Romantic Era Novels: How did Women Writers Refashion the Grand Self and Embrace Feminism?
The romantic atmosphere is ideal for recognizing women as deserving equals. In this period, the feminist writings was brought and create a debate on the merits of women’ rights. A surge of women began writing and expressing themselves through novels and other literary works, such as Mary Shelley, Jane Austen. The feminist novels have tested the central “I” of women and also have shaken up gender roles of men. The female writers focused on the moral and ideological issues arising out of daily life and basic human relationships, and they advocate for female equality during romantic period fought to ...view middle of the document...
In this essay, we are going to discuss how Shelley and Austen came to embrace feminism in their novels.
The novel Frankenstein is written in a time in which women were taught how to dance and paint but were not introduced to philosophy, politics and history, etc. In Frankenstein, Shelley involves the female characters in traditional positions to reinforce classic stereotypes. As Jana Brueske pointed out, this novel emphasize on “the repression of women in private and public and that it criticizes the patriarchal role and dominating position of men.”(Brueske, 2009) This novel not only portrays female and male relationships, which also reveals the rights female characters have and the way they are viewed with those rights. In fact, feminism and feminist themes subtly pervade the entire novel though the characters or development. The passive female characters who suffer throughout the novel such as Elizabeth and Justine are portrayed as both the victim of Frankenstein’s flaw. Elizabeth, who is died because of the monster, is described inside of the submissive and reactive female role. She is helpless and cannot be able to defend herself without the help of man. Meanwhile, the monster in his letter to victor said:
“You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being.” (Shelley, 1819)
From the monster’s words, it can be concluded that women play passive and reactionary roles in the society. Meanwhile, the marriage between Elizabeth and Frankenstein is just "the dictate of Frankenstein's own free choice". Elizabeth puts value on Frankenstein's wishes more than her own and she obviously lacks an outright form of power. In Frankenstein’s dialogue with his father that discussed and agreed on the marriage without consulting with the bride Elizabeth, his father asked:
“Tell me, therefore, whether you object to an immediate solemnization of the marriage.”(Shelley, 1819)
Though Elizabeth is full of "sensibility and intellect", to victor and his family, she's just a beautiful piece of property and a pretty present. From this point, Shelley argues that men have a substantial amount of control over their female relations. This novel has a detrimental effect on equality between the sexes. Shelley points to the negative aspects of the static female role through the destruction of Elizabeth and Justine. Moreover, like Elizabeth, the character Arabian Safie also has little power on her own marriage, which reflects the passive qualities of women in society. In fact, Shelley not just criticizes the patriarchal role and dominating position of men, she parallels the secrets of nature that Frankenstein had discovered with the ability of women to give birth. The ability of Frankenstein to give life to the monster which belongs to women is portrayed to emphasize on the significant role of women. Shelley also reveals the dangers of egotistical self-absorption of the character Frankenstein. From another point...