Tag Archive: beauty


Strangers

By Jade Graham

The prompt inquires as to why the creature wants his story told through Safie’s letters. The simple answer is because he felt a connection that he hadn’t with anyone else in Shelley’s novel. The creature wants those remaining to understand his story and how he could relate to others. Yet in some ways, Safie (while a minor character) is everything the creature isn’t: alive, beautiful, and embraced by (the Delacey) family. Through her beauty, she is accepted and integrates herself into a good situation. One definitely better than before with her father. Safie becomes a part of a society and culture where the creature could only imagine about. However, once she is exiled much similar to the creature’s situation they find a common ground. Once the creature and Safie are both suffering and homeless, they experience life at its most desperate measures. Exiled and the other cast out, the two desire acceptance and family. Safie only receives this. There are two reasons, that includes beauty and social roles. The creature has neither of these. He is considered ugly and ostracized by other societies because he does not fit in by their standards.

Turkish Girl

Turkish Girl by Karl Briullov

As mentioned before, this falls in line with Safie’s appearance and her status. She is beautiful and has a role. That would be to be a part of a family, marry Felix, and continue that cycle. She’s young, a good age to marry, and already accepted into the family. The best part for Safie is, “remaining in a country where women were allowed to take a risk in society was enchanting to her.” where she could gain freedom through a marriage of Felix whom she truly does love (112). This idea of eagerly wanting to become a part of another society relates to Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s borderland theory. Safie wants to leave her past and culture behind in exchange for a better life in a new society. She and the creature want to pursue a better life and will give it all up because of their past experiences. They want to become a part of a different society and culture where they can have freedom and chances.

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Was Frankenstein transgender?

Jessica Rae Fisher explores the transgender community and establishes a few connections within Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. Her connections are very important to the audience given that the creation’s gender was never fully established throughout the novel. Though in some parts of the novel he may appear “masculine” which would explain why the pronoun he and him are used to refer to him in the novel, there is no other evidence shown to us that proves he is in fact a male. For this reason, we are able to identify more connections between the creation and transgender people than our first glance at this book after reading Jessica’s essay.  In the novel, Victor is constantly isolated from his loved ones and has to live with the absence of his mother. However, it seems to be that his need of fulfilling his maternal needs leads him to an obsession and reality check at the same time. For instance in the novel, Victor unconsciously has an unpleasant sexual dream with his mother. His dream begins of seeing Elizabeth’s beautiful face and somehow Elizabeth’s face rearranged to look like Caroline, Victor’s mother. Victor’s sexuality can be triggered by this fact given that he was obsessive over beauty and looks, specifically womens. Victor did not love elizabeth as a sister, rather he was in love with her beauty and appearance. In the same way, Victor was also triggered by the fact that as a male he was not able to reproduce and birth life. This indifference lead him to scientifically give life and create his creature through exhausting research and experiments. “Victor demolished his creation of a female creature to give to the male creature because he truly believed that if he were to do so the creatures would crave to have “children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth” (Shelley 144). This quote proves Victor is envious of the fact that women can conceive children and he cannot. Victor’s obsession to conceive a child hints at his wish to become a woman. There are many examples that may or may not lead to the creation’s true gender beliefs, but as readers we may never be sure because we are not given much evidence as to what he might or not be.

 

By Dalia Ulloa

Butchered Justice

In the novel Frankenstein, we readers witness the execution of Justine, the maid of the Frankenstein household, for the death of William. Although she was never guilty, she was still put on trial and found guilty for planted evidence. After reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, the connections between Justine/Justice and the writing material is very strong.

For instance, Wollstonecraft focuses the majority of her paper on the idea of beauty, and how it is treated towards Justine and all women found in Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft quotes that “littleness and weakness are the very essence of beauty” (47). With Justine being a female, this same idea of beauty collided with her, and her wretched state as she goes on trial, knowing that she herself is innocent. At this point in the novel, Justine is tear-faced and broken to hear the news of her guilt from the jury. Wollstonecraft shows us that in order to be considered beautiful by men, we must appear smaller than them, and act as if we have a necessity for males in our lives in order to survive. Justine was not able to fit in that category, since she was “guilty” of William’s murder, which led to her demise.

