Victor Frankenstein isn’t a scientist- he’s a fashion designer. He describes “the flannel” shirt from which his Gothic narrations in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, fixate death. “…but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death,” (60). He is concerned with color palettes in seeing the abstract concept of death as becoming a particular tone. The kissing gesture of love is further described by the prototypical, industrial fashionista as an imprint, logo or steam-ironed patch emblazoned onto the possessive pronoun representation of the feminine body. My statement, some may say, is outlandish. Of course, Victor is a scientist, but consider Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny,” which suggests why Victor will have a hard time on the psychoanalytic therapy couch:

“I think, that the feeling of something uncanny is directly attached to the figure of the Sand-Man, that is, to the idea of being robbed of one’s eyes, and that Jentsch’s point of an intellectual uncertainty has nothing to do with the [uncanny]. Uncertainty whether an object is living or inanimate […] is quite irrelevant in connection with this other, more striking instance of uncanniness,” (Freud 423).

Freud’s view of uncertainty thus opens up the space for reading the Postcolonial implications of Victor Frankenstein’s dream sequence. “…I thought I held my dead mother in my arms,” (60) indicates desire, mourning, the familial. While Freud’s definition of the uncanny fantasizes on images and dispositions of academic insufficiency and intellectual blindness, Victor himself becomes empowered in Shelley’s precursor to this very theory of uncertainty. Victor describes images of women transforming into other women, from which Victor establishes his own sense of being: he is familiar with Elizabeth, he is unable to communicate with his mother directly, and he describes insects emerging from cloth, “crawling in the folds of the flannel,” (60). The signifying of Victor’s dream as a criticism known as Postcolonialism creates in Shelley’s work the foundation for an Althusserian Marxist reading which complement Freud’s discussion on false perceptions. Shelley in her verification of Victor’s character in what Freud has previously defined as “frightening precisely because it is not known and familiar,” (Freud 418) confirms the unattainable space which concretizes for readers images of death that call for contemporary readers an emphasis on postcolonial treatment of the text.

We call death the great unknown, and Victor too, like you and I, makes sense of his family members’ deaths subjectively. We live and learn through experiences which are often tragic, and I think that Victor’s inability to simply express his mother’s death creates in him a psychical production that presents fashion industry terminology, and in consequence, re-duplicates the uncanny effect. The flannel, the imprint, and “the wildest dream,” (60) are indicators of a psychoanalysis which is deemed insufficient in explaining the fictional character’s anachronistic interpretations. Freud is the thinker from the future which Mary Shelley herself has addressed with one hundred years’ worth of preparations, the portrayal of a subjugation to imaginative rationalizing of Victor’s relationship to women other than his mother. The reader is positioned at a distance from this Gothic novel production of Victor’s dressing his mother’s deceased corpse in clothing reminiscing the 1990’s Grunge rock music, fashion statement- in aesthetic replication of the Freudian conceit which analyzes formulations of Shelley’s world of political upheaval in Frankenstein. Postcolonial implications in Frankenstein’s dream sequence rely on the very deceptions which place readers at a distance from fully sympathizing with Victor, the scientist.

-Bradley Dexter Christian