In Frankincense Mary Shelley wrote Frankincense during an era in which women were fighting for a voice in life and society. Shelley reflected feminism from her personal life in this renowned gothic novel. The female characters of the novel were merely props and accents to the male characters of the novel. They made minimal contributions in the plot. The male characters viewed females as possessions and caretakers for their house and children. The roles of female characters in the novel directly correlate with the typical roles of females in Shelley time.
The strong feminism in the novel monstrance reflections of Shelley life, the petty belief that males are superior to females, and the poor expectations of females in history. Mary Shelley was the daughter of a feminist writer that is remembered in history today. Though Mary had a strong feminist Influence, she was raised without a female role model after the death of her mother during Selfless birth. Frankincense lacks the strong female presence Shelley mother left in history. This may symbolize resentment Shelley had for her mother’s death and her absence in Shell’s life.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
In Katharine Swan’s essay titled ‘Feminism and Education in Mary Shelley Frankincense’, she states, “Less than thirty years later, her daughter, Mary Shelley, would write a novel that tells the story of a monster and his creator, which appears to contradict her mother’s work with its variety of weak female characters. ” Each female character resembles the typical female of Shelley time. The female characters in the novel are described with beauty, rather than personality and accomplishment. In the novel a female character was described as such: “She appeared of a different stock.
The four others were dark-eyed, hardy little vagrants; this child was thin, and very fair. Her hair was the brightest living gold and. Despite the poverty of her clothing, seemed to set a crown of distinction on her head” (Shelley 30). The instinctive judgment of the female character was appearance. Her looks were focused on without a consideration of any other factors such as behavior and speech_ As the novel continues, this behavior reoccurs as something natural, instinct. Women of Shelley life were generally Judged on appearance and performance of expected tasks.
Women were not given many decisions and did not usually have many chances of sharing their opinions and thoughts. Later in the novel, a females rights were expressed by a character saying, “The prospect of marrying a Christian, and remaining In a country where women were allowed to take a rank In society, was enchanting to her” (Shelley 123). This quote shows the few privileges women expected to receive. All of the female characters of the novel lack a voice, much like the women Shelley was surrounded with In growth. As expressed previously, women of Frankincense were weak.
The relationships between the male and female characters of the novel insinuated males are superior to females. The female characters of the novel play Into this ancient, sexist view of he two genders. A critic said, ” Elizabeth is used as a sort of ruler to measure the relationship between Victor and his monster. ” This is true of most of the female known gender schema is that females are assumed to be weaker and more emotional than males. The novel is full of female emotions, which ultimately add to the dramatics of the story.
An excerpt from the novel, “She longed to bid me hasten my return, -a thousand conflicting emotions rendered her mute as she bade me a tearful silent farewell” (Shelley 1 53), emphasizes the expected overly, emotional aspect of the male characters. The emotions of Elizabeth in that excerpt add to the significance of the trip. The emotions of female characters contribute to events in the novel in other ways as well. The views and feelings male characters have upon some of the female characters throughout the novel prove the female characters to be fragile and dependent.
After the strike of a tragic illness a character says, “His daughter attended him with the greatest tenderness; but she saw with despair that their little fund was rapidly decreasing and that there as no other prospect of support” (Shelley 28). The female from this quote is seen and pitied by a male character. She does not express strength or understanding of what is going on around her. She appears sad and continues with the duties that are expected of her. Many of the female characters in the novel did not even bother to fight for a voice or seek improvement.
The female characters were primarily used as rulers to measure relationships with major characters and major male characters. As assumed from reading the above, the female characters of the novel were not treated as equals. In an essay Katharine Swan states, “In the union of the sexes, each like contributions to the common end though in different ways… One should be strong and active, the other weak and passive; one must necessarily have both the power and the will, it is sufficient for the other to offer little resistance. This demonstrates the clear difference between the males and females of the novel. The female characters were either placed on a pedestal as possessions or tending to expected chores. In the beginning of the novel, a female takes care of an ill loved one. It was assumed that she would be the caretaker because that is the typical female ole of female in the family. After a death of a family member, a character says, “She indeed veiled her grief, and strove to act the comforter to us all” (Shelley 41). A female character was expected to mourn, but also expected to care for the others in the family.
In some instances, a female was treated as a possession and was placed above many other things. The relationship between a male character and female character is shown in the text: “There was a show of gratitude and worship in his attachment to my mother, differing wholly from the donating fondness of age, for it as inspired by reverence for her virtues, and a desire to be the means of, in some degree, recompensing her for sorrows she had endured, but which gave inexpressible grace to his behavior to her.
Everything was made to yield to her wishes and her convenience” (Shelley 29). Though this may sound pleasant, there still is not an offer of equality. Throughout the entire the novel, women were not in any way close to being equal to males. Mary Shelley was able to incorporate experiences in her life as well as express the aged belief that males are the dominant sex and little was to be expected of women n her novel Frankincense. The novel allows readers to gain insight of Shelley life and personal views of feminism.
In addition, readers will have a better time. The frail use of female characters in the novel shows the personae of the strong male characters. Females are portrayed as emotional victims by many of the male characters. The female characters of the novel had similar roles and were treated relatively the same, though none were treated equally to the opposite sex. The feminism in Frankincense consumes the plot and highlights personal feelings of Shelley.