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Mary Shelley - Creator of Frankenstein
By Brenda B. Covert
1 Tragedy seemed to stalk Mary Shelley from the time of her birth in August 1797. Her parents were William and Mary Godwin, two somewhat scandalous, radical-thinking writers in England. Though they were against marriage in general, they got married five months before their baby's birth. Eleven days after the baby Mary was born, her mother Mary died. That was just the first in a series of tragic events in her life that shaped the future author of Frankenstein.
2 Mary was raised in the midst of all kinds of writers. The year Mary turned ten, she published her first poem. That year her father married again. Mary didn't like her stepmother, who Mary said rivaled Cinderella's stepmother in her treatment of her stepdaughter. Mary ran away with a married man in 1814 when she was just sixteen years old. That man was the twenty-one year old poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. He left behind his daughter and his pregnant wife. He and Mary went to France and Switzerland. Mary's father was furious. In February 1815, Mary gave birth to a baby girl who died eleven days later. Later she dreamed about the child. She wrote: "Dreamt that my little baby came to life again - that it had only been cold and that we rubbed it before the fire and it lived." It was, perhaps, from this thought that the themes of birth, death, and creation she developed in Frankenstein began to form.
3 Mary gave birth to a boy in January of 1816. She was still not married to the baby's father. In the summer of 1816, Mary Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley were in Switzerland visiting the poet Lord Byron. When the weather turned stormy, they and Byron's other guests entertained themselves by reading aloud from a book of ghost stories. Byron challenged his guests to write their own ghost stories. At the age of eighteen, Mary began the short story that would later become the novel we know as Frankenstein.
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English Reading Comprehension: Mary Shelley - Creator of Frankenstein
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