Byrd 1Reanna ByrdClineEnglish 10212 October 2011 Frankenstein The book “Frankenstein” can have many different meanings behind it. Within thereaders mind they may interpret it in any way they wish to. This book leaves the meaning veryopen and imaginable. There is mystery, drama, suspense, and even romance, all tied up in thisbook. What was the author thinking and longing to portray? In my own mind, this book openedup the world ofrelationships- spouses, siblings, and especially parent - child relationships. Theauthor portrays the many different stages in a relationship from the very beginning, todisagreements, to having an unconditional love. From the very start of the book a relationship is portrayed between siblings. There is alove like none ever known unless you have a sibling. Shelley writes of this love as if shecompletely understands the importance of having this relationship. One of the characters writesto his sister, “I love you very tenderly. Remember me with affection, should you never hearfrom me again” (Shelley 12). This makes me wonder if Shelley was expressing a relationshipwith a close friend or sibling. The love exudes through the words that are written. Shelley knewwhat kind of love she was talking about- a love that can only come from the heart and is so pure.In reading her descriptions I know she has expressed this kind of love or maybe she wishes she
Byrd 2could have, but was not fast enough. I saw in reading Ellen Moers analysis that there could havebeen more meaning behind the sibling relationship. “Mary‟s half-sister, committed suicide…”(Moers 221). We see here, that there is a relationship that has really stirred up feelings whetherhurt, anger, or pure sorrow. Shelley also portrays a relationship between the main character, Victor, and his mother.The character is nurturing, loving, and affectionate, just as you would depict the perfect mother.Death takes her away from the natural world and it is very upsetting for the family. Throughdeath her depiction stays true, “She died calmly; and her countenance expressed affection evenin death”(Shelley 25). Shelley surely must have felt a loss in her heart- one only a mother andchild could experience. She has really felt the lonesome pain of death. In Ellen Moers analysisshe found a journal entry that simply said „“Find my baby dead. A miserable day”‟(Moers 221).A love and connection between mother and child is unexplainable. The author is showing therelationship, and that this maybe one of the strongest relationships anyone could ever have. Thevery bond of having a small baby developing and growing inside of you is one no one else willever experience with your child. There is a strong tie that makes this relationship mean so muchmore. Shelley is building up the story and her meaning by laying out the foundation of thevarious relationships throughout the book. Victor is so absorbed in his relationships. Shelley paints a picture of a man that trulyvalues the good relationships in his life. Elizabeth is a friend from childhood that becomes somuch more to him than a friend. He loves her with a love close to how he loved his mother, butnothing could ever be quite the same. Through Shelley‟s writing you can see that at any momentyou many encounter a completely new relationship with someone. Whether you may have
Byrd 3known someone from the past or if you have met someone for the first time, a relationshipdevelops from acquaintance, to friend, and even further if desired. Victor‟s friend Henry andhim, have a different kind of a relationship. It is not just a friendship but more of a brotherlyrelationship. They are overjoyed to see each other but Henry is also concerned for Victor,showing him true, relentless love. The dynamic between the two of them would depict a siblingslove just as the man writing letters to his sister at the beginning of the book. “She provides anunusual thickening of the background of the tale with familial fact and fantasy…” (Moers 224). Shelley writes of the main character creating life. In her own life she ends up havingchildren although most of them die. There is so much sorrow and it is portrayed through herwritings. As she writes of this monster that is created,Victor brings him to life, but all of asudden sees reality and becomes frightened. I wonder if this is how Shelley felt when she waspregnant. Her body amazingly created life. Just like most mothers, she may have beenoverwhelmed at first with thoughts of confusion. With the death of her babies soon after, didthis frighten her more? She lost all but one of her children. Did she feel that there was anunderlying cause of the death of her babies? When you are pregnant, from the very moment ofimplantation, a relationship is started. Were the events of her pregnanciesand the death of manyof her babies causing these feelings about life and death to become so distorted? “Death andbirth were thus as hideously mixed in the life of Mary Shelley as in Frankenstein‟s „“workshopof filthy creation”‟ (Moers 221). Death begins to plague the main character. His brother was brutally murdered and Victorfears that it could have been the monster he created that killed him. Victor blames himself forwhat has happened. Was Shelley blaming herself for the death of her babies? Is there somethingmore she could have done? The pain she was going through probably brought up many
Byrd 4questions. All this comes back to her book being about relationships and one in particular,parent-child relationships. “But more than mundane is Mary Shelley‟s concern with theemotions surrounding the parent-child and child-parent relationships”(Moers 224). Victor wassomewhat a parent and even the mother in some aspects. He had created this creature just as amother‟s body creates a baby. From every skin cell to every hair, Victor, felt and saw theprogress of growth and completion in his creation. Victor then abandons this creature, just asmany children are handled. He later feels the responsibility of the deaths around him because ofthis. Justine is put to death for the murder of Victors brother- though thought innocent. Victornow feels the pain from his brother‟s and Justine (a close family friend‟s) death. He evencontemplates suicide. Shelley must have been at her end here. Was she so lost, that taking herown life would make things better? Shelley wrote this book as an outing, expressing herthoughts and feelings in a fictional way. Shelley tells of Victor meeting his creation. The monster shares of how unwelcome he isin society. The life that Shelley lived was a hard one and she knew what it felt like to bedifferent. Shelley‟s father insisted that she follow her father‟s liberal theories. She was expectedto achieve more. She would have to feel the pressure to fit in. Shelley‟s feelings werecompletely open as she was writing about the monster and his desire for someone to love him forwho he is. She was striving to have a relationship with anyone who would accept her. She musthave felt that she was constantly being measured up but never loved. Why couldn‟t her fatherjust enjoy who she is as an individual instead of expecting more from her? When she got
