Mary Shelley Life And Frankenstein

It is clearly evident that there are many parallels between the novel
Frankenstein and the life of its author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Throughout
her life, Shelley experienced many deaths of loved ones. These tragedies led her
to create a monster story that expressed her psychological state of mind. From
researching biographical texts of Shelley, I learned that the deaths of loved
ones that Mary Shelley experienced had a significant influence on the plot of
Frankenstein. Mary Shelley was born into a family that contained notable
writers, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. These two writers influenced
Mary Shelleys decision to become a writer. One night as Shelley was going to
sleep, she began thinking of a horror story. Before she realized it, pages and
pages of words were flowing and soon enough, Frankenstein was created. Without
realizing it, Shelley was incorporating events that were taking place in her
life to the story that she was writing. Mary Wollstonecraft became very sick
when Shelley was born. She had suffered due to complications during childbirth.

Everything happened all at once and two weeks after she gave birth, Mary
Wollstonecraft died. Mary Shelley was the cause of the death of her mother.

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Never would she be able to get close and bond with her mother the way mothers
and daughters do. She realized that she had to stay strong and accept what life
had to offer her. Though she had struggled to reject that instinctive guilt,
carefully schooled as she had been in logic throughout her thirteen years by her
renowned philosopher father, the thought continued to haunt her (Leighton 3).

Thoughts of her mother would always be with her, but life had to go on. There
was no better way for Shelley to keep the spirit of her mother alive then by
following in her mothers footsteps and becoming a writer. Now she would be
able to be as expressive as she wanted and release all her grieves and emotions.

The way Shelleys mother died is quite similar to the way Frankensteins
mother died. While his mother was taking care of Elizabeth, his sister,
from scarlet fever, she became very sick and simultaneously died. Here,
Elizabeth feels that she is the one responsible for her mothers death. If she
had insisted that her mother stay away from her while she was sick, she would
have still been alive. Elizabeth and Victor had to accept what happened and move
on with their lives. My mother was dead, but we had still duties which we
ought to perform; we must continue our course with the rest and learn to think
ourselves fortunate whilst one remains whom the spoiler has not seized
(Shelley 43). They would both always feel the pain and sorrow of the loss of
their mother, but they knew that going on with life and doing well for
themselves would make their mother both happy and proud. When Mary Shelley gave
birth to a boy, she decided to name it William in honor of her father. After two
years of happiness, little William became seriously ill and died. This was the
most traumatic thing Shelley had to encounter. It was hard enough having a
mother die, now it was her son. Life did not seem to have much meaning to her
anymore. The world will never be to me again as it was there was a life
and freshness in it that is lost to meI ought to have died on the 7th of June
last (Walling 19). This was a very upsetting and chaotic time for Shelley.

She could not come to any realizations as to why her baby was taken away from
her. It seemed very ironic that Shelley named Frankensteins little brother
William, especially since William dies. Frankenstein could not understand the
real reason as to why this happened to William. Was he the cause? No matter what
the implications were, Frankenstein knew that Justine, his cousin, could not
kill her own family member. Questions were left unanswered and things were
always a mystery to Frankenstein. As Shelley was growing up, she had a lot of
step/half brothers and sisters from different marriages. She was not able to get
very close to them because she was always moving around and living in different
places. One significant half-sister that Shelley remained close with was Fanny
Imlay. She was four years old when their mother had died and as she and Shelley
were growing up, Fanny would talk about Mary Wollstonecraft and tell her
everything she remembered about her. Shelley remained close to Fanny throughout
all her years of writing and during her marriage to Percy Shelley. Just as
everything seemed good, Shelley receives a letter from Fanny saying her final
good-bye; she had committed suicide. Shelley was devastated and blamed herself.

Mary was tormented by the thought that if she had not been so wrapped up in
her own affairs, she might have sensed Fannys despair and somehow helped her
overcome it (Leighton 84). Now Shelley felt that she was responsible for two
deaths, her mother and her sister. Victor Frankenstein created a monster through
his scientific genius. The creation was a representation of the life that Victor
desired to live until it started overpowering Frankensteins life and
destroying it. The creature is very sensitive and when it is told how ugly and
disgusting it is, anything could happen. One day, Frankensteins little
brother William saw the monster and was scared. William told the monster how
ugly he was too. Without any warning, the creature approached William and killed
him. At first, Frankenstein had no idea who had done this to William; but he
knew that his cousin Justine was falsely accused . The death of William broke
Frankensteins heart; he loved the little boy so much. William was taken away
from Frankenstein the way his mother was and again, he had no control over it.

When the monster began controlling Frankensteins life and making demands,
Frankenstein knew something was wrong. Frankenstein would not create a mate for
the monster so it promised to put revenge on him. Sure enough, on the night of
Frankensteins wedding to Elizabeth, the monster raped her and killed her,
leaving Frankenstein all alone with no one to love. Now he realized that the
monster killed little William. This was so overwhelming for Frankenstein. He
felt that he was the cause of these two deaths. If he had never created this
monster, his brother William and his future wife would be alive and well.

Frankenstein began to breakdown and was self-destructing. How was he going to
live with himself knowing that he caused these deaths? Frankensteins attitude
is very similar to that of Shelley. She feels utterly responsible for two deaths
as well, her mother and her half-sister. She regrets being born so that her
mother could have lived a long, happy life and if she was not so involved with
her career and love life, she would have been able to save Fannys life.

Shelley did not make the best decisions but she had to come to the realizations
that things happen in life that nobody has control over. Dealing with the death
of loved ones is probably the hardest thing that a person has to go through and
when tragedy occurs time after time, it is not easy to gain back hope. Although
Frankenstein is not an autobiography of Mary Shelleys life, all of the
incidents of death in the novel have shown to have some similarities to her
life. Frankenstein experienced death and overcame death the same way that Mary
Shelley did. Having an author resemble its character allows the reader to get a
true insight on the life of the author. It also helps the reader understand why
the author chooses certain characters and why certain actions take place.

English Essays


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