Student Name Professor: English 212 Date: A Discussion of the Power of the Single Human Mind vs. the Power of Society In Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus The first edition of Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was published in 1918. It is the premise of this paper that Shelley was strongly influenced at the time she wrote her novel by the emerging philosophies characteristic of the period of Romanticism. It is the further premise of this paper that Frankenstein remains a literary example of the central values associated with Romanticism and its' emphasis on the importance and power of the single human mind in comparison to the power of society. This paper will initially present a brief overview of the core ideals of the periods of Romanticism and Enlightenment in order to provide a basis for understanding the influences that led Shelley to emphasize the power of the individual as she wrote Frankenstein.
Subsequently, quotes from the text will be used to demonstrate evidence of Shelley's focus on the power of the individual mind in her development of two of the main characters within the novel.
As Patterson suggests in his response to the genre best describing Frankenstein, Shelley's novel was representative of gothic novels popular during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and influenced by the literary movement of Romanticism. As he further explains in his discussion of the sources which influenced Shelley in her writing of Frankenstein, romanticism emerged in Britain and Europe in fierce response to the intellectual period of Enlightenment as well as the revolutions in America and France and the wars for independence in Greece, Poland and Spain that were occurring at that time.
In order to understand the degree to which Shelley emphasized the power...