Mary Shelley: Achieving Excellence Through Her Sorrows

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Mary Shelley: Achieving Excellence Through Her Sorrows

Influenced greatly by her mother and father, two of the greatest radical literary writers of the eighteenth century, Mary Shelley was predestined to be equally as moving and thought provoking as her parents. The death of her mother at her birth and Mary's tumultuous, unhappy childhood thereafter, and trying to find comfort in the distraught father and wretched step-mother who excluded her, fueled the sorrowful yet powerful tone for many of her fictions. The lack of a nuclear, loving family compelled Mary to desire the life of those who had what her family was unpredictable in giving. Shelley's longing for emotional happiness and strength forged its way into her novels as underlying themes; she also stigmatized the negative impact on what happens to those unwilling to show such emotion (Mellor xii). Her most famous novel, Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus, is the prime example of her depressing life. In it, she discussed what happened to those who had extremely unappreciative versus understanding parents and how their lives were thus affected. Mary's father's dismissal of her in her early teenage years, only to please her wretched step-mother, further depressed the young writer. Her disconnected adolescence and the questionable morality of her actions as an adult provided source for many novels she wrote, rousing contempt from some of her contemporaries and praise from others. Without the hardships of her childhood, periodic depressions, and support and encouragement from her husband, Percy Shelley, Mary would not have been capable of producing such a thought provoking, intellectual novel as Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus.

Mary Godwin was born to Mary Wollstonecraft, considered to be the first feminist, and William Godwin, an active atheist in Catholic Europe, on August 30, 1797. Less than two weeks later her mother died of puerperal septicemi

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