Frankenminism’s Annotated Bibliography

Lehman, Steven. “The Motherless Child in Science Fiction: ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Moreau’ (L’Orphelin De Mère Dans La Science Fiction: ‘Frankenstein’ Et ‘Moreau’).” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 19, no. 1, 1992, pp. 49–58.

In Steven Lehman’s “The Motherless Child”, he does some research on the background information of Mary Shelley’s past. He too believes that the plot of this story is based upon true events that have taken place in Shelly’s life. He has focuses his attention on the studies of Ellen Moers and Marc Rubenstein who has studied the psychology of Frankenstein. “Rubenstein claims that “the horror and retribution attached to the procreative act in the novel make plain the conflicted dimensions of her identification with her mother and with her being a mother. (49). Once again, we are seeing that Shelley’s life played a huge role in the creation of this novel. The abandonment felt when losing her mother at such a young age, comes to life when Victor abandons his creature right after creating it. Victor takes on that motherly role by birthing his creation. (49) “The endurance of Frankenstein and its amplification to truly mythic status results from its articulating, “perhaps for the first time in Western literature, the most powerfully felt anxieties of pregnancy” (Mellor 41)” (50). This is fascinating because it points readers in a direction that they probably wouldn’t even have noticed, had it not been pointed out. Readers will feel compassion for this monster because he has not started off with the intentions of hurting anyone, but rather society has tortured him into being that way, and thus transforming him into someone who isn’t well liked. (50) This is important to my final project because once again, it is showing how the life of the author has inspired such a book. Also, it shows that most people have a common bond as humans, and that it’s human nature to seek revenge and become a monster when we feel shut out and abandoned. This is an interesting way to analyze this novel.

Lehman, Steven. “The Motherless Child in Science Fiction: ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Moreau’ (L’Orphelin De Mère Dans La Science Fiction: ‘Frankenstein’ Et ‘Moreau’).” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 19, no. 1, 1992, pp. 49–58.

This text conducts a psychodynamic – feminist reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It briefly touches upon the desire to create another being, similar to the desire Mary had herself. This idea opens the door to further parental issues present in the story. It also discusses Freudian ideas which stem from psychological gender roles. The concept of “womb envy’’ suggests that males are envious of the fact that they are not able to carry children themselves. Mary’s failed pregnancy ironically placed her in the same position, causing her to relate to a male protagonist encountering a similar style of suffering. While Mary longed to fulfil her duty as a woman with the ability to procreate, she instead found herself in the role of a man with no such ability. The text further elaborates this irony as it discusses the ideas of Freud’s “penis envy.” Freud was quick to elaborate on the ideas of women being envious of men and their strength as the predominant sex, yet the envy clearly goes both ways. The text references to occasions throughout history where men have actively expressed “womb envy,” as the central thesis appears to address males invading the female ability to make life. Among others, it references a book by Gena Corea called The Mother Machine. The text quotes the book saying, “After the female sex cell was discovered in 1861, and males grasped that they were not the soul genetic creators, they began recreating the myth of single-parent hood by the male, not through religious or scientific theory, but through technology.” It was believed that new life-giving technologies would enable them to take over the life-giving powers of women. It appears that these ideas were born when Mary Shelley found herself identifying with the “unnatural male desire to make babies.”

Cynthia, Pon. “”Passages” In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”: Towards a Feminist Figure of Humanity?” JSTOR. Modern Language Studies, Oct. 2000. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

“Passages” in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Toward a Feminist Figure of Humanity? by Cynthia Pon is an article about the comparison between the “masculine and female creation” that raises questions about feminism as a theoretical critique. Pon relates the feminist theory to Frankenstein by questioning the destruction of the woman monster. “The destruction of one charter stands out in this story, because of its incomplete status and Frankenstein correctly perceives it to be a threat to the “established disorder.” I refer to the female creature that is aborted in the novel” (39). Pon mentions the destruction as something that needed to occur because the woman monster would have had a powerful role as a creator of life of future monsters and the reason for future generations. Would she then take all the credit for having created the reproduction of the monster? Possibly, Pon not only sticks to Frankenstein the novel but also gets involved in exploring Mary Shelley as a writer and the process in which she went through writing the novel with her husband Percy Shelley. “Percy Shelley did in fact play an important role in changing the language of Mary Shelley’s novel, substituting more complex diction, and more specific terminology in place of Mary’s more unadorned, simple phrasing” (40). Percy had made the decision to include the woman monster’s destruction and it was stated in the article that Mary Shelley would have never thought of or decided this idea. Pon questions the ideas of “women as passive figures’’ and their “prescribed role” in society as a way to explore Mary Shelley as an individual and not as a link to her husband that is often referred to. “Mary does not live up to the Romantic icon of an unworldly poet, nor for that matter, to images of a feminist writer” (43). Mary Shelley breaks the stereotypical woman writer during the 18th century, she is not writing love novels she is writing gothic/horror novels that deal with complex political/theoretical/moral ideas that were challenged at that time. I would use this article for my essay because there is allot of useful information that could be useful to write a paper on a feminist theoretical approach on Frankenstein.

Eleanor Salotto. “Frankenstein” and Dis(re)membered Identity. Journal of Narrative Theory. Vol. 24, No. 3 (Fall, 1994), pp. 190-211. JSTOR. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.

Eleanor Salotto focuses on the structure of the narrative as a way of arguing that identity is not a whole but rather fragments that lie in different forms of representations. She examines the construction of an ‘I’ and the conflicts between wanting to find one’s identity when it is subject to an embodiment of different voices. She explains that the “horror of a man creating a woman in his image” becomes a monstrous act (203). Salotto also mentions the use of different narrators and how this also prove to show that identity cannot be centered. The way the story is told through different narrators also proves that this “creates a feminine voice or body that speaks in many different voices, thereby upsetting the notion of a single feminine identity” (191). The female identity is distorted throughout the text through the use of male voices to create the work of a female author. The identity of a female author becomes broken into fragments that make up a whole. Salotto, goes on to describe specific instances in which the novel deals with the “I” and the ways in which the text proves that identity is recreated through various voices. The idea of one whole identity is not possible, since it does not just belong to one person but is rather a collaboration, similar to the novel itself. The creation of a female autobiography, then becomes an issue if one identity cannot be created by one person but it is instead “many authorial voices that compete and clash with one another” (198). By using this study of how the structure of the novel can expose a different view of identity, we can similarly use other aspects of the structure to identify other themes that are within the text that prove the lack of female representation.