The term Gothic fiction refers to a style of writing that is characterized by elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom, as well as romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and very high emotion. These emotions can include fear and suspense. In this paper, I will be discussing the writer and works of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. According to the definition of gothic fiction, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein supports the characterized elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom as well as romantic elements such as nature and very high emotion. “In 1801, when little Mary was four, Godwin remarried. The only memories of her stepmother that Mary recorded are bad ones. Godwin's second wife, Mary Jane Clairmont, brought her own children, Charles and Jane, into the family, and young Mary felt displaced. A son, William, born in 1803, furthered the girl's sense of alienation, and she felt driven to compete, not only with the other children but also with the second Mrs. Godwin, for her father's affection”.
Victor Frankenstein’s monster that he created I believe is a representation of Mary Shelley’s life. Mary Shelley’s mother died due to complications after childbirth. Her mom was her creator, she gave carried and gave birth to her the same way that Victor Frankenstein was the monster’s creator. When Victor the creator of the monster turned his back on him and left him, he was forced to take care of himself in the world, think about small children who have limited access to anything outside the security of their home and what their parents provide for them. Mary Shelley is no different, It was like she was pushed into the world when her mother died; and then at the age of four after her father remarried she felt like an outcast because of her stepmother whom she wasn’t fond of and her two children that she bought into the marriage, to make matters worse for her they had a baby boy she never had that emotional relationship that a mother and daughter have. The difference that I see is that Shelley was an actual human child while the monster was a mental yet emotional child that never had anyone. Which shows two of the characteristics of romanticism, autobiographical ideas, and resourcefulness. Also, Mary Shelley’s book could also be a representation of her own fear of having children. Seeing as though her mother died during childbirth and the monster was rejected after being created.
Next, gothic literature is about death as I previously wrote in a discussion, and in the book, Victor has suffered a number of deaths at the hands of the creature he has created. Victor now knows that the creature is following him to see if he will uphold his promise of building him a bride, but at this point with all that the creature has done Victor is at the point where he is questioning what if the other monster turns out to be the same, or if he creates the bride to be pretty and she doesn’t want him then what will he become so angry that he continues to kill. Then that will be his fault, I get the feeling as if Victor feels like he is a slave to the creature that he created like the creature is telling him if you want me to stop killing then you will do as I say but Victor no longer wants to be controlled or will be controlled so he refuses to build him a bride. “Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have power; you believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!”
“The hour of my irresolution is past, and the period of your power arrives. Your threats cannot move me to do an act of wickedness, but they confirm mine in the determination of not to create you a companion in vice. Shall I, in cool blood, set loose upon the earth a daemon whose delight is in death and wretchedness? Begone! I am firm, and your words will only exasperate my rage.”
Mary Shelley uses gothic throughout the entire book letter four page 15 she states” We, however, lay to until the morning, fearing to encounter in the dark those large loose masses which float about after the breaking up of the ice” page 20. “As I spoke, a dark gloom spread over my listener’s countenance” Chapter four page 51.” Darkness had no effect upon my fancy, and a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm. examining and analyzing all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified in the change from life to death, and death to life, until from the midst of this darkness a sudden light broke in upon me” Not to mention later in chapter 16 with the change in the monster him being angry and wanting to seek revenge on all humanity and his creator he still decided to save the life of a little girl that was about to drown. However, he was a monster that was trying to attack the girl when all he did was save her, the guy that was with the little girl, in turn, shot him which made him think is this the thanks I get for saving her life? As you read on then see that he meets William Victor’s brother who asks the way Victor acted after seeing him he had planned on letting William go until he announced that his father is Alphonse Frankenstein which I believe fueled the fire within in and caused him to kill William as a part of his revenge on Victor. “I should not be so desolate in this peopled earth.
“Urged by this impulse, I seized on the boy as he passed and drew him towards me. As soon as he beheld my form, he placed his hands before his eyes and uttered a shrill scream; I drew his hand forcibly from his face and said, `Child, what is the meaning of this? I do not intend to hurt you; listen to me.’
“He struggled violently. `Let me go,’ he cried; `monster! Ugly wretch! You wish to eat me and tear me to pieces. You are an ogre. Let me go, or I will tell my papa.’
“`Boy, you will never see your father again; you must come with me.’
“`Hideous monster! Let me go. My papa is a syndic–he is M. Frankenstein–he will punish you. You dare not keep me.’
“`Frankenstein! you belong then to my enemy–to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.’”
Finally, I believe everything from the theme, plot, and setting of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein book is gothic and romantic from the beginning to the end of the book as Frankenstein took us on a tour of emotions and suspense throughout the book.
- Study.com, Study.com, study.com/academy/lesson/gothic-fiction-definition-characteristics-authors.html.
- “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/mary-wollstonecraft-shelley.
- “Lit2Go.” Adventure 1: 'A Scandal in Bohemia' | The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes | Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Lit2Go ETC, etc.usf.edu/lit2go/128/frankenstein-or-the-modern-prometheus/2303/chapter-13/.
- “Frankenstein Mary Shelley.” Free Culture - Chapter One: Creators (by Lawrence Lessig), www.authorama.com/frankenstein-20.html.
- “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: Frankenstein.” The Odyssey by Homer - Read Online - The Literature Page, www.literaturepage.com/read/frankenstein-145.html.