairmont, caused her to compete with her step mother to win her father’s attention. Mary

also had to compete with her step sister, Claire, for the affection of her future husband, Percy

Seen similarly in Frankenstein when the monster must compete with Victor’s entire family to get his creator’s attention

4. In 1812 Mary’s step mother sent her to Scotland, only adds to Mary’s feelings of isolation from her family. Scotland can be seen as a place of

abandonment as both Mary and Frankenstein were left by their friends

Mary’s only close friend, Isabel Baxter, was forced by her family to abandon her because Mary had eloped and become pregnant with a

child from a married man. The Baxter family did not want to be associated with her

Frankenstein was in a sense abandoned by his childhood friend, Henry Clerval, due to his murder Adult Life:

friend, Henry Clerval, due to his murder Adult Life : 1. After Mary elopes with Percy

1. After Mary elopes with Percy and becomes pregnant, she is rejected by her father despite his liberal views (her father is partly responsible for

the way she acts, as he fosters independent and radical views in her)

similar to Frankenstein rejecting the monster, despite the fact that he created him and is responsible for what he has become

2. Furthermore, when she was pregnant, poor and needed help, Mary's father did not come to assist her

needed help, Mary's father did not come to assist her • the opposite is shown in

the opposite is shown in the book, as when Frankenstein is delirious and about to be put on trial for murder, his father comes to assist him and look after him, despite his age and the long distance

Shows Mary's desire for care and self-sacrifice from her father, as she portrays this desire in her novel

from her father, as she portrays this desire in her novel 3. Mary suffered a stillborn

3. Mary suffered a stillborn child, and later in 1816 she gave birth to a child, who she named William

In her novel, named Frankenstein's younger brother, William, who later is killed by the monster

this death of the William character could be a reflection of her fear over losing her son, William, as she had previously experienced loss with a stillborn child

4. 1816 Shelley's wife Harriet died, Percy and Mary took advantage of the scenario and married, as they were now allowed to

Similarly, Frankenstein uses marriage to his advantage, as he partly marries Elizabeth so that he can tell her about the monster and not have her run away from him, as he insists that he will only tell her about the monster after they are married

will only tell her about the monster after they are married 5. Harriet Shelley and Fanny

5. Harriet Shelley and Fanny Godwin both commit suicide in 1816= Mary especially sad about Fanny's death

In Frankenstein, there is a surprising lack of suicide, as Frankenstein never directly contemplates suicide despite the terrible circumstances around him (the monster will not stop killing Frankenstein's loved ones, this could be stopped by Frankenstein killing himself)

-Perhaps shows Mary's reluctance to address the topic of suicide, as her life was so negatively affected by it

Education/Influence of Other Works:

Growing up, Mary was exposed to ideas of intellectuals such as her parents + notable names in literature.

1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Shelley heard him recite “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as child

him recite “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as child • About treating all living things

About treating all living things equally – despite physical differences all creatures connected in spirit – “He prayeth well, who loveth

well/Both man and bird and beast.” (Coleridge-13-14)

In Coleridge’s poem Mariner kills Albatross, in Frankenstein Frank rejects his Creature b/c he is hideous, even though he is harmless and only seeks friendship.

Consequences of actions: Mariner’s crew dies, Frank’s family and friends die

Shelley also quotes Coleridge in Frankenstein – “Like one who, on a lonely road…Doth close behind him tread” (Coleridge-447-52) -> foreshadows horrible repercussions of Frank’s actions

2. William Godwin (father)

Wrote An Inquiry Concerning Political Justice: 3 principle causes of moral improvement = literature (weak), education (weak), political justice (strongest) -> justice and equality

Wrote Caleb Williams: Protagonist is falsely accused + framed -> like Justine; hunted + hated by society -> like Creature

These works both explore moral corruption + importance of justice for all

explore moral corruption + importance of justice for all 3. Mary Wollstonecraft (mother) • Wrote A

3. Mary Wollstonecraft (mother)

Wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: one of earliest written records of feminist philosophy, would have influenced Mary’s ideas

Feminist ideas in Frankenstein: Elizabeth = archetypal perfect woman – beautiful, demure, possession of man – but she is destroyed in the end -> ‘perfect woman’ = unattainable, unrealistic

end -> ‘perfect woman’ = unattainable, unrealistic 4. Romantic Poets Lord Byron + Percy Bysshe Shelley

4. Romantic Poets Lord Byron + Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mary influenced by ideas on nature of life + power of nature

Man cannot control nature – Byron’s poem “Apostrophe to the Ocean”: “man marks the earth with ruin- his control stops with the shore” (Byron-12-13)

Nature is God/supernatural/above humans – in Percy Shelley’s poem “Ode to the West Wind”: “Angels of rain and lighting” (Shelley-

18)

Frank’s creature is unnatural b/c man not supposed to control nature + play God

Works Cited:

Frankenstein. Mary Shelley Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2016.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 04 June 2016.

Romantic Circles. Wollstonecraft Shelley, Mary. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2016.

Shelley. Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 04 June 2016.