Anyone and everyone who has attempted to read great classic literature at some point in his or her life assuredly has borrowed or bought a dozen or more novels from famous past British and Irish authors. I own 50 such novels or more. To begin the Halloween season’s celebrations, I pulled out Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. To review the horror elements within the story was my aim.
The Wordsworth Classics edition I own started the book with a blatant appeal for the readers to skip the introductory novel analysis and to start the classic story. I did as told, and first read Mary Shelley’s explanation on how she dreamed about a mad scientist’s living creation. From this simple explanation did my heart reach out to her and fill with empathy and awe. Allow me to explain how modern writers can learn from Mary Shelley.
What Mary Shelley’s Story Explanation Said About Her Thoughts and Her Life
I will refrain from pouring over the explanation about how Mary Shelley dreamed up Frankenstein’s monster. Instead, I will attempt to describe what the young married woman revealed about herself in her explanation.
A proper description would include an extensive knowledge about religion, politics, and society during the late 18th – early 19th century. But I have very little knowledge right now about such history. What I can do is describe how young people, especially young writers, have very much in common with Mary Shelley.
America attempts to downplay how much religion affected past British writers in their literature and dissertations. However, religion and society norms genuinely seemed to lead Mary Shelley in her life and in her writing. For example, when in the presence of her husband and Lord Byron, she settled down to listen without speaking. Doing so provided her with much information. More information than what she and other women were accustomed to receiving.
As a young married woman, Mary Shelley struggled to keep up conversation with her husband in academical and world interests. She admitted to keeping up on her personal studies, to better converse with him, as opposed to writing and publishing as both her parents did. She was a young woman split between her desires to please her husband and fulfill personal achievement.
How Modern Writers Can Relate to Mary Shelley
Choosing to engage in personal studies to converse with her husband on a daily basis proved her respect for Christian principals. For the Holy Bible says to cling to one another in marriage, to love and respect each other. Mary Shelley knew her husband needed intellectual stimulation. So she studied to provide him with such stimulation, improve her own mind, and maintain a happy, healthy relationship with him.
Unfortunately for the young writer, her husband also wanted to see her write. How could she keep up intellectually and write to became famous like her author parents at the same time? Like everyone today, she struggled to fulfill everyone’s wishes and her own desires with the limited time provided for her.
An even better relation on how modern writers can relate to Mary Shelley comes in the form about conforming to society norms. In the ten or fifteen years between Frankenstein prints, Mary Shelley revised a few spots so as to keep from upsetting the public readers. Today, predominantly most bestsellers conform to politically left-wing views and beliefs. Writers who write about opposing views must find different publishers.
Overall, Mary Shelley’s whole demeanor in her personal note seemed to portray a quiet, imaginative, and somewhat anxious young married woman who aimed to please everyone around her. Frankenstein resulted from conversation between her husband and Lord Byron on current developments during the period. Then her imagination took over, and the short novel resulted. Her aim had never been to change society or religion with her writing.
What Mary Shelley’s Character Betrays About Frankenstein
Both my husband and I read Frankenstein in high school as required reading. I remember enjoying the book, thinking it bespoke much about how the young woman thought about people. Remembering this makes me excited to read it again. Since my age has nearly doubled, what will I learn in this second reading of this young woman’s fine thoughts? I look forward to finding out.
Have you read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? What do you like most about the novel? What do you think Mary Shelley revealed about herself in her changes and her way of writing and living?