Contents Index


Although there have been several deaths already confronted in the novel -- those of Walton's cousin (Letter 1.3), of Caroline's father (1.1.2), and of Elizabeth's mother (1.1.3) -- this is the first that is not simply reported, but is enacted before the reader. That Caroline's death is a consequence of selfless nurture suggests that this is an expectation of women that is not without danger. Mary Shelley could not have failed to recognize that, in focusing so sharply on the death of Caroline Frankenstein as being brought on by her stepdaughter, she was in some sense rehearsing the death of her own mother Mary Wollstonecraft following her birth. Critics have likewise traced the novel's twin emphases on responsibility and guilt to this crucial biographical detail.