Mary Shelley and Frankenstein

Everyone knows about the haunting tale of Frankenstein. It is a story about a scientist who creates an artificial man. The man then escapes and seeks revenge. I didn’t think much about the story until recently when I stumbled on a new movie coming out titled “Mary Shelley.”


I never realized who the author of Frankenstein was, let alone that it was a woman. I’ve never read the book; I just know the story. After watching the trailer and reading some of the comments, I saw that some people thought her story was far more interesting than Frankenstein itself. I decided to do my own research on Mary Shelley, and now I am far more interested in watching her story come to life.


  • Movie portrayal: Elle Fanning, one of my favorite actresses, is depicting Mary Shelley in the movie. I am thrilled that she got such a feminist role. Fanning is incredibly young, and Shelley was only twenty-one when she had written the famous Frankenstein. Her story is known to be one of the first science-fiction novels.


  • Feminism, feminism, feminism: Mary Shelley is a role model to feminists. Her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft, who was the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Wollstonecraft was one of the earliest figures who argued for equal rights. Wollstonecraft, sadly, died only ten days after giving birth to Shelley.


  • Percy Shelley: The man Shelley fell in love with was married already. Even after his wife died and they eloped, Mary Shelley’s father did not agree to their marriage. Consequently, he didn’t speak to his daughter for a full year. In the end, the marriage had lots of problems. You know the saying: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”


  • Summer of 1816: Shelley admits in her book in the preface that her main goal was to just write a simple ghost story. It was a competition between her, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and Dr. John Polidori. The idea of Frankenstein was thought to be a “hideous progeny.” (Progeny means offspring, child, or baby.) This stands for a hideous baby or child, and knowing that Shelley’s first child died after just a few days after birth is critical to understanding the pain she was in while writing Frankenstein.


  • Loss of first child: Once Mary was with Percy, the two traveled in Europe together, but they struggled financially. In 1815, Mary’s first child died just a few days after being born. Many more of Shelley’s children struggled in their early days of life, and eventually passed on as well. Percy Florence was her only son that made it to adulthood.


  • Author of Frankenstein: The novel Frankenstein was published anonymously. I personally wonder if this had anything to do with Shelley being a female and writing a horror story. The introduction of the novel was written by Shelley’s husband, and it was for that reason that led many people to believe that he was the true writer of the story. Doesn’t that make you pissed?


  • Death: Percy Shelley died in 1822 by drowning while sailing with a friend. Shelley didn’t die until she was 53 in London, England.


You can get Mary Shelley starring Elle Fanning today! Personally, I can’t wait to see her play an icon that has gone through so much in her life despite what men have told her. Shelley has proved that women can write about horrors just as well as men can, while going through pain and loss at the same time. I am sad it took me this long to learn more about her, and I recommend doing your own research on her life as well.