Tag Archive: church


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

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.

For many, the church has been and was corrupt during the time of Mary Wollstonecraft. The Churches also hadn’t been tolerated, especially to Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary Wollstonecraft was a strong feminist and mother of Mary Shelley who also disagreed with the church. She for her time was a strong feminist.  She, like many believed that women were just seen as an object of beauty not one of intelligence or anything for that matter. Some of her experiences seemed to be translated into the novel Frankenstein.

In the novel, Justine was charged with the murder of  little William, before she had even went into trial. She was like a scapegoat. And I believe it was due to her being a female.  Even though she had nothing to do with it, she pled guilty in order to keep her “conscious clean” and to not go to hell. She was threatened so much by the church, that it got to the point that she was scared for her after life.  Since the church in the novel was corrupt, she was executed. All these events in the novel, correlated with Wollstonecraft’s views of the church, and how classes were distinguished.  Her being a women also had a part to do with it in my opinion. The Church may have seen her as weak.

 

Rigo Garcia

By Mahealani LaRosa

Mary Wollstonecraft vehemently speaks out against the church and stereotypical gender roles in her text A Vindication of the Rights of Men. She continuously says that she believes women are solely important in society for the way the look, and specifically for their beauty. However when she defines beauty, she says that it is not just a surface level idea. Men have convinced women “that littleness and weakness are the very essence of beauty” and that nature, by “making women little, smooth, delicate, fair creatures” has taken away their right to “exercise their reason” and “excite respect” (47). Women exist to only create “pleasing sensations” by being “uniform and perfect” (47). To Wollstonecraft, whether or not women are intelligent or have morals is unimportant in society. In relation to her criticism of a woman’s place in the world, she asks an important question: “Is hereditary weakness necessary to render religion lovely?” (50). The radical feminist is saying that the connotated weakness that comes with the the idea of beauty also comes with religion. Ultimately, she says that “politics and morals, when simplified, would undermine religion and virtue” (59). And in society, women are not allowed to express their opinions surrounding politics or morals, because they are beautiful and weak, and “weakness and indulgence are the only incitements to love and confidence that you can discern” when “you love the church, your country, and its laws, you repeatedly tell us, because they deserve to be loved” (51). Overall, Wollstonecraft argues that to be beautiful is to be weak, and to be weak is to fear the church so greatly you believe it is love and devotion.

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Mary Wollstonecraft’s daughter, Mary Shelley, communicates some of these thoughts and opinions in her groundbreaking novel Frankenstein, especially in the characterization and life story of Justine. Justine is described as “frank-hearted and happy” and “the most grateful little creature in the world” (66). However, when she is accused of murder, her fear of the church and of God lead to her untrue confession and then to her unjust death. Over and over she says “God knows how entirely I am innocent” (80). She says that “the God of heaven forgive me!” and that that “God raises my weaknesses, and gives me courage to endure the worst” (83). Her complete trust in God is a sign of her weakness that is truly a sign of her fear.

Justine dupes herself into thinking she needs to be forgiven. She knows that she is innocent, but threats of damnation and hell scare her into confessing something she did not do. Because Justine is a woman, she is seen as weak and fearful by the men who run the church she obeys. She is an easy target because her beauty and innocence and terror end up ruining her in the end. Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, mother and daughter, both show that beauty should not be a characteristically defining trait. If Justine had based her confession off of her morals and her education and had been respected by the men who ran her church, she would have been found innocent. After further discussion, I still believe Wollstonecraft does a fantastic job calling out the issues in society and in various societal systems, and these thoughts and opinions ae translated very well into Shelley’s Frankenstein, especially in the scene of the death of Justine, or more accurately, the death of Justice, for women and for all.

 

 

 

Mary Wollstonecraft’s text highlights her intolerance for the church as well as the classifications of class and rank in society. In regards to women and their treatment, she is dissatisfied because they are valued more through the idea of beauty than through their intelligence or morals.  Her views are intertwined and seen in her daughter’s novel Frankenstein, specifically through the character Justine and her unjust death. In order to understand Justine’s situation we must remember that Victor’s creature is the one who framed her for his crime. This supports Wollstonecraft’s view that men can’t be trusted and only care about themselves since they are “men who have no titles to sacrifice,” (49) The creature loathed Justine because she was beautiful and normal, which overshadowed the fact that she was of low status. Where was chivalry when Justine could have been saved by Victor’s confession or when the creature was planning to escape the consequences if his own crime? It was nowhere because the men valued themselves more than an innocent woman. frankenstein08.jpg (560×777)

Justine reveals that she is threatened with “excommunication and hell fire in her last moments.” (83) by her confessor. Here we can see how Justine is being deeply influenced by the church, so much that she fears what will come after death more than being charged for a crime or the act of death itself. She has been made to believe her life is meaningless if she does not conform to the ways of the church, when in reality the church is nothing but a group of over religious men who do as they please. Being aware of her innocence is not enough to keep her safe. However, it’s easy to see that if she were a man, Victor for example, her guilt would have been immediately questioned if charged with murder. In contract to Justine, Victor was an intelligent, educated man…to most. As a woman with no outstanding education or valued status, it was easy to place the crime on Justine. In relation to Wollstonecraft’s views, now that Justine’s beauty was tainted she was of no use to the church or society, even though her good reputation from Elizabeth and little education should have been enough to save her from injustice in a fair society.

By Galilea Sanchez