Anne Mellor’s article explores the idea that Frankenstein’s creature is representative of the Asian threat to
Europeans at the time of the opening of the east to the rest of the world. Mellor draws attention to one of Mary and Percy Shelley’s close friends, William Lawrence, who later became a model for Professor Waldman in Frankenstein. Lawrence believed that chemistry was the ultimate science (Mellor 7). Lawrence, believing in the five races of men, believed that Egyptians were a mix of Caucasian and Asian races since they had reached such a high level of civilization (Mellor 9). This is relevant because Mary Shelley identifies her monster as having mummy-like qualities. Mary Shelley visited the Napolianic mummies at the Louvre in 1814, which were typically painted with faces ranging from light yellow to dark brown (Mellor 9). Mellor recognizes this description as one of the most important in the book to identify which racial other the creature represents. According to Mellor, Frankenstein’s repulsion at creating a mate for his monster is a fear of interracial breeding (22). However, she also points out that it is possible that both sides of the argument are represented, as with the DeLacey family welcoming Safie into their home (Mellor 23). Racial interbreeding is only evil when it is perceived as such. Mellor concludes her article by stating if Frankenstein had been able to see his creation as part of the race of man, perhaps he would have been able to advance society instead of destroy it (25).
Works Cited Edit
Anne K. Mellor, “Frankenstein, Racial Science, and the Yellow Peril,” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 23.1 (2001): 1-28. Web.