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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, An Academic Wiki

"The Monster in a Dark Room: Frankenstein, Feminism, and Philosophy" by Nancy Yousef

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Yousef analyzes Shelley's stance on feminism by first examining the creature’s non-birth and his coming of age story and why that represents the need for females.  This is one of the leading interpretations of how feminism is laced throughout Frankenstein. Shelley never knew her mother and therefore only learned about her through Wollstonecraft’s writing- and Wollstonecraft’s main topics of writing were centered on feminism and education. Along with the view of the non-birth of Frankenstein came that of the education of Frankenstein, and scholars believed Shelley was speaking very bluntly of the education of women and young girls throughout school-hood.  

Yousef also discusses Shelley’s emotional trauma of being a mother and losing children to add to the themes in her writing. She explains Shelley’s influences of Shelley’s view of education in her philosophy and compares Shelley’s study of John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality.  She looks at Locke’s standpoint of the Child and Rousseau’s of the Man and how both essays, which Shelley was studying at the time of writing Frankenstein, deeply impacted the philosophy and politics of her work.  She used them to spur on her ideals but also to argue against, using her feminist views to counter that of the Rousseauian Man.

Works Cited Edit

Yousef, Nancy. "The Monster in a Dark Room: Frankenstein, Feminism, and Philosophy." Modern Language Quarterly 63.2 (2002): 197-226. Web.

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