Frankenstein is a Fictional Piece Written by Mary Shelley

Many critiques have posed different aspects and views on the purpose, thoughts and ideals of the novel. Two critiques from Professor Ginn of Wingate University and Professor Hetherington of Penn State University. Even though written as fictional novel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein can be interpreted different ways and these critiques both felt her piece was a life reflection and exaggeration. The first criticism I read was by Sherry Ginn who is a professor at Wingate University. She has a MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina.

The second criticism is by Naomi Hetherington who is a professor at the University of Sheffield. She as a BA in Theology and Religious Studies, MA in Victorian Literature and a PhD. These ladies educational studies and degrees give them both the credentials as a valid source for the article critique of Shelley’s work.

Sherry Ginn wrote an article titled, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” Science, Science Fiction, or Autobiography?.

Professor Ginn details many aspects of Mary Shelley’s life and make connections between her fictional novel and Shelley’s life events. Many authors draw inspiration for their writing from experiences and life occurances so it is no surprise that ties can be seen between Shelley and Frankenstein. Frankenstein was published in 1818 when Mary Shelley was about 19 years old. Frankenstein is said to be a depiction of Mary’s life. “The essential elements of Frankenstein’s story, taken from Mary’s own life, have been identified as  a white gravestone; a motherless child; a beloved father turning his back on his child; a university student conducting wild experiments; and dreams of rekindling the life of a dead child.

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”  Mary’s mother died giving birth to her and her father was not a good father to her.

She was sent to Scotland because of the tension in the home with her father’s new wife. She then married Percy Shelley who was married and a student that did experiments in his dorm room. She had 4 children by Percy before he died in 1822. All of her children died young except one. These life obstacles and trials were trying for Mary Shelley and are seen in her novel and character Frankenstein. In the novel, Frankenstein creates this creature in a lab and it wrecks the town (her life). He is then taught how to read and write (school) away from home (Scotland). I do agree with these strong correlations between Mary Shelley’s life and the novel Frankenstein. The death that the creature emposes aligns with the death of her mother, children, and husband in comparable scenarios. “While Mary made quite a statement with Frankenstein about the problems arising from lack of family relationships and parental abdication of responsibility, it is doubtful whether she consciously meant to indict her own father for his treatment of her in childhood.”

Naomi Hetherington also critiqued, analyzed and compared Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein to Mary’s life. Hetherington stated, “For instance, biographical critics have examined Mary’s own relationships, in particular her marriage with Shelley, as a source of inspiration for her character studies. Feminist critics, such as Barbara Johnson, have read the novel as the story of Mary’s experiences in writing it and diagnosed a ‘frustrated female pen envy’.” Hetherington even made some comparisons to Victor Frankenstein, the creator of the creature, being a representation of God. In comparison, the people of the town are being punished for not complying with God and there for are punished by the creature. Hetherington even continues to show similarities in greek mythology and Christianity which were prevalent ideals in this time frame. ”

Her husband’s untimely death had adverse effects on Mary’s identity and she tried, with varying degrees of success, to establish her own career beyond merely being Percy’s literary executor. Indeed many people in her own time were convinced that Percy B. Shelly had actually written Frankenstein.” (Ginn, 2003) Maybe the novel was written by her husband, Percy Shelley, all along and he was telling the story of Mary’s life from his prespective. “Mary Shelley’s personal life was quite tragic and many modern critics, especially feminist ones, discuss Frankenstein in terms of the recurring themes of procreation and death.” Writers draw inspiration from many things and more frequently than not their own lives. Mary Shelley lived a crazy life and she documented it with some exaggeration, in my opinion, in Frankenstein. With a little imagination and creativity, Mary’s life became a classic for readers across the globe.

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Frankenstein is a Fictional Piece Written by Mary Shelley. (2022, Nov 14). Retrieved from

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