Tag Archive: Wollstonecraft


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

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.

In all honesty, I was throughly confused in trying to apply Mary Wollstencraft to Justine’s death. I’m confused as I write this and I will probably be confused when we discuss these blog posts in class. My confusion stems from Justine’s representation. Yes, Justine stands for Justice but what kind of Justice? Is it the Justice System or the moral concept? Taking Mary Wollstencraft’s ides on the French revolution and monarchy we see that she would approve of the hanging of the system of justice but not the hanging of concept of justice.

The System: If we use the justice system to represent a larger sector of 19th century power, Justine no longer stands only for the prisons and judicial parts of government, but the monarchy as a whole. An ardent believer in republican government calls the French Revolution a “glorious chance” to “more virtue and happiness than has hitherto blessed our globe.” Here Wollstencraft is rejoicing in the upheaval of the French monarchy  and lend the same enthusiasm to the hanging of Justine as a representation of and unjust justice system. But what if Justine represents Justice as a moral concept? If this is the case then Wollstencraft would not approve of the hanging of Justine because in her eyes real justice is always possible.

But wait….there’s more

What if Justine represents both? If this is true she is a (no longer walking) contradiction and I just got a lot more confused.