Byrd 5pregnant, with a married man‟s child, you can only imagine how the rest of the world looked ather. Judgmental eyes probably made the way through the couple‟s seemingly unbreakable love. The monster begins to realize how different he is than anyone else. He cannot speak thelanguage, he looks unpleasing to the eyes, and he has no companionship. Shelley seemed to bespeaking about yet again relationships. Perhaps she was so lonely and the effects of her tragiclife, she began to see how empty she was. Mary lost her mom when she was only days old. Herfather, though she loved him very much, had high standards for her and she really did not carefor her step mother. Shelley lost her step-sister through suicide as well. She married a man sheloved but her father disapproved. They had four children and out of the four only one survived.If anyone had a life like this they would have a hard time coping. Shelley cherished therelationships she had. She desired only to be accepted and love. In a conversation that Frankenstein‟s creature has with him, he asks Victor to make him amate that he can share life with. Shelley sees the importance of companionship and howrelationships impact our lives. With the sorrow that she has had in her life she sees how a matewould be great to have around. A spouse is someone you share everything with. Your dreams,your passions, your hardships a spouse is someone who hears it all. How could you live withouta person to be able to confide in. There is an emptiness inside, and through the characters sheexpresses this. A longing for a mate and children may seem like it would fill the emptiness, butwill it? Victor‟s precious Elizabeth is his joy. Through everything, even the sorrow, he keeps hisheart focused on Elizabeth and the hope that they will marry. There is nothing more he wants inlife than to be with his love. Shelley shows yet again that in love the emptiness disappears. She
Byrd 6speaks as if this love is pure and true. The day of their wedding, after they settle in for the night,Victor finds his beautiful bride dead. The pain Shelley portrayed in this part of the book wassurreal. She must have felt the sting of death in her own life to be able to convey this in such away. Come to find out, only a few years after the book, Mary Shelley herself lost her husband.How would she cope with this? A loss so personal as a spouse would be hard to deal with and inher book she shows the grief Victor went through. Victor‟s precious friend Henry is found dead and Victor is accused of the murder.Through all the things that happened in Shelley‟s life, we know that she struggled with pressureto do the best and achieve the best she could. Did she feel somewhat responsible for the peoplearound her. She lost many family members in physical death, but maybe she also experiencedfriends and family in an emotional death or depression. Was Shelley herself suffering fromdepression? The book Frankenstein somewhat reminds me of the book of Job in the Bible. Victors‟life is a picture of Job. Job lost everything he had. He lost his livestock, money, and even hisfamily. There is only one thing Job had and that was God. Job stayed strong and continued toserve God, even through his trials. Victor lost many relationships and that was his everything.Instead of lying in a corner to die, he lived out his days so that he could get revenge- stayingstrong until the end. Shelley had a hard life. She lost many things including her babies,finances, and relationships. The loved ones in her family that she cared so much about weregone. Frankenstein was written and published, but that didn‟t mean anything. The passion thatShelley had for writing meant so much more. Sitting down and brainstorming was her idea of a
Byrd 7wonderful time. With the trips she took and the life she lived, there was so much that she had toexpress through her writing. The pen and paper were her sanctuary. Shelley didn‟t need avacation, only a pen and paper. The evenings were spent under candle light. Mary expressesthrough her book the relationships she had and some that she wished she had. She felt the stingof pain, death, and depression, but shared these feelings by putting them in her book. Shelleydied at the young age of fifty-three. The doctors assumed the cause of death was a brain tumor.Her son must have been proud of her achievements. Shelley lived out her life. She married a man she truly loved, had a wonderful son whoshe cared for until death, and discovered with him in their travels. Mary lived to be able to seeher son get married to a wonderful woman whom she highly approved of. The life she lived wasas expected, filled with joy, love, and sorrow; and overall- relationships. “On the firstanniversary of Mary Shelleys death, the Shelleys opened her box-desk. Inside they found locksof her dead childrens hair, a notebook she had shared with Percy Bysshe Shelley, and a copy ofhis poem Adonaïs with one page folded round a silk parcel containing some of his ashes and theremains of his heart.”(Wikipedia.org) Works Cited- Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, The 1818 Text, Contexts, Nineteenth-century Responses, Modern Criticism. First. New York: W W Norton & Co Inc, 1996. Print. "Mary Shelley." wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 09 Oct 2011. Web. 14 Oct 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Shelley>.