Mary Shelley Essay

1179 words - 5 pages

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley was born on August 30, 1797 Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. The mother, Mary Wollstonecraft was an eighteenth century feminist and author of the renowned essay “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” (“Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) (1797-1851)”). The father, William Godwin, was a novelist and a political philosopher (“Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley”). Even though both parents objected to the institution of marriage, the married while Wollstonecraft was five months pregnant with Mary only to make their child be accepted in society (“Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) (1797-1851)”). Mary Wollstonecraft died due to childbirth complications ten days after Mary Shelley was born. Mary Wollstonecraft also had a child named Fanny Imlay from a previous relationship (“Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) (1797-1851)”).
Four years after Wollstonecraft’s death, William Godwin married a new wife. The Mrs. Godwin brought along her two children from a previous relationship into the newly formed marriage. Mrs. Godwin favored her children over Mary and Fanny. The lack of attention Mrs. Godwin gave to Mary made Mary discontented with her step mother (“Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) (1797-1851)”). Also Mary did not receive an education as prestigious as Mrs. Godwin’s daughters received. One of Mrs. Godwin’s daughters even was sent to boarding school to learn French, while Mary stayed home and received no encouragement from her stepmother to learn. Although Mary didn’t receive help from her stepmother, “she learned to read from … Godwin and his wife, and followed Godwin’s advice that the proper way to study was to read two to three books simultaneously” (“Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) (1797-1851)”). She was also able to use her father’s library which contained various genres of literature “as well as political, philosophical, scientific or literary conservations that Godwin conducted with such visitors as William Wordsworth, Charles Lamb, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Holcroft, John Johnson, Humphrey Davy, Horne Tooke and William Hazlitt” (“Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) (1797-1851)”). Mary was so intrigued by literature that she once “hid under the parlor sofa to hear Coleridge recite ‘The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner’, a poem which later haunted both Frankenstein (1818) and Falkner (1837).” Mary also read books written by her deceased mother. Her mother was a role model to her. Mary Shelley considered visiting her mother’s grave as her favorite spot. Here at this spot, Mary would read and write and talked with her future husband, named Percy Shelley (“Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley”).
Although Mary was not her stepmother’s favorite child, Mary was William Godwin’s child. He called her “pretty little Mary” (“Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley”). Mary was very attached to her father. Mary looked at her stepmother as the opposite of everything her birthmother was. Her stepmother was “conservative,...

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