-Jody Omlin

Alexuz Bejarano

In Frankenstein, Justine confesses to a crime she didn’t commit, not only could she not defend herself due to women having to voice around this era. In Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, she interprets the way women are viewed, nothing more than “beautiful”. She describes beauty as demeaning, her text represents how the world see women, their reason for existing is only because of their beauty. They lacked many strengths because they believed they had nothing other than beauty. “Never, they might repeat after you, was any man, much less a women, rendered amiable by the force of those exalted qualities, fortitude, justice, wisdom, and truth;” (p 47). Even if Justine was able to defend herself, she was only a servant which was in the lower class, she was in no place to have any “fortitude” or “justice”. She didn’t murder William, and knowing that she still confessed because she knew she didn’t have a voice and no one was going to believe her. In the novel Justine’s beauty got her nowhere, what Wollstonecraft is trying to show is that women shouldn’t be fixed on their beauty, there should be more to women than looks.

 

By: Sandra Tzoc

In “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelley writes about the creaturescapegoat‘s gruesome actions one which includes the ploy that eventually leads to Justine’s execution. This is a very questionable scene because Victor is well aware that Justine is not behind the murder of William however, he does not voice the truth and in the end, Justine pays the consequences. This raises questions as to why Victor stayed quiet, perhaps the answer is: he felt guilty. Through Burke’s eyes it is possible for it to be that way. In his writing Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke repels anything abstract, anything that is not in order. He condemned the French Revolution because he thought individuality was foolish and that the revolution would eventually translate into an anarchy. Burke states: “[prejudice] renders a man’s virtue his habit”, moreover that prejudice would act as a guide to every “man”. Burke was a man who preferred to believe in mainstream ideas even if they were prejudice because he thought that a person’s individual thoughts could not compare.

This is important to note as Burke believed in submissive women and found beauty in their obedience to the state and church. Burke valued class and order and the French Revolution dismantled this rank thus, destroying his perception of beauty. He would probably be proud of Victor and his silence because although Victor was foul for staying quiet, Justine would simply be an offering to the state, to Victor, to the men. Furthermore, she was a servant who was below Victor and Burke would probably care less about her execution given that she was lower class. The prejudice that Victor used against Justine could possibly be presented in the form of scapegoating. He projected all his feelings of guilt onto Justine and let her take the blame for what he had created. He could not possibly come forward to say the truth, that the creature was to blame, because then that would mean he himself was a culprit.

justine2

I find Justine’s death rather interesting, whilst reading the passages regarding her I noticed a few things. On page 66 when Elizabeth describes Justine in her letter to Victor she says, “‘…and I recollect you once remarked that if you were in an ill-humour, one glance form Justine could dissipate it, for the same reason that Aristo gives concerning the beauty of Angelica—she looked so frank-hearted and happy.’” When I read this, I automatically thought of the fact that Elizabeth basically devalues Justine and her personality and just makes her out to be one thing—pretty. The first thing that comes to mind when she thinks of Justine is her beauty. She is objectified, and everything that the reader comes to learn about her is automatically forgotten or disregarded because the only thing that matters when it comes to her is her beauty. This reminded me of Mary Wollstonecraft’s essay where she says society—specifically men have taught women that they were created by God to only be pretty. And because they were created to only be beautiful they don’t need to bother with things like “truth, fortitude, and humanity,” which are “within the rigid pale of manly morals…” (47).

In her essay, Wollstonecraft is basically trying to argue that women should not just be regarded as objects used for pleasure or aesthetic purposes. Instead, they should revolutionize and show the world that they are capable of anything they want to do, and should be held as equal to males. They should not be seen as a “lower class” just because they are women, they should also not be seen as lesser or inferior to men because of their gender. Their gender is not something that should hold them down in the eyes of society. Instead it should be something that uplifts them and empowers them to progress in the world. Because they are just as capable as men are when it comes to having certain characteristics or doing certain things.

