The Importance Of A Mother Figure In

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The Importance Of A Mother Figure In Frankenstein Essay, Research Paper Frankenstein can be read as a tale of what happens when a man tries to create a child without a woman. It can, however, also be read as an account of a woman’s anxieties and insecurities about her own creative and reproductive capabilities. Mary Shelley, in the development and education of the monster, discusses child development and education and how the nurturing of a loving parent is extremely important in the moral development of an individual. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley examines her own fears and thoughts about pregnancy, childbirth, and child development. Pregnancy and childbirth, as well as death, was an important part of Mary Shelley’s young adult life. She had four children and a

miscarriage that almost killed her all before the age of twenty-five. Only one of her children, Percy Florence, survived to adulthood and outlived her. In June of 1816, when she had the waking nightmare which became the factor of the tale, she was only nineteen and had already had her first two children. Her first child, Clara, was born prematurely on February 22, 1815, and died on March 6 of the same year. Mary, as any woman would be, was devastated by this and took a long time to recover. Mary’s second child, William, was born on January 24, 1816. (William died of malaria June 7,1819 .) The time that Mary had the idea for the story, her first child had died and her second was only 6 months old. There is no doubt that she expected to be pregnant again and about six months

later she was. Pregnancy and childbearing was in the front of Mary’s mind at this point in her life. Frankenstein is one of the first stories that expresses the anxieties of pregnancy. Obviously male writers avoided this topic and it was considered poor taste for a woman to discuss it. Mary’s focus on the birth process allowed men to understand female fears about pregnancy and reassured women that they were not alone with their anxieties. The story expresses Mary’s deepest fears: What if my child is born deformed? Could I still love it or would I wish it were dead? What if I can’t love my child? Am I capable of raising a healthy, normal child? Will my child die? Could I wish my own child to die? Will my child kill me in childbirth? Mary was expressing her fears related to

the death of her first child, her ability to nurture, and the fact that her mother died having her. All of this is expressed in Victor Frankenstein’s complete failure in parenting. For approximately nine months Victor Frankenstein labored on the creation of his “child”. Finally, he witnesses the “birth”: “I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.” (Frankenstein, p.51). Instead of reaching out to his child, Victor rushes out of the room, disgusted by the abnormality of his creation. When the creature follows after him, Victor runs away in horror completely abandoning his child. While creating his child, Victor never considered whether this creature would even want to exist. He also didn’t take

enough care with the creature’s appearance. He could not take the time to make small parts so he created a being of gigantic size. Victor never considered how such a creature would be able to exist with human beings. He did not take time with the features either and created a being with a horrifying appearance. Unable to accept his creation, Victor abandons his “child” and all parental responsibility. He even wishes that his “child” were dead. “I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed” (Frankenstein, p.87) From the moment of the creature’s birth, Victor thought of it as a demon and abused it. Frankenstein represents the classic case of an abused and neglected child growing up