Contents Index

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.