The Causality of Marry Shelly’s life events, and the creation of


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In Marry Shelly’s book Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus can see across her work that the Monster we call Frankenstein can be considered a monstrosity or a monstrous thing.  In fact, we see that it was in fact Shelly that created the monster in her literary work.  Webster’s dictionary defines a monster with three different explanations. Firstly, it refers to “a strange or horrible imaginary creature,” secondly, it says that “something is extremely or unusually large,” and thirdly, it mentions “a powerful person or thing that cannot be controlled and causes many problems” (Webster’s). Which can be deemed to have a causal relationship.  We will be looking at the casual relationship of Mary Shelly’s life and the effects it had on the monstrous thing we call Frankenstein.  Frankenstein was created during the romantic period.  Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. During the romantic period we can see that the post-Industrial revolution when science had been created during this time period one could deem that there is a casual relationship between the Romantic period with Shelly’s life, and the creation of Frankenstein and relate this relationship to monster theory.  In Cohens monster theory thesis number three The monster is the harbinger of category crisis: “The too- precise laws of nature as set forth by science are gleefully glorified violated in the freakish compilation of the monster’s body” (Cohens 6-7).  One can see the causality between the creation of Frankenstein, and the life events of Marry Shelly that portrays a causal relationship with the numerous scientific advancements preceding this time period due to the post- Industrial Revolution.

In Shelly’s life we can see that many of the monstrous character flaws with life events of Marry Shelly’ throughout her writings including her book Frankenstein.  “Chris Baldick (1987) depicts in his study In Frankenstein’s Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity and Nineteenth-century Writing Shelley’s relationship with her mother as very significant for her writings. Her relationship with her mother had then to become a textual one, in rather morbid ways: she took to reading her mother ̓s works at her graveside (Masaryk).  Just like Frankenstein in how Victor Frankenstein had left the monster to fend for himself we can see this in Shelly’s life also due to the fact that Shelly’s mother had passed away shortly after she was born.  “However, she never saw her mother because she died shortly after Marry’s birth. As with many of the minor characters, [in Frankenstein] Marry Shelley also became an orphan” (Masaryk).

Many scholars believe that this orphan causal relationship through the primary text Frankenstein: The modern Prometheus one can see that some of the characters could potentially be considered orphans. We also see this being true in monster theory and with the creation of Frankenstein. we could relate this relationship to Cohens Monster theory number five the monster polices the borders of the possible.  “Monsters enact a double narrative: how the monster came to be and its testimony, detailing what cultural use the monster serves here to call horrid attention to the borders that cannot— must not be crossed” (Cohen’s 13).   In Shelly’s bookFrankensteinwe see another causal relationship in Shelly’s life of how Frankenstein wanted another person like himself to call his own we then can see this relationship in one of two ways in Shelly’s life.  One as being an orphan which can tie to the romantic period, and the other which is also seen in Shelly’s life by her father wanting to create a family for Shelly. “Marry tried to find out some information about her mother. Her father wanted to create a family for Mary, so he remarried when she was four. In Mary’s opinion, her father prepared “a hell on earth” for her, including her step-mother and stepsiblings, especially her step-sister Claire Clairmont” (Masaryk). With the Casual Relationship between Shelly’s life and what Shelly thinks as this new family as being “Hell on earth.” We can see this same relationship with the creation of Frankenstein in her book. Frankenstein also shows this same relationship during the Romantic period as this would have been a very chaotic thing to do thus it may have even created fear in some people if this had actually had happened.  With the creation of Frankenstein by Shelly we can see this by the dream Shelly had which led to the creation of Frankenstein.  “The unconscious has to provide the raw material for ͑ invention ͗ to shape a story. […] And I suggest that Mary’s daydream of scientific experiment opened a door to unconscious phantasies of a dreadful scene of childbirth” (Masaryk).

With Shelly’s family and this “hell on earth” family we could show a causal relationship between Marry Shelly’s life, and that of the Romantic period through monster theory when using Cohen’s seven theses to monster theory by using theory number four.  The monster dwells at the gates of difference.  “The monster is difference made flesh, come to dwell among us…for most part monstrous differences tend to be cultural, political, racial, economical, and Sexual” (Cohen’s 7).  This causal relationship can be seen through the Romantic period in which Frankenstein was written.  Some scholars think that this relationship and including monster theory can be seen through Shelly’s life and the creation of Frankenstein and through the Romantic period.  “On the one hand, Shelley’s decision for the implementation of such a number      of victims can be considered as an obsession about such a kind of writing. On the other hand, she viewed the novel as her opportunity to incorporate one of her life experiences and also the monstrosity of everyday life; when her mother died, and she used this agony and suffering to write this novel” (Masaryk).

Throught Shelly’s writings one can feel that she created a causal relationship with the Romantic period and Frankenstein.  In a sense that with the death of her mother and the creation of the family by her father which she did not like it seems as previously quoted that she lived a monstrous life and had to live with these monstrosities. Many scholars seem to think this this causality might have had a negative effect on the creation of Frankenstein in her dream.  Just because she did not like the negative family relationship she had at home she relates this relationship as, being “hell on earth” and the fact her mother died she might have created Frankenstein to show this relationship which shows throughout her book and also can be linked to the events in Romantic period. Scholars believe this definitely can show a causal relationship with the events of the post-industrial revolution leading to the Romantic period which could be deemed to be the cause of the creation of the monster we call Frankenstein, and the acts of her childhood that could in turn be related to the monstrosity of Frankenstein.


Annotated Bibliography

Žaneta. “Monster and Monstrosity in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Informační Systém Masarykovy Univerzity, Masarykova Univerzita, 1 Jan. 1970,  This source was used to add supporting detail in the claim made. Many facts were made due to the emphasizing detail of the claims made and to be used to give support. I will be using this source to add emphasis on the claim made.  This is a credible source though it is not peer reviewed it is scholarly.

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture: Seven Theses.” From Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25.  This source will be use to provide supporting detail to show the casualty between the life events of Marry Shelly’s life, and the relationship to monster theory.  This source is deemed as scholarly and is also a credible source to be used for this assignment.


“Dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, In this source the terms were define they include monster and Monstrosity.  I am using this source to emphasize the correlation of how Frankenstein is a monster, and the creation of Frankenstein and the life events of Marry Shelly can be determined as a monstrosity.  I believe that this source should be used for this correlation to add emphasis in detail to support the claim made.