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Feminism in Frankenstein
One of the most famous classic novels in English literature is Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelly, which was published on January 1, 1818. Most people who have read her novel thought it was simply about a mad scientist who was obsessed with creating life using electricity, but this is simply not the case. Her novel has many themes, and one of them is feminism.
Mary Shelley included commentary about women’s situation back in the 1800s in her novel Frankenstein. By just reading the characters and their roles, it is already obvious that in the situation of women in her society, women were only allowed to be a wife and a mother. Aside from that, the first time that Mary Shelley published her novel, she didn’t write her name on the book, which made people think that it was her husband who wrote the novel. The reason why she didn’t want her name to be on the book was that she was surrounded by a famous male novelist, and she was also suffering from deep anxiety at that time.
Since Mary Shelley is a female author, she applies unique treatment to the female characters in her novel. She also wrote some statements on stereotypes in her book about the common situation of the women in her society back in the 1800s. One example of this is the jobs of the male and female characters written on their role descriptions. The male characters such as Victor and his brother were both scientists and could even travel to places like the North Pole and Europe. This same treatment is not the same for women in the novel, such as Mrs. Frankenstein, who had the role as a mother, Elizabeth Lavenza, who was entrusted with the duty of a mother and a wife since Mrs. Frankenstein died in the early part of the book, and Justine Moritz, who was in charge of the households.
Another statement in the novel that describes another common situation of the women in her society was the line and quote, “Elizabeth approved of the reasons of my departure, and only regretted that she had not the same opportunities of enlarging her experience, and cultivating her understanding.” This statement from her novel described that the women in her society didn’t have the right to work outside the house like what men could do, which prevents women from expanding their experience and knowledge.
Therefore, the theme of feminism in the novel Frankenstein is obvious. Mary Shelley experienced and saw the situation of women in her society back in her time and decided to write it in her novel to give women a glimpse of their situation and how their society treats women. Mary Shelley herself experienced the same emotions and treatment as what she wrote in her novel, as she was the only female novelist and was surrounded by great male novelists, including her husband.