Frankenstein Critical Analysis Evaluation
Frankenstein is a science fiction novel that was written by Mary Shelley. It is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a science student, who managed to create a monster during one of his experimental sessions, which turns out to be a trouble for him (Shelley 122). The monster is portrayed as a living creature with emotions and feelings. The appearance of monster became a big problem at a point when he felt that people feared him, and for that matter hated him. However, he never wanted to kill people. There was a time when he wanted to save a girl, although he feared that a man was going to kill him for being a monster (Shelley 102). Victor’s brother also screamed upon seeing the creature, and in an attempt to silence the boy, the creature strangled him. Since the monster wanted to avoid all these killings, he asked Victor to make him female in order for him to leave that place with a mate and never get back to the public again. Then Victor agreed with this request, but after realizing the consequences of having female breed of monsters would be undesirable, he decided to kill the monster. The latter revenged Victor and killed his wife (Shelley 122). As much as this story achieved great success with various positive comments, it faced negative criticisms from various authors. Most critics consider the novel as a disgusting horror story. The most critical theme of the story that changed the points of view of the critics is the theme of alienation.
One of the criticisms written about Shelly’s Frankenstein is by literature professor known as Professor Sherry Ginn. The thesis of the author is that this novel can be described as the first legitimate genre which is now called as science fiction. The novel describes what would happen in the future because of emerging scientific discoveries. I agree with the thesis statement because the novel provides a humanistic critique of either the nature of scientific thinking or specific technological inventions (Ginn 22). Frankenstein is a feministic science fiction, since it has discussed three important themes often discussed in the field of science fiction: creating an identity for women, locating the voice of women in the male world, and exclusion of women from science. Reading the novel alongside making use of science fiction characteristics leads Professor Sherry Gin to argue that this novel qualifies to be a science fiction. (Ginn 52). This novel conveys a serious critique of the science in the olden days, anti-female and anti-family. Ginn adequately argues that the novel is autobiographical in nature because the author portrays the desire for a stable family and space for women in the contemporary world. This novel is an autobiography because the facts presented in it are drawn from the author’s life (Ginn, 84). As much as Mary made a statement about problems related to bad family relationships, it is not clear whether or not she had the intention of indicting her father for treatment on her in childhood.
The second criticism is written by Naomi Hetherington who is a university tutor. She studied Bachelor of Arts, Theology from Newnham College. Naomi also has a Master’s degree in Victorian Literature from the University of Manchester. She has taught for five years in the Department of English at London University. She has published a book titled Amy Levy: Critical Essays. In her criticism, Naomi concentrates on the novel’s allegorical meaning, historically viewing it as a construction of meaning that is accessible to Mary’s contemporaries (Hetherington, 88). Artistically, Naomi argues that the novel belongs to the genre of allegory. This is different from the first critique’s argument, which stated that the novel is autobiographic in many respects. Naomi argues that the novel abounds with the Christian iconography on the aspect of creation and fall, with pagan references from the legend about Prometheus and Zeus (Hetherington, 65). I agree with Naomi’s thesis statement which states that the novel is a narrative of the contemporary public debate that regards to scientific materialism alongside the Christian concept of the pre-existent immortal soul. She states that the author’s ghost story is satirical in nature and is aimed to expose Abernathy’s position as nonsense.
The two critics are different in perspective since they seem to explore totally different themes presented in the novel. The first critic has the view that Mary wanted to advance the position of women in the contemporary world and in the field of science, while the second critic has the opinion that Mary wanted to explore through fiction how it feels and what it means to be human in this self-regulating universe.
Naomi Hetherington. “Creator and Created in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Keats-Shelley Review, 1997, pp. 1-39.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.
Sherry Ginn. “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Science, Science Fiction, or Autobiography?” Wingate University, https://www.clas.ufl.edu/ipsa/2003/ginn.html. Accessed 18 February 2018.