Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: re-conceptualizing the politics of recognition Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Knight, Amber
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Patchen Markell critiques the political pursuit of recognition in the book Bound by Recognition. In this thesis, I respond directly to Markell's critique in order to rethink, rather than abandon, the political pursuit of recognition through a textual interpretation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I read Frankenstein as an exemplary tale of the struggle for identity recognition, wherein Victor Frankenstein's Creature-- his famous Monster-- attempts to un-monster himself by demanding that others recognize his positively affirmed self-identity as a kind and feeling friend. Ultimately, the tragedy of Frankenstein is that the Creature cannot see himself as anything other than a monster--he is never afforded the recognition he desperately desires. Contra Markell, however, I argue that the Creature's pursuit of recognition fails because he cannot single-handedly overcome the asymmetrical power relations that underlie the social construction of identity, and that are reinforced through the construction of his identity as monster.
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  • In Copyright
  • Lienesch, Michael
  • Open access

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