The Representation of Women in Jane Eyre and Frankenstein

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In Frankenstein, there seems to be a continuous struggle for the women characters however the author appears to be very specific in considering independence for women, in the sense, not woman character is likely to decide and act independently like that of Jane Eyre. There remains a lack of action from the part of women characters, whereas in Jane Eyre women characters take the leading as well as challenging position representing their presence in the novel as active. However, the passive nature of the female characters adheres more closely to what would typically be expected of them, as both Elizabeth and Frankenstein’s mother are portrayed as wonderful but nevertheless altogether dependent on the men for provision. It is possible that Shelley felt that too many radical positions in the book might alienate the very audience she was attempting to influence, observes Shader [2002]. There is one final female character in the book. Frankensteins servant Justine, who is possibly the ideal picture of women in the book. However, the character of Justine has been criticized only as a failure. Elizabeth describes her softness and winning mildness, while Frankenstein calls her frank-hearted and happy. It is interesting to note that one woman praises another for her passiveness, and indeed, it is this passive nature that is typical of women in the book and particularly prominent in Justine. Even in the face of the greatest injustice, Justine submits to the judicial system, saying, I must be condemned, although I would pledge my salvation on my innocence. Shader [2002] Another pattern that both Anne Mellor in The Female in Frankenstein and William Veeder in Frankenstein: Self-Division and Projection discuss is that of name symbolism, which reinforces Victor Frankenstein’s hubris in trying to eliminate the female as he attempts to win eternal fame as the founder of a new line of superhuman.