As you may already know Mary Shelley collaborated with her husband Percy Shelley to create the novel Frankenstein you may have not known the process behind the finished product of the famous horror/gothic novel. From Cynthia Pon’s essay ‘“Passages” in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” she discusses a feminist point of view on the destruction of the woman monster in the novel Frankenstein. There is a section in her article that focuses on female criticism of the novel and the reasoning behind why the female monster was never brought to life.
Possible ideas on why the female monster was not brought to life…
- Mary Shelley had wanted to write about her life experiences and reflect the novel back to her infertility
- Mary Shelley was afraid to explore the idea of women in a male dominated society
- Mary Shelley let Percy Shelley take over her novel
- Mary Shelley believed it would have added too much to the plot
- Mary Shelley had already established Victor Frankenstein as the creator of the monster, the woman monster would have brought a disruption to the idea that science represents creation of life and a new world
There are many different ideas that I had in mind when thinking about why Mary Shelley chose to include the idea of a creation of a woman monster so that the male monster could have a companion and one day reproduce but, this idea never is brought out and actually happens. Cynthia Pon tries to explain the scene in the novel when the idea is brought up.
“Frankenstein has yielded the to the creature’s request to create for him a mate. Half way into the process, Frankenstein changed his mind: “I thought with a sensation of madness on my promise of creating another like him, and, trembling with passion, tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged” (p. 179).
The text from Frankenstein expresses the uncertainties about the creation of the female monster because there is a fear as to what will happen if the female monster is created. Victor has already failed once as a parent figure to Frankenstein the monster, what will happen if he creates a woman monster? Will he once again not take responsibility for his creation? That is where Mary Shelley has created a flaw with the character Victor and his role as a creator and lack of being a parent figure that cares for and nurtures his offspring.
In what sense would the woman monster differ from the male monster?
In the novel Frankenstein Cynthia Pon acknowledges an important quote that can reflect upon the fears that the character Victor might have on the creation of the woman monster. “She, who in all probably was to become a thinking and reasoning animal, might refuse to comply with a pact made before her creation” (p. 178). Well, on one hand from this quote that was taken from the novel Frankenstein from Victor’s point of view he believes that the woman monster would not have the ability to reason and think like the male monster that he has created and believes that the woman monster would act like an “animal” but, in what sense does Victor know how the woman monster would behave or react if he did not create her? He is predetermining the woman monster in a stereotypical male perspective of a woman and judges her based on pre-dispositioned ideas and notions that he has about women to being with.
I question...why would Mary Shelley as a woman writer critique and demolish the woman monster’s creation?
Feminists writer Cynthia Pon explains Mary’s reasoning behind the critique about the ideas on the creation of the woman monster she explores the introduction of the 1831 edition of Frankenstein to explore Mary Shelley’s writing. Mary Shelley expresses her feelings towards the collaboration she has with her husband Percy Shelley in her novel and says “I was nearly a silent listener” and says “I would have never taken the form in which was presented in the world” (Pon, 40). I feel that Mary Shelley expressed her discomforts with the ideas that Percy had and included in her novel and completely disregarded Mary’s original text to make it his own work. Mary Shelley explains the scene of the woman monster and her destruction. “As far as I can recollect, it was entirely written by him” (p, 251). This quote explains allot. Mary Shelley gives her readers an answer as to why the female monster was destroyed and never created. Mary Shelley is not taking the blame for these ideas and expresses how her ideas were much different than her husbands.
However, these novels that do centralize Mrs. Frankenstein also place the woman monster as a possession of Frankenstein because she is married to him. Cynthia Pon would agree and say that the only way a feminist perspective would be present in a remake of the original Frankenstein would be to have Mrs. Frankenstein’s character not only be a central focus but also be given a first name and to change her role as a wife to her own independent “monster” so to speak.
Here is a video I found on "The Bride of Frankenstein" that shows the creation of Mrs.Frankenstein if she were created by Victor but, in Mary Shelley's version she was not.