The Monster (Boris Karloff in the 1931 classic)
a Romantic Hero, an irresponsible
God's, man's or woman's?
critical of male scientist
or complied with patriarchal division of labor?
Frankenstein and his bride (Karloff and Elsa Lanchester
in James Whale's 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein)
Topic for discussion:
Mary Shelley's life and the novel- Cf.
Mary Shelley Resources
a broader topic: artificial reproduction of human life or human identity
1. the on-line Making
of the Monster project *Please leave your messages.
2. contemporary Frankenstein films--the theme of alien as our
monstrous self? the theme of outcase
3. contemporary cyborg films--e.g. Blade Runner,
Gender stratification in the novel: parallel differentiation
2. Frankenstein's Scientific pursuit, Nature gendered as female--e.g.
textbook p. 37-; 40
public (masculine) power
private (feminine) afection
|Robert Walton, --adventurer
Victor Frankenstein's father
differences between Frankenstein, Clerval and Elizabeth
|women as angels
Mme. Saville-listener, waiting
Caroline Beaufort--rescued victim, self-sacrifice
Elizabeth--p. 34, 35; "mine only" 36
women as alien
Jusine Moritz--executed for W. Frankenstein's death
"I almost began to think that I was the monster that
he said I was."
Safie-"the Arabian"- her independence makes her different
not only from Muslim women but also from the other Christian women we see
in the novel.
a Faust/Prometheus figure, galvanism 41
science as a male pursuit: "As the feminist historians
of science, Carolyn Merchant and Evelyn Fox Keller, have pointed out, in
the words of male scientists from Bacon to DNA specialists, the history
of science is the history of male study of 'female' nature, and erotic
and patriarchal assumption about controlling women inform science."
Mellor, Anne K. "Possessing Nation: The Female in Frankenstein."
Romanticism and Feminism. 220-232.
Donawerth, Jane. Frankenstein's Daughters: Women Writing Science
Fiction. NY: Syracuse UP, 1997.
Resources on the Web:
Mary Shelley and
Frankenstein--substantial and informative; contains The Life of Mary
Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Summer of 1816 , Mary Wollstonecraft,
William Godwin, Inspiration, Literary
Sources of Frankenstein, The "Birth" of a Monster, A Critique of Science,
Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley and Frankenstein Sites.
Shelley's Frankenstein--a useful gateway with links to relevant sites
and a collection of film stills.
Mary Shelley Resources