to shelter her, as a fair exotic
An exotic Johnson, in his 1755 Dictionary, defines
simply as "A foreign plant." In modern parlance it would designate
a tropical, or non-hardy, botanical specimen. As the succeeding
sentences suggest, Caroline Frankenstein's fragile health, which
will lead to her early death, justifies such care. Today's reader is
likely to find such language offensive since intrinsically patronizing,
but it was a common occurence in the fiction, and the society, of
Mary Shelley's day and would have
drawn no particular attention to itself.
Yet, since gender roles are of continuing significance in the
development of the novel, this early emphasis on the traditional frailty
of the female physique is noteworthy.