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First Place, 2013-2014 Best Gateway Essay Contest

Gateway Professor: Adam Woodis, German, Russian & Asian Languages

Abstract

My paper discusses the impact that Mary Shelley’s theistic views and the science of her time had on the writing of Frankenstein. Her Christian ideals helped her to shape the character of Victor and play out the consequences of his actions. She discusses many questions about the human soul and the afterlife in her novel. Using writings from her diary, it is clear that Shelley was a very dedicated Christian and believed absolutely in the presence of an eternal soul. A large theme in the story is the question of whether or not the Creature has a soul and, if so, where he received it from. Shelley was also very interested in the science of her time and her story is full of examples of the most up to date technology such as the interest in electricity. Shelley took the interest in electricity and took it to its furthest reaches by using it to reanimate a corpse in her story. She also discusses the current debate on whether or not science should medal so intricately with human life. Shelley makes many comparisons between the Christian God and Victor Frankenstein by contrasting how they handle their situations and the love they feel for their creations. Victor is appalled by his Creature and leaves it to fend for itself. Frankenstein contains an incredible mix of theistic principles and scientific questions both of which Shelley was very passionate about.

Disciplines

English Language and Literature | Rhetoric and Composition

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