Although Shelley could have been just being modest in her omission of her home country in the description of the great empires of the world, I seriously doubt it. The British were some of the most famous and powerful colonizers the world has ever seen.In the 19th and 20th centuries especially it could be said that indeed “the sun never sets on the British Empire.”

However in this excerpt that chronicles the world’s greatest civilizations there is no mention of the mighty British Empire. Though the novel was written before the British reached their pinnacle of world power, the nation was still an extremely powerful one.  Through omission, Shelley has rendered the most powerful nation on earth voiceless. This is the same voicelessness that categorizes Spivak’s idea of the subaltern. Here Shelley has turned the binaries of weak/strong, feminine/masculine, colonized/colonizer, and turned it on its head. She has made the strong voiceless and therefore subaltern through her failure to mention the British Empire. This omission ultimately contributes an argument that runs throughout the novel and that is that ideology, no matter what is is is not a solution to any problems the world faces.

Another textual clue that points toward Shelley’s argument about ideology is the word “cursory.” This use of “cursory” to describe the creature’s knowledge of the world suggests a hasty and superficial learning experience. However the culpable party goes unspecified  Was it Felix’s teaching or the creatures attentiveness that failed in the situation? This ambiguity in the blameworthiness suggests that no matter where this spoon-fed knowledge comes from, whether the powerful instruct or the powerless observe, ultimately the whole ideological construction fails.

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