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Mary Shelley

Literature and Modern Media

Mrs. Hohl
Westminster High School
Edward Pluma
April 29, 2015

1. Introduction

Historical context

Political events

Social changes

Other writers

2. Body Paragraph - Early life

- When she was born
- Family
- Education
3. Body Paragraph - Literary Style
- Style
- Theme
- Influences
4. Body Paragraph - Major Works
- Critic's opinion
- Chosen work
- Represent author
5. Conclusion
- Death
- Influences
- British literature
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Mary Shelley was a well known author in the nineteenth century and is still known for
her novel Frankenstein. During the time when she began to write this novel romanticism was
very popular. Shelley would describe her characters as if they were in the same time period as
she was in the nineteenth century; the only difference was how they acted towards the time

period situations than normal people would at the time. In the nineteenth century women were
seen as just slave to men, they were weak and useless for anything else. Shelley shows the
women society in the novel with justine innocents, she makes her seem as an innocent, weak,
and poor women. Which in the nineteenth centuries, this was how all women were or at least
were seen by everybody else. Not only were women discriminated during the nineteenth century
but also talked about the construction of the social enlightenment during the 19th century
civilization. Mary shelley uses Victors character to show the same thing that was going on during
the time in her novel Frankenstein. Victor tries to show everybody what science can do for us
and we should embrace science. Shelley uses victor in her novel to enlighten people towards the
birth of science. When shelley wrote her great novel that talked about how it was during that
period, she inspired other authors to do the same. Other writers like Thomas Carlyle, Charles
Dickens, and Elizabeth Gaskell took the same idea that Mary had and wrote it down in there own
novels. Thomas Carlyle used the the novel to help him write his novel The French Revolution
(1837), in this novel he talked about how many workers were there during the time and how their
political demand was increasing. Charles Dickens also got the image of the monster by reading
Thomas Carlyle novel. Elizabeth Gaskell novel Mary Barton uses the image of the monster

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throughout the story. The novel is about an industrial interest in the growing city of manchester.
She use Frankenstein as an example in her novel when she wrote:The actions of the uneducated
seem to me typified in those of Frankenstein, that monster of many human qualities, ungifted
with a soul or a knowledge of the difference between good and evil (Mary Barton, chapter 15).

The british author Mary Shelley was born on August 30, 1797 in London, England. Mary
Shelley father was William Godwin who was a philosopher and political writer, her mother on
the other hand was a famed feminist Mary Wollstonecraft who wrote The Vindication of the
rights of Women. Unfortunately for Mary she never got to know her mother, who had past away
shortly after giving birth to her. Shelley lived with her father and her older half sister Fanny
Imlay, daughter of Wollstonecraft who had an affair with a soldier. Soon after William got
married with Mary Jane Clairmont in 1801. Clairmont had two children of her own and later on
had a son with William. Shelley never got along with her stepmother because of the way she
would treat her, she wouldnt allow Shelley to go to school. Although Shelley didnt go to
school, she would learn from all the books in her dads library. Shelley would go read in her
mothers grave and would daydream to get away from her house. During Shelley childhood they
would get visitors from everywhere including Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William
Wordsworth. Mary first published a poem with the help of his father in 1807, the poem was
called Mounseer Nongtongpaw. Later on in 1812 mary left to Scotland where she found a
domestic tranquility she didnt know about. After 2 year had past Shelley began a relationship
with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was a great student of Godwin. Although he was still married
to his first wife, he ran off to England with Mary and her step-sister Jane. They went to Europe

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for a while and were in financial problems; soon they had lost their first child in 1815. After that
summer Mary and Percy went to Switzerland to work reading horror stories for people in the
library. During this time Shelley got the idea to write her first famous novel Frankenstein and
the Modern Prometheus. Later on that year Fanny, Marys stepsister, and percys wife
committed suicide. Soon after all this had occurred Mary and Percy got married in December,

1816. Shelley published her novel on their escape to Europe in 1817 called History of a Six
Weeks Tour. Mary had 5 children which only one was able to live till his adulthood, Percy
Florence, he was born in 1819. Mary Shelley later on lost his husband when he died drowning.
She soon became a widow at the age of 24 and published a couple of more novels to provide for
herself and her son. Later on she passed on February 1, 1851 to brain cancer at the age of 53.
The literary style Shelley would use when she wrote her novels was more than one, she
would have a unique writing skill most writers didnt have. Shelley mostly used romanticism and
gothicism when writing her novel. Her writing style was seen as beautiful, persuasive, and
expressive language. When writing her novel Frankenstein shelley starts off with the scientist
reading the letter in the present at the time beginning to tell his story of the monster he created.
Throughout the story she shows different kinds of emotions each character has which give the
readers an idea of how each character felt toward the idea of science. This help explain the theme
of the story and what shelley was trying to make us, the readers, see the perspective of it. Marys
theme throughout the story of Frankenstein is more than one it was good vs evil, the invasion of
technology into the modern life, the treatment of uneducated, and the power of nature. In good vs
evil is an example of the monster as good and the citizens as evil; not knowing how the monster
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actually is but seeing him from the outside they judge him and fear him thinking he will harm
them all. The invasion of technology into the modern life is also used by how victor tries to
convince people that science isnt a bad thing, he learns everything there is to know about
science which gave him the idea to create his monster. When his creation was complete he
believed this would be a chance to show people the power of what science can do. Treatment of
the uneducated was how the monster was not knowing what he was created for and what was the
point of living. The monster would try to figure himself out throughout the story as to how

people were and acted so he could try to see if he would be able to the same. All the monster
wanted was to figure himself out and to be a human just like everybody else. Finally in the
power of nature what shelley does to show this in her novel is great. Shelley use nature in an
unnatural world so that humanity can find themselves back to man there loss of their moral fiber.
The power nature has is told in the story when victor goes off to different places to seek solitude.
Nature is a big theme in this story because victor uses nature to bring his creation to life. A big
part of her novel Frankenstein is the use of nature.
During the time Mary published her novel Frankenstein people believed it was her story
and what shes been threw with her family. Shelley would get many modern critics, but the ones
she would get the most of were the feminist ones. Feminist critics questions representation of the
novel and the role women had in literature devices as well as the use of their language. They
believed women had different view of the world compared to man which made them write and
read differently. The type of critics that view the gender writing are Anglo-Americans. Another
kind of critic were the french critics, they focus more on the type of writing and language an

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author has. This represented Mary because she was a women who became famous because of her
writing at the time but during that time people were seen as weak and useless. This made Mary
looked past those kind of people who believed that women couldnt do anything else but be
slaves for man and proved them wrong. By publishing a novel so good and written by a women
at the age of 19 made the public see that there are women who can do more than expected. The
public saw this as an achievement for women who where discriminated at the time Marys
novels were published.

In conclusion, Mary Shelley had a great career writing novels and poetry, but she is well
known for her novel Frankenstein. Mary was a type of women who never agreed with the
society at the time. Even tho the critics were always judging her work she still wrote what she
wanted. After her death on February 1, 1851 by brain cancer, she left her legacy in her books
especially Frankenstein. Many authors were influenced by Mary and wrote their own novels
using the same literary devices Mary used in Frankenstein. Shelleys main influences were: her
father William Godwin, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Jean-Jacques
Rousseau, and John Milton. Today there are some authors that still use romanticism and
gothicism just like Mary Shelley used in her novels.

Work Cited
"Frankenstein Commentary." Frankenstein Commentary. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
"Mary Shelley - Biography." Mary Shelley. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2015.
"Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 01 May 2015.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Diana Gibson. Frankenstein. Madrid, Espana: Edimat Libros,
2000. Print.