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Explore Mary Shelley's attitude to Monstrosity in 'Frankenstein' through a comparison of the depiction of the Monster and Victor

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GCSE ENGLISH 2002-2003 PRE-TWENTIETH CENTURY PROSE Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley is an example of a Gothic Horror fictional novel and was first published in 1818. Gothic Horror was a type of romantic fiction that predominated in English literature from the late eighteenth century to the pre-twentieth century. The setting was usually in ruined Gothic castles or in other secluded places, which could be built upon to create Gothic Horror. Gothic Horror fiction novels were emphasized by mystery and horror and were filled with many forms of monstrosity and ghostliness. The context of Mary Shelley's novel was written in an era when Gothic Horror was read widely and was highly popular, especially amongst women. During this time, discussing Gothic Horror novels was a common past time amongst women of high society. This allowed the discussions and beliefs of horror to escalate and created popularity that made the female readers want to read this particular type of genre. This genre was also linked together with mystery novels, which were also highly popular. Writers realised that mystery and horror were two very important elements that made Gothic Horror fiction novels popular for their readers. Mary Shelley was on holiday and the idea of this story was developed when she and others were gathered together improvising on the subject of Ghost Stories. When she arrived back home to London she used this idea to develop an extraordinary Gothic Horror novel, which explained monstrosity in depth. This story allows us - the readers, to take into account how a character's 'monstrosity' can be discriminated against. This novel is most likely to be influenced by the fact that Mary Shelley's parents were radicals who challenged society by writing books regarding the subject of feminist rights. Women didn't have many rights as in decision-making so Mary Shelley's novel could have made women believe that they had rights to put forward their ideas and beliefs. ...read more.


that Victor assumes himself. 'Her hair was the brightest living gold, and despite the poverty of her clothing, seemed to set a crown of distinction on her head'. This shows that Victor can look past the poverty and notices the true beauty of the child, although he cannot look past the appearance of his 'monstrous' creation - 'Devil, ......be gone vile insect! Or rather, stay, that I may trample you to death'. This demonstrates Victor's detestation against his monster's appearance. We are also able to notice that Victor is very tenacious towards his 'project'. We find that Victor is somewhat becoming obsessive in his desire to put together his construction and confined himself to 'unusual' environments - 'In a solitary chamber'. Victor '...Pursued nature to her hiding-places'. Victor began to use dead human body parts to accumulate his creation. When Victor is at University he becomes 'acquainted with the science of anatomy' which gives us the impression that he is very knowledgeable. As anatomy studies the human body, Victor's interest in creating his own 'monster' expands and so does his eagerness. Victor pursues this idea by dissecting dead body parts, this sicken the reader, as his whole approach is eerie and abnormal. As Victor searches through charnel houses for bones and dead bodies we begin to become uneasy regarding Victor's unusual actions. His total approach to this study is unorthodox; we cannot understand his motives and the effect that this has on our impression is that we become aware of how uncharacteristic this is of Victor. From this point we are under the impression that Victor is intelligent and sophisticated, he would not involve When he finally manages to create the monster we are unable to understand his feelings towards him. As soon as the 'monster' awakens Victor leaves the room in absolute horror. '...one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped, and rushed downstairs'. ...read more.


This action taken by Victor is heartless and cold. If he were to accept the 'monster' then it would show greatness, as he was able to look beyond his 'monstrous' looks. We are able to come to a decision regarding who we think are the overall 'monster's within this novel. The characters have been able to put forward their feelings regarding the situation. We can only claim that they are 'monster's for their appearance or the attitude towards the deformed. Victor can be a 'monster' for his feelings towards his creation. When the monster awakens, Victor shows no acceptance whatsoever. This can lead us to believe that the monstrosity within Victor is due to his views and actions. Whereas the 'monster' is made out to be the 'monstrosity' within the novel. This is because 'monsters' are intended to be uncanny and inexplicable, just because of their physical appearance. As we learn that the 'monster' is good and kind within him, this makes us bewildered to understand why Victor cannot find it within his heart to accept his creation. They can both be symbolised as monsters. Victor for his attitude and thoughts towards the monster. The 'monster' for his appearance and actions taken to resolve the acceptance of his creator, Victor. Monstrosity can be applied in many ways, by appearance, which we have learnt from Victor's creation, or by the feelings which people feel 'inside' as we have found from Victor's callous judgments regarding the 'monster'. Monstrosity can be found within people, about the way they think and discriminate against others. The most common monstrosity is by appearance, which is somewhat unjust towards the person to whom it is targeted towards. Frankenstein is not just a story about discrimination and prejudices, it also tells us how and what people are classified for: - appearance or inner feelings that have cause to upset. The morals today regarding monstrosity are that if something seems 'monstrous' towards us, the feelings against that monstrosity is the monstrous thing of all. - 1 - ...read more.

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