Frankenstein And English Romanticism
The literary world embraced English romanticism when it began to emerge and was
so taken by its elements that it is still a beloved experience for the reader of
today. Romanticism "has crossed all social boundaries," and it was during
the seventeenth and eighteenth century, it found its way into almost every niche
in the literary world (Lowy 76). From the beginning of its actuality,

"romanticism has forged its way through many eras including the civil war"
(Hall 44). Literature such as "the famous Gone With The Wind was a good
example of romanticism in that era because it had many of the required
qualities" but there were others that were even more clear as English

Romanticism pieces (Hall 44). There are very few works that have a more accurate
portrayal and proof of the importance of English romanticism than Mary

Shelley’s Frankenstein. While later versions of the stories depicted a central
theme of a helpless monster caught in the fears of society the actual depiction
of the original work was based more closely on the English romantic that was so
popular at the time. The importance of emotions and feelings were paramount
during the era of English romanticism. In addition autobiographical material was
extremely popular. All of these qualities were present in Mary Shelley’s

Frankenstein including a third and vital underpinning of romanticism, the
innocence and exaltation of the common man. An important element of romanticism
is the use of flowing feelings. During this time period, men as well as women
were full of raw emotions in literary works. They would freely vent their most
anguished thoughts and worries. This was evident in several of the chapters in

Shelley’s portrayal of the life of the monster and the people he encountered.

One of the finest examples of romanticism is when the monster who we must
remember is only learning emotions for the first time runs from the cottage
after startling the occupants. Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in
that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so
wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my
feelings were those of rage and revenge. (Shelley 746) This passage demonstrates
feelings that were a common theme during the Romanticist era, the monster was in
pain and cursing the day he was created. Another important element of
romanticism is the connection of the author to the story. The autobiographical
nature of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is at first not openly obvious as it is
in many other literary works. One could ask, how a book about a monster could
have anything to do with the real life of the author, but if we peel the top
layer away and look closely at the undercurrent that is throughout the
monster’s story it becomes clear that "Victor Frankensteins creation is
symbolic of Mary Shelley’s life" (Caprio). Shelley’s mother left her at an
early age by dying. She had been Shelley’s creator in much the same manner
that Dr. Frankenstein had been the monster’s creator. When the creator of the
monster turned his back on him and deserted him he was forced out into the
world, much as a small child in that he had limited exposure to anything outside
the former security of his home. Shelley too, "was thrust into the world, when
her mother died; the difference is that she was an actual child while the
monster was a mental and emotional child" (Hamberg). This uses two of the
needed ingredients for romanticism, autobiographical ideas and imagery. The book
may also be a representation of a fear of childbirth felt by the author. This
would not be surprising given that her own mother died giving birth to Shelley.

It would explain the monster’s creation and in fact the very reason he is a
monster at all. Shelley may have viewed herself as a monster who was so hideous
that she killed her own mother being born. This would fit right in with the
autobiographical themes that were so prevalent during the English Romanticism
era of that period (Caprio). In addition one of the side themes of the book may
have been about creation and the painful things creation can cause. Just as

Frankenstein did not ask to be created yet lived with the pain that his creation
cause, Shelley never asked to be born, yet had to live with the pain that her
birth caused, not only herself but her family that was robbed of a loved one.

The book examines the