Many controversial topics remain subtly present within Mary Shelley’s novel including that of transgender exclusion. Susan Stryker produces an essay that dissects the representation of a transgender individual by the creature brought to life by Victor Frankenstein. Her essay perceives itself to be rightfully blunt as well as reassuring and the response to such an essay by Jessica Rae Fisher, even more so. The passage on page 75 within the novel proves itself to be of great representation for the feelings presented within both Stryker’s essay and Fisher’s response.

The passage contains the events in which Victor rightfully assumes the creature to be the murderer of his young brother. Stryker addresses this passage in her essay, focusing on the words “…my own vampire, my own spirit let loose from the grave” (Shelley, 75). With these words, she suggests that Victor inhabits feelings of wanting to be something other than who he is now. Feelings in which he can not or rather would not dare to admit. Thus, “…he projects all he cannot accept in himself” (Stryker, 2) onto the creature. This relationship between Frankenstein and his creature institutes itself as a rather clear comparison to the relationship between the transgender community and society. In other words, it has been discussed numerous times that Frankenstein perhaps harbors feelings of wanting to be something he is not, therefore because the creature represents all he could not be, he then faces the creature with an attitude of fear and disgust. It unfortunately remains the same, according to Stryker, in regards to how society interacts with the transgender. In both the novel and the essay, it is heavily implied that the amount of resentment and unacceptance placed onto the transgender community and the creature resulted in isolation and loneliness. That being said, Fisher’s response to the essay centers around such emotions. However, Mary Shelley’s novel as well as Stryker’s essay provides Fisher with a wider, more open-minded perspective. Through the relating themes within the novel along with Stryker’s encouragement, she finds it rather fitting to participate in self-acceptance instead of remaining dependent on the acceptance of the society that surrounds her. She says, with the utmost confidence, “…if the villagers want to see us as unnatural, we should embrace that” (Fisher). The truth within Strykers essay and the representation within Shelley’s novel make an outstanding pair, allowing Jessica Rae Fisher to lean into acceptance.

 

-Kaylin Insyarath