Tag Archive: a vindication of the rights of woman

By Maya Carranza

Just like most women, Mary Wollstonecraft, believed that all women should be treated equally. So how is it that her daughter, Mary Shelley, wrote a book that totally lacks a strong female role? In the novel Frankenstein, although men are the main characters, the novel is full of mistakes that they made, which can be seen as a true feminist point illustrating that all women are the main foundation of society and that they aren’t just clueless minds behind a pretty face and body.

Justine goes from being very “gentle” and “pretty” to a monster when she is falsely accused and executed for the murder of Frankenstein’s brother, William. She states, “I did confess, but I confessed a lie… Ever since I was condemned, my confessor has besieged me; he threatened and menaced, until I almost began to think that I was the monster that he said I was.” (83) Although Victor could have saved her, she confessed to a crime she did not commit because she was pressured into it but still accepted her fate. This also comes to show that Justines words meant nothing because society sees women as “little, smooth, delicate, fair creatures”(47), as said by Mary Wollstonecraft, who aren’t capable of having their own thoughts.

In Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men she goes on about the ways in which women were viewed and treated, “to be loved, women’s high end and great distinction they should ‘learn to lisp, to totter in their walk and nickname God’s creatures.’ and its in the novel that we see this sort of treatment first hand, through the ways in which Justine is treated even before she’s tried for murder. Through Elizabeth, we learn that Justine was educated, as she talks about her aunt who had become attached [to Justine] and had decided to further her education from what she had originally planned, although this itself is hardly brought up afterward with the exception of Elizabeth calling her clever. Then there’s also that instance to think of where Elizabeth is calling her clever because it’s not just her calling her clever she’s calling her “clever and gentle and pretty” furthering the emphasis on her beauty that was already there made by those around her. From there, we see the minor ways in which she’s objectified further, made to be this pretty innocent girl who’s image later shifts for the worst because of her bad timing. Through Wollstonecraft’s essay we see this fighting and want for equal opportunities for women, and through the novel, we see the opposite where Elizabeth is subtly talking down Justine when talking about her to Victor not helping her because of his own fears.

Jocelyn Lemus

We speak, we move, we do all these sorts of things because that is what makes us human. As a person we take certain actions because the world asks us to. We invest so much time to satisfy society that we truly forget our personal instincts and beliefs. For a women, it is hard to freely express what is truly kept inside, since majority of the the time in the past and now women have no say.

Image result for women mouth covered

Mary Wollstonecraft expresses this sort of action in her writing of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman… when she states, “Nature, by making women little, smooth, delicate, fair creatures”(47). This indicates that once a women is implemented in such image, there isn’t quite a possibility that that expectation will change. Nothing they say or do can be justifiable as long as the words come out of their mouths. To add on, this correlates so well with Justine’s death sentence in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. They correlate because it is shown that women don’t quite defend themselves because they internally believe that their words don’t quite make a difference to society. As Justine says, “I did confess; but I confessed a lie”(83). Why would she lie about something that involves death? A women is seen as this target, this vulnerable human being with no will to express their own feelings. This is important because nature and beauty have a lot to say more about women than women can, according to society. The world has stitched the mouths of women together, up to the point where every word they say comes out as pure muteness.