This powerpoint is a starter for an activity designed to encourage students to seek out relevant quotations with regards to key themes or characters. In this case I have put 13 slides together to consider the presentation of the female in the novel. It is not meant to be complete, but is to be used in a lesson to initiate discussion.
I have looked at the thread linking Caroline, Elizabeth and Agatha – all representing the “Angel in the House”, a title derived from Coventry Patmore’s poem of that name (exerpt):
Man must be pleased; but him to please
Is woman’s pleasure; down the gulf
Of his condoled necessities
She casts her best, she flings herself.
How often flings for nought, and yokes
Her heart to an icicle or whim,
Whose each impatient word provokes
Another, not from her, but him;
While she, too gentle even to force
His penitence by kind replies,
Waits by, expecting his remorse,
With pardon in her pitying eyes;
And if he once, by shame oppress’d,
A comfortable word confers,
She leans and weeps against his breast,
And seems to think the sin was hers;
Or any eye to see her charms,
At any time, she’s still his wife,
Dearly devoted to his arms;
She loves with love that cannot tire;
And when, ah woe, she loves alone,