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

Flashcards in Motherhood Deck (5)
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1

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.

2

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.

3

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

4

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.

5

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