The Ghost of a Self: Female Identity in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Dickerson, V. D. Journal of Popular Culture, 27(3):79--91, 1993.
The Ghost of a Self: Female Identity in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
This article explores the female identity in Mary Shelley's literary fiction, Frankenstein. In this novel where narcissistic males like Walton and Victor tend to be the scientists, the doers, the literalizers who dominate the story, the selfless, ethereal and unscientific women in the novel are practically transparent if not invisible. Like ghosts, the females in the novel are quintessentially ambiguous figures: present but absent, morally animate angels, but physically and politically inanimate mortals. Indeed, Frankenstein, is a complex ghost story, the specters of which are the female characters whose spiritual and often passive role in the novel is such that the women are suspended in a shadow realm of powerlessness and potential power that ultimately skews their identity. The characterization of Justine Moritz is representative of the condition of the Frankensteinian women. Her position as a servant who is unjustly executed for the murder of little William Frankestein capsulizes and punctuates the condition and fate of Caroline and Elizabeth who nurture and love unto death. Nursing Elizabeth, Caroline contracts scarlet fever and dies; having married Frankenstein, Elizabeth is killed on her wedding night when the monster decides to destroy the thing dearest to Victor. Caroline, Justice and Elizabeth are all powerless outsiders made powerless by their angelicalness. There are more tellingly the progenitors of ghosts who will haunt the supernatural tales of later 19th-century women writers. In their paleness, suffering, spirituality, their comparative powerlessness and inactivity, these female figures acquire a spectral presence Shelley treats with some ambivalence.
@article{ dickerson_ghost_1993,
  title = {The {Ghost} of a {Self}: {Female} {Identity} in {Mary} {Shelley}'s {Frankenstein}},
  volume = {27},
  issn = {00223840},
  shorttitle = {The {Ghost} of a {Self}},
  url = {http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=9406160333&site=ehost-live},
  abstract = {This article explores the female identity in Mary Shelley's literary fiction, Frankenstein. In this novel where narcissistic males like Walton and Victor tend to be the scientists, the doers, the literalizers who dominate the story, the selfless, ethereal and unscientific women in the novel are practically transparent if not invisible. Like ghosts, the females in the novel are quintessentially ambiguous figures: present but absent, morally animate angels, but physically and politically inanimate mortals. Indeed, Frankenstein, is a complex ghost story, the specters of which are the female characters whose spiritual and often passive role in the novel is such that the women are suspended in a shadow realm of powerlessness and potential power that ultimately skews their identity. The characterization of Justine Moritz is representative of the condition of the Frankensteinian women. Her position as a servant who is unjustly executed for the murder of little William Frankestein capsulizes and punctuates the condition and fate of Caroline and Elizabeth who nurture and love unto death. Nursing Elizabeth, Caroline contracts scarlet fever and dies; having married Frankenstein, Elizabeth is killed on her wedding night when the monster decides to destroy the thing dearest to Victor. Caroline, Justice and Elizabeth are all powerless outsiders made powerless by their angelicalness. There are more tellingly the progenitors of ghosts who will haunt the supernatural tales of later 19th-century women writers. In their paleness, suffering, spirituality, their comparative powerlessness and inactivity, these female figures acquire a spectral presence Shelley treats with some ambivalence.},
  number = {3},
  urldate = {2015-09-25TZ},
  journal = {Journal of Popular Culture},
  author = {Dickerson, Vanessa D.},
  year = {1993},
  keywords = {CRITICISM, FEMININE identity, FRANKENSTEIN: Complete, Authoritative Text With Biographical, Historical \& Cultural Contexts, Critical History \& Essays From Contemporary Critical Perspectives (Book), Gender identity, MIMESIS in literature, WOMEN'S roles, Women in literature},
  pages = {79--91}
}
Downloads: 0