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Alina,Olivia,Christina22

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Feminisminthe19
century(general)

Womenwereexpectedtoliveathomedoingchoressuchascooking,cleaning,andchildrearing.Theywerenotexpectedtosocialize
duringfreetime,limitingtheiractivitiessignificantly.
Womenweregenerallynoteducatedaseducatingwomenwasseenassubversiveapossibleperversionofthecorrectsocialorder.
Women(whowerenotconsideredpersonsunderthelaw)werenotallowedtovoteandwereboundtotheirhusbandsundercommon
law.Theywereconsideredtooemotionaltomakeinformeddecisions,andbecausethegovernmentweresaidtodealwiththenavy,army,
andotherempires,theirinputwasnotneededbecausethesedecisionswereseentoonlyaffectmen.
Femalesrarelyruledexceptionsinpreviouscenturieswereduetoaccidentsinthebirthanddeathofmaleheirs.
Womenweregenerallyshutoutofthepublicsphereofsocietyunlesstheywereaccompanyingtheirhusbandsorfathers.
th
The19
centurywasthestartofwomentakingonseriousrolesinabolitionmovements:
Thetemperancemovementwaslargelydrivenbylowerandmiddleclasswomen,whowereupsetwiththeamountoftimeandmoney
menoftenspentonalcohol.
th
Radicalfeministsinthe19
centuryinsistedonawomansrighttoexercisecontroloverherbody,includingtherighttoremainsingle,to
pursueindependentsexualrelations,andtobearchildrenoutsideofmarriage.

FeminisminMaryShelleyslife

MaryWollstonecraft,Marysmother,wasahugeadvocateofgreaterequalityforwomensomesayshesparkedthefeministmovement.

PublishedAVindicationoftheRightsofWomen(1792)whichgreatlyinfluencedthefeministmovement.Shearguedthattheinequalitiesthat
markedwomenslivescouldbecorrectedbyequalaccesstoeducation,andthatwomenwerenotinferiortomen.
HerfatherexposedMarytohermotherswritingsandfeministidealsatanearlyage,andthisinfluencedherlife.Forexample,itledhertoliveby
anearlyfreelovephilosophyatseventeen,andpursueanopenmarriagewithhusbandPercyShelley.

WhenwritingFrankenstein,Marywastheonlyonewhotookthecompetitionseriously.ShemostlikelywantedtoimpressPercyandLordByron
withherwritingskills,astheywouldhavefeltshewasinferiortothem.

MaryalsohadtopublishFrankensteinunderamalepseudonym,sothatherbookcouldbecomeknown.
Depicted:MaryShelleyin1840.

Reflectionof19thcenturyfeminisminFrankenstein

WomenareportrayedintwowaysinFrankenstein
Womeninthetext:

Elizabeth
ConsideredanobjecttoVictor.VictorsparentsadoptherasaplaymateforVictor.Victordoesnotseeherasapersonoranequalbutratheraprettythinghecandowith
whathewants(28).
th
Portrayedasaperfectwomenwithnoflawsthepersonificationoftheperfect19
centurywomanasdeemedbysocietyisreflectedinElizabethscharacter.Elizabethis
flatanddepthlessmoreofanarchetypethanacharacter.
Elizabethreflectshowwomenareviewedintheearly19thcenturyasElizabeth,throughoutthenovel,isquitehelplesssurroundingwhatishappeningwiththemonsterand
spendsmostofhertimewaitingforthereturnofVictor(53).
Thefemalecreature

WhenVictoriscreatingthefemalemonster,heeventuallydecidestodestroyherbecauseheisafraidthatshewillnotchoosetolikethemalemonster(142).Thiswould
makethemonsterevenmoreupsetfromwhichonecanconcludefemaleautonomyseemstobeathreattoVictor.

Victorcreatesthemalecreature,thencreatesanddestroysthefemalecreature.Theabsenceofafemalecreaturebecomesthesourceofconflictinthenovel.
Themonstrousattitudesexhibitedbythemonsterafterthefemalemonsteriskilledrepresentshowwomenplayanimportantroleinfamilyandinsociety.

Theabsenceofwomen:

TheabsenceofthefemalemonsterisveryimportanttotheplotasthatiswhatmakesthemonsterviciousandleadshimtokillElizabethandmakeVictormiserable.
ShelleysnovelcritiquesFrankensteinsdecisiontocreateamasculinemodeofreproduction.
ThepassivecharacteristicsofthesecharactersemphasizethedestructiveandobsessivebehaviourofFrankensteinandhismonster.
Thisnovelisbasedaroundtheideathatmenarenotperfectbeingsandaresubjecttoerrorandmistakes.Theimportanceofthepresenceofthefemalecharactersinthe
novelrepresentshowwomenarethebackboneofsocietyduringthistimeperiod.
Thoughwomeninthiserawereoftenseenaspowerlessandsubmissive,andalthoughthefemalecharactersinthenovelseemtohavefewlinesandarepassive,their
presenceorlackthereof,isindirectlytheveryfoundationoftheplot.
Whatdrivesthemonstertoanger,sadness,andtocommithisviolentactsisduetotheabsenceofthecreationofthefemalemonsterbyVictor.Themonsterreactswiththe
ultimateformofrevengebymurderingElizabeth.
FromthiswecanconcludethatwomenseemtobetheultimatecompanionforVictorandthemonster.

WorksCited

19thCenturyPaintingsWomen.N.p.,n.d.Web.6June2016.

Abruzzese,Jaclyn,AllisonBrayne,JulieShastri,andRachelSakofsky.FromWollstonecrafttoMill:WhatBritishandEuropeanIdeasandSocialMovementsInfluencedtheEmergenceofFeminisminthe
AtlanticWorld,17921869?Ed.KathrynSklar.N.p.,2002.Web.31May2016.

FRANKENSTEIN.
Sparknotes
.N.p.,n.d.Web.31May2016.

Mills,GraceSaxon."AgainstWomenSuffrage."
ArgumentsagainstWomen'sSuffrage
.N.p.,n.d.Web.8June2016.

Sailus,Christopher.Feminisminthe19thCentury:Women'sRights,Roles,andLimits.
Study.com
.N.p.,n.d.Web.31May2016.

TheRealStoryofFrankenstein'sMonster
.Prod.RobertWinston.Perf.LucyDavenport,DavidSchofield,CliveMerrison,OliverChris.2014.Television.
Youtube
.5May2014.Web.27May2016.

Williams,DeborahLindsay.MonstrosityandFeminisminFrankenstein.
ELECTRASTREET
.N.p.,Nov.2014.Web.31May2016.

WomenInFrankenstein.
English401AdvancedComposition
.N.p.,n.d.Web.31May2016.