Anne Mellor "Possessing Nature: The Female in Frankenstein"
** Homework Questions ** 355:
Explain: "By stealing the female's control over
has eliminated the female's primary biological function and
source of cultural
What evidence does Mellor provide to support
her claim that "Frankenstein's implicit goal" is
"creating a society
for men only" (355)?
In what ways is it true that Caroline Beaufort "incarnates a
ideal of female self-sacrifice" (357)?
How is it true that "women cannot function effectively in the
How is the De Lacey family "an alternative social
organization" (357)? How are they "a
social group based on justice, equality, and mutual affection"
How is Frankenstein "Mary Shelley's political
critique of a society
founded on the unequal distribution of power and possessions"
How does this critique contain "the suggestion that the
the public realm of feminine affections and compassion has
of this social evil" (358)?
According to Mellor, what causes Victor to end creation of
What, according to Mellor, is Victor's "most profound erotic
desire" (362)? How is this different from what she considers
Victor's "most potent desire" (363)?
Explain: "Mary Shelley envisions Nature as a sacred
in which human beings ought to participate in conscious
Other Discussion Questions: 356:
Explain: "As a consequence of this sexual
division of labor,
masculine work is kept outside of the domestic realm;
activity is segregated from emotional activity" (356).
What are the consequences of this division?
How does Safie represent Mary Wollstonecraft? How does
she represent Mary Shelley herself?
How is his destruction of the female creature a "violent
Explain: "Uninhibited female sexual experience
threatens the very
foundation of patriarchal power" (361).
Explain the reference to Fuseli's "The Nightmare"
(See image above).
Explain: "In place of a normal heterosexual
Elizabeth, Victor Frankenstein substituted a homosexual
his creature" (363).
How, according to Mellor, does Nature
"resist" and "revenge" herself upon Victor's attempts
to "rape" her?
How, according to Mellor, does Nature use
electricity to secure this revenge?
Explain: "As an ecological system of interdependent
Nature requires the submission of the individual ego to the
the family and the larger community" (366).
Explain: "Where men have tended to identify moral
laws as abstract
principles that clearly differentiated right from wrong, women
to see moral choice as imbedded in an ongoing shared life"
How, according to Mellor, are the De Laceys "an archetype of
the egalitarian, benevolent, and
mutually loving nuclear family" (367)?
Explain: "Frankenstein's failure to maintain keeping,
preserve 'a calm and peaceful mind' (p. 51), is thus in Mary
eyes both a moral and an aesthetic failure, resulting directly
in the creation
of a hideous monster" (368).