“Pursuing nature to her hiding-places” : gothic ecofeminism in Frankenstein
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This paper explores Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as a text that deconstructs the binaries of identity; through the introduction of “gothic ecofeminism” as a critical approach, the productive use of a spectrum of identity is exposed. Overlapping strands of ecocritical and feminist concerns are prevalent throughout the text, but by themselves these approaches affirm Victor as a “human” and the creature as “non-human,” and Victor as “male” and the creature as “not-quite male,” reifying the binary opposites which create conflict between the two characters. With the addition of gothic theory, one notes that fear comes from the attempt to break down traditional duality. Fear of transgression is only diminished when Victor and the creature view themselves not as opposites, but as two points on a scale of masculinity and femininity, nature and artifice, human and inhuman; the creature becomes relatable to Victor when his identity is accepted not as the subordinate of a binaric hierarchy, but as a complex system of identity markers, made visible by a spectrum of gothic ecofeminism.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorVargo, Lisa M.
Copyright DateOctober 2011