Monster Essay

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To turn him loose in the manhood of his physical strength ...

would be to raise up a creature resembling the splendid fiction of a recent romance.” He meant Mary Shelley heard about this reference, and knew, moreover, that women (though with gilding) were a slave class, too, insofar as they were valued for bodies rather than minds, were denied participatory citizenship and most legal rights, and were systemically subjugated as “other” by the masculine world.

England would abolish its slave trade in 1807, but Colonial slavery was legal until 1833.

Abolitionists saw the capitalists, investors, and masters as the moral monsters of the global economy.

If you haven’t read Europe was scarred by a long war, concluding on Waterloo fields in May 1815. Young Frankenstein begins his university studies in 1789, the year of the French Revolution.

In 1790, Edmund Burke’s international best-selling recoiled at the new government as a “monster of a state,” with a “monster of a constitution” and “monstrous democratic assemblies.” Within a few months, another international best-seller, Tom Paine’s a “ferocious monster”; her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was on the same page: Any aristocracy was an “artificial monster,” the monarchy a “luxurious monster,” and Europe’s despots a “race of monsters in human shape.” makes no direct reference to the Revolution, but its first readers would have felt the force of its setting in the 1790s, a decade that also saw polemics for (and against) the rights of men, women, and slaves.

In Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein pleads sympathy for the “human nature” in his revulsion.

“I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body.

The iconic “other” in is of course this horrifying Creature (he’s never a “human being”).

But the deepest force of the novel is not this unique situation but its reverberation of routine judgments of beings that seem “other” to any possibility of social sympathy.

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