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Image result for class injustice in society

Christopher Martinez

As citizens in a society, we tend to have the divisions in gender and class. There are laws in the nation, but sometimes the ones with power can find the loopholes to innocence (just like in the French Revolution). In Mary Wollstonecraft’s writing, A Vindication of the Rights of Men, she strongly makes a stance for gender and class equality. She makes several points about her views such as in the quote, “To say the truth, I not only tremble for the souls of women, but for the good-natured man, whom everyone loves” (48). She wants to create the idea where there is no advantage in society. In other words, she stands with the common citizen during the French Revolution.

Frankenstein shows the injustice of class and gender within Mary Shelley’s time. When Justine gets convicted of the murder of William we see the injustice that is happening. It is as if Justine is representing the continuation and sacrifice of the French Revolution by the common man in the quote, “Farewell, sweet lady, dearest Elizabeth, my beloved and only friend; may Heaven, in its bounty, bless and preserve you; may this be the last misfortune that you will ever suffer! Live, and be happy, and make others so” (84). The way Justine sounds when she says goodbye is as if she is making a sacrifice for the happiness of her family. In addition, there is a motif of courageousness in a woman in this part of the story. Justine isn’t afraid of her death. Mary Shelley is showing the strength in Justine. Likewise, Mary Wollstonecraft expresses the strength of a woman in her writing. She states, “If beautiful weakness be interwoven in a women’s frame, if the chief business of her life be (as you insinuate) to inspire love, and Nature has made an eternal distinction between the qualities that signify a rational being and this animal perfection, her duty and happiness in this life must clash with any preparation for a more exalted state” (48). Mary Wollstonecraft dedicates this part in her writing to state that a woman is equal to everyone; in this way, there can be a prosperous state. The idea of a woman standing up and not being afraid of anything is pretty clear. Finally, Mary Wollstonecraft dismisses the idea of the common nature of woman. She says words like, “little, smooth, delicate,” (47) aren’t the respectful words for a woman for she is powerful! Connecting this to times like today, it is as if there is no change in how we see a man, woman, and class. The Revolution for change hasn’t ended!

Image result for justine moritz death

Mary Wollstonecraft advocates for equality of women in “A Vindication of the Right of Woman” and asserts that in society for women to be seen as equal, society must “wish to render men more virtuous, we must endeavor to banish all enervating modifications of beauty from civil society” (Pg 48) Wollstonecraft is stating that men must eradicate this stereotype of women being gentle and weak. If this does not occur, situations such as “Justine Moritz” will occur. The character of  “Justine Moritz” in Mary Shelley‘s “Frankenstein” is a servant that lives with the Frankenstein family and is described as appreciative and lighthearted, this is heavily reflected by the action she takes right before dying. The novel includes, “Thus the poor sufferer tried to comfort others and herself. She indeed gained the resignation she desired.”(Pg 84) Usually when your life is in danger a human’s reaction is to try to save themselves, yet the text illuminates the complete opposite. Justine is seen comforting others instead of herself, the selfless action implies that she is conscious of others which is why she is giving strength. By this point Justine has given up completely—in a way that is different from the female stereotypes, she sacrifices herself for others because she understands what’s it’s like to be looked down upon—and submits to her accusers which costs her, her life. Gender inequality clearly is seen in the novel, the fact the the Monster choose “Justine” to blame is not by chance.  

Wollstonecraft sees social class as a barrier to reach equality for women. In the novel, we are given background to the character of Justine. Justine was provided with a higher education by the Frankensteins, however, what is said about her are things like, “Justine was the most grateful little creature in the world” (pg 84)  A “creature” has the connotation of an animal, which when describing a sentient human, is seen as a form of degradation. Even though she has an education, she is viewed as inferior compared to the wealthy. An education is supposed to make a person be held to a higher standard, yet her title of servant still defines her. Furthermore, the Frankenstein’s contradict themselves as they continue to mention that a servant in Geneva is different from England and France as they state that they are not mistreated, nor belittled rather they are seen as humans and a part of the family. The Frankenstein’s state “Justine, thus received in our family, learned her duties as a servant; a condition which, in our fortunate country, does not include the idea of ignorance, and a sacrifice of the dignity of human being” (pg 66), this means that even with a status of “servant,” Justine should be treated humanely, yet the complete opposite is seen. Justine is called a creature. The social class defines who you are regardless of education or geographic location. Wollstonecraft argues that if the class structure is not changed, those with wealth decide what class is and how gender is perceived. She is killed without a trail, she is told that she will be excommunicated from the Catholic Church which ultimately leads her to states that she committed the crime. 

