Frankenstein Essays

Claire, the main character is upset about the recent death of her mother and remembers that her mother told her that they were related to Mary Shelley.

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But at the same time the novel recuperates and conceals its own anti-patriarchal critical power by ultimately forcing Frankenstein and his creature to submit to an Oedipal rivalry based on the creature's desire to enter the sex/gender system ideally represented to him by the De Lacey family.

The early stage adaptations and the later cinematic tradition even more emphatically recuperate patriarchal authority by making castration and rivalry into the plot's dominant motifs.

In recounting the most influential existing interpretions, I also show how many profound cultural and psychological issues are raised by both of Victor's dreams, especially his nightmare about embracing his dead mother.

As a result, the newer interpretations offered here address some major unresolved quandaries in the history of Western culture.

The novel is a hybrid of male and female Gothic narrative conventions: Frankenstein's story follows the male Gothic trajectory of the overreacher who fails and dies.

Embedded in this story is the creature's Bildungsroman, tragically diverted from the comic female plot.

The central thesis is that the fantasy of male creation, a fantasy the novel straightforwardly connects to Paradise Lost and Genesis, refers consistently to the infantile sexual theory of birth by defecation.

The power of Mary Shelley's novel has much to do with its exposure of this reference.

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