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Literature

[A Frankenstein Study]
[Anatomy of a Story]

[Frankenstein Art][Intro]
 

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Introduction: The Value of Fright


[Monster profile]
(Quicktime required for audio)

In the introduction we take a look at the eye-opening benefits of being horrified. What exactly are we afraid of and can our fear be of any benefit to us?

 
 


Passions of Prometheus

[Prometheus Art]This essay is an exploration of the passions of Prometheus. Here we will delve into the normative yet sub-adequate ways that males relate to women and each other in the novel Frankenstein. In this session, the secret love life of men will be revealed but not along the lines of those schmaltzy books commonly entitled, What You Always Wanted to Know About How Men Love. Sadly, it comes as no surprise that men typically relate poorly. When they do form relationships they often swing from possessiveness to passivity. We males are passionate all right, but our passion, says Mary Shelley, is often self-centered and leads to wilfulness and weakness. Ready yourself for a full blown attack on male machismo.

 
 


Marriage and Mary Shelley

[Mary Shelley]"Marriage and Mary Shelley" recounts the story of the marriage between Mary Wollstonecraft-Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley, the great Romantic poet. Mary's marriage provided a fertile source for her tale of horror. It shouldn't come as a surprise that relationships and horror parallel one another. This alone will not cause us to put our hands over our eyes. When we read and study the actual dynamics and attitudes that Percy and Mary expressed toward each other, we might have some fairly frightening moments; moments of recognition and regret about marriage and partnership.

 
 
Brides of Frankenstein


[Bride art]"Brides of Frankenstein" attempts to unravel Mary's critique of women. Feminist interpreters have tended to think Mary Shelley held patriarchal man-centered views concerning gender roles. This is a difficult subject because most of her women are quiet, complacent madames who, at first glance, share very little in common with self-confident women. Mary's approach is more complicated than we give her credit for. She reveals women as ambiguous and contradictory and not without a great amount of power. The typical pattern shown here is expression-repression, which many modern women share along with Mary and her heroines. The prevalent complaint about the place of domesticity in a woman's life, the place of child rearing, and the creation of a character-forming environment will be contrasted with the demands of our modern situation. The concepts of domestic and radical feminism form the backdrop for this discussion.
 
 


Monsters at the Margin

[Monter art]Frankenstein's children are monstrous but gifted. When children are spoiled, rageful, and selfish, we should not be too surprised - given the promethean spirit of their parents. Frankenstein, not directly a manual for child care, is better than most of our modern depictions of how children malform. By presenting such a convincing case for the injustice done to the Monster, Mary tempts us to coddle him morally. Then she cleverly reveals the victim as a true victimizer. Living at the margins of the normal can create monstrous humans and paradoxically human monsters. The obligations of parenthood and personal responsibility weigh heavy, when we consider the fate of the Monster and the monster-like man who created him.

 
 
Review of Readings on Frankenstein


Readings on Frankenstein
, published by Greenhaven Press, combines varied methods of interpretation, proving itself to be one of the best introductions to Mary Shelley’s monstrous tale we have encountered. Lyle Penner reviews what he considers an excellent combination of personal applications and literary methods.
 
 
Dracula and Frankenstein: A Tale of Two Monsters


The status of the outsider is a constant theme in gothic literature. Fellow Canadian and world-renowned expert on Dracula, Elizabeth Miller, has generously contributed an excerpt from her book Dracula: Sense and Nonsense. She follows the interwoven history and interpretation of two of the most famous monsters of literary and popular culture.
 
 


A Frankenstein FAQ

[1994 Frankenstein]"A Frankenstein FAQ" explores such topics as the circumstances in which Mary Shelley wrote her novel, the genre of literature that best describes the Frankenstein tale, sources that influenced Mary Shelley in crafting her story, and the central theme of Frankenstein. You'll also find in the FAQ a list of links for more information and a creative interpretation of what Margaret Saville might have written to her brother Robert Walton.

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