In the immortal words of Kanye West, “No one man should have all that power.”  Indeed, it seems that Anne K. Mellor is of a similar school of thought, or at least with regard to the manipulation of nature as the Passive Other, a female to be taken advantage of.  This is what yields to the discussion of the sexual politics in science.  But it is not that Mellor is necessarily condemning the sciences, it is that she is pointing out Shelley’s condemnation of the sciences.

Mellor spends a great deal of time illustrating two different schools of thought in the sciences, in Darwin’s ideology and practices that she uses to celebrate the sciences of studying nature through observation, and in Davy and Galvani’s mentality and experiments that appear to run against everything that Mellor stands for.  While Darwin was observing, and adding his commentary about life, and noting responsibilities of each gender in plant life (notably saying that men are responsible for the sex and defects of a child), Davy was heralding the coming of the great scientist, that would essentially dissect nature in order to learn her hidden features, and Galvani was working to reanimate corpses himself through use of electricity.  However, Mellor uses Shelley’s text to find morality (or lack thereof) in the sciences.  Davy’s idea of the great scientist is embodied in Waldman, as Mellor says – he is the one who is getting Victor interested in alchemy and strange manipulations of chemistry to achieve strange goals.  While Mellor and Shelley seem to appreciate Darwin’s theories and ideas (after all, Percy was very influenced by the scientist), Shelley distorts many of his ideas through Victor.  By not creating his creation through sexual reproduction, scaling up the monster to deal with small parts instead of managing it to become more complex (a “compound” as Darwin says), and many other examples, her character is allowed to fundamentally destroy many of the aspects of life celebrated by Darwin.

In essence, Mellor is not necessarily arguing for herself, or at least by herself.  There is an immense amount of textual support for her argument; all she has to do is point and say, “Hey, hey, over here!”  Shelley has already done most of the legwork to paint the image of the scientist in a negative manner.  I only wonder if she was intending for the Mad Scientist trope to be created.

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