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English Lit A Level: Frankenstein And THT > Motherhood > Flashcards

Flashcards in Motherhood Deck (5)
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what are the main points for the introduction?


Both authors present a distorted concept of motherhood that is shaped by external forces

complex presentation of motherhood in both novels

in THT: an exaggerated importance is placed upon the biological role of motherhood in the process of reproduction
- women are denied an active role within society
complicated by innate maternal longing displayed by Offred

in F: perversion of nature through F enacting both male and female roles in process of reproduction, usurps the role of the mother

a feminist reading is perhaps more explicit in THT, although Shelley prefigures feminism in her call for the need for women to play a more active role in society, her deification of the passive motherly values of abnegation in Mrs Frankenstein and Agatha complicates this.


What is the comparison for perverse form of sexual reproduction?


THT: ‘ceremony goes on as usual… grips… Commander fucks with a two-four marching stroke’
CONTEXT: The extract from the Old Testament in epigraph increasing right wing fundamentalism in America= Reagan= confluence of religion and state and the alarming effects this could have on even innate biological functions

whereas in Frankenstein it is distorted by science:

F: ‘after so much time spent in painful labour to arrive at the summit of my desire was the most gratifying consommation of my toils’
CONTEXT: Humphry Davy= Shelley evokes the same feeling of passion and ardour concerning scientific discovery with the horror it ensues= need for balance and restraint concerning science

COMPARISONS: Driven by outside force: F=science, THT= religion, F= 1 person, THT= 3, F= unnatural intensity of passion, THT devoid of passion

both causes oppression of females, F= female obsolete, THT= female given diminutive status.


what are the points for 2= the mother-child relationship?


Frankenstein: enacts both the male and female roles in process of reproduction, takes on responsibilities of both parents:

MULTIPLE NARRATIVE STRUCTURE: demonstrates the importance of parental care for the child and their development
CONTEXT: Romanticism and Rousseauain perspective of lack of a mother’s love on child= ‘Emile’
F’s rejection of monster: ‘one hand stretched out, seemingly as if to detain me’
Monster perceives himself as a monster: ‘ Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth… whom all men DISOWNED’

THT: narrative perspective is through the character of Offred, a grown woman, so depicts the reverse of the relationship and the need of the child for the woman/mother

‘she comes back to me at different ages’
- ‘face against soft hair at back of her neck’
contrasts horror of ‘as if to detain me’
‘ghost’= DISTORTED CHRONOLOGY and recurrence of visions and sequences demonstrates alarming effects and motherhood as an innate aspect of the female
CONTEXT: 20 years after 2nd wave feminist movement, Betty Friedan and others professed the need for women to free themselves from the stereotype of wives and mothers: Atwood does not contradict this, rather engages in the discourse surrounding the dialectic of motherhood in the late 20th century= more diverse


the nuclear family: traditional roles and conventional motherhood:


F: ‘she died calmly, and her countenance expressed affection even in death’
-Maria Idol, revered and deified
CONTEXT: fixation on traditional ideals of motherhood engendered by her lack of a mother growing up

THT: ‘Chin jutted out, drink out in front of her on the kitchen table… wiry… spunky’= Offred clings to the memories of her mother, despite her unconventional representation
Offred and Luke’s affair is viewed favourably to the dispassionate doctrinal religion of the Gilead regime

CONTEXT: Atwood critiques rise of right wing fundamentalism and renewed importance of traditional roles= motherhood as an innate human interaction not something dictated by expectations by society.


What are the topic sentences for Motherhood?

  1. ) sexual reproduction and the role enacted by the mother
  2. ) the importance of mother-child relationship
  3. ) the nuclear family: traditional roles and conventional motherhood