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‘Filthy creation’: the Problem of Parenting in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Debapriya Goswami

Assistant Professor of English, Department of Basic Science and English, NSHM Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Durgapur. Orcid: 0000-0002-6801-0083. Email: dg81186@gmail.com

  Volume 10, Number 2, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n2.20

Abstract

This paper is an attempt to bolster the relevance of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein by engaging contemporary bioethical discourses on procreation and parenting. It claims that, besides being a celebrated science fiction for the last two centuries, the novel bears pensive suggestions on parenthood. Exploring the ways in which the creature suffers in the hands of its creator, the paper argues that Frankenstein anticipates the need for an ethics of parenthood. The paper discusses the deficiency in Frankenstein’s parenting, as it seeks to reread his position vis-à-vis his creation. In recent times, parenthood and procreation have been a major bioethical concern. By presenting the views of contemporary philosophers on parenthood, the paper unfolds Shelley’s ingenuity in staging the disturbing ramifications of imprudent parenting on children as early as in the nineteenth century. The paper, hence, is an effort to underscore the contemporaneity of Shelley’s ideas on parental choices which she proficiently enfolds in the narrative of a gothic fiction.

Keywords: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, parenting, bioethics, procreation.

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