Levit Martinez Arias

Mary Wollstonecraft challenges the popular concept of beauty put forth in Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France 1790 in her A Vindication of the Rights of Man, illustrating how its idealizations of complacency and silence, in all people not just women, creates an ugly society that makes it difficult for individuals to fight for their grievances. The consequences of its preservation are manifested during Justine Moritz’s trial in Frankenstein where Justine’s confession speaks volumes about established societal pressure to conform and let others have the victory. Wollstonecraft argues that in order to incite change, one must make themselves and their demands heard, even if it means breaking from “beautiful” social values and being demonized. In contrast to Burke, it is insinuated that there is beauty in being vocal and disagreeing with the tenets of the ruling society instead of submitting to their rules and beliefs. Wollstonecraft states, “Weak minds are always timid. And what can equal the weakness of mind produced by servile flattery, and the vapid pleasures that neither hope nor fear seasoned?” (Wollstonecraft 49). One cannot be complacent and stand by the actions of government or other high members of society when they, along with others in their community, are personally affected by their laws and unjust practices. If the impoverished French population during the late 1700s would have stayed silent about their suffering instead of revolting, just to be a part of an imbalanced utopia that favored the rich and be “beautiful,” law-abiding citizens, they would have never made their power and demands evident to the thriving French aristocracy, much less overthrow them. Instead they demonstrated the beauty of defying government and fighting for one’s right to be acknowledged as an individual and their rights.

Justine, unfortunately, submits to the latter philosophy when she confesses that she murdered William, even though she did not and makes her conviction and execution certain. She later regrets her decision as she tells Elizabeth, “I confessed that I might obtain absolution; but now that falsehood lies heavier in my heart than all my other sins” (Shelley 83). This moment indicates that Justine wants to achieve absolution not only by God and secure a place in heaven, since the confessor would not excommunicate her, but also be absolved by society by complying with the court’s agenda and not putting up a fight to clear her name. She simply agrees with the accusations and hoped for the rest to solve itself. Rather than embrace the beauty of agency and rebellion that would come with vocally rejecting the claims against her and asserting her innocence Justine “commits [her] cause to the justice of [her] judges” (Shelley 80) and allows the court to have all the authority in the matter. As a result, she maintains beauty in the aspect of social order and submission to government but at a great, fatal cost.

-Wendy Gutierrez

By: Katherine Hernandez

Political writer, Mary Wollstonecraft depicts the nature of humanity on the basis of genders.  In the novel Frankenstein, the reader is exposed to the death of many characters, both men and women, however none of these question social justice quite as much as the death of Justine. Despite not being the main character Justine’s death impacts Victor’s moral compass in a detrimental way. The fact that Justine is portrayed in such an innocent manner leads her to confess to a crime that she doesn’t commit. Wollstonecraft makes the direct distinction of explaining how women are seen as “little smooth, delicate [and] fair creatures” (47) by nature, thus showing how Justine’s word means nothing to the eyes of humanity because women are regarded as beautiful beings instead of humans who have their own way of thinking. This displacement of equality shows the death of social justice in the novel. Women are not given a platform from which to speak, they are in a sense, soulless creatures whose purpose is to beautify and balance the world we live in. Women are confined to certain molds during the era of the French Revolution and because of these roles, they are not able to express their human desire, unlike men. Women are expected to sit there and look pretty. And that is exactly the role Justine is forced to take; because of the prejudices of this era Justine’s thoughts, emotions and once is worth nothing because of the stigma that women are not capable of having such coherent stream of consciousness.  As regarded by Wollstonecraft, the only way to make a “glorious change [is to] produce [a sense of] liberty..” (48) This liberty is never given to Justin; Victor had the chance to provide this sense of liberty for her but he’d rather coward in his own fear than provide a platform for an innocent women to tell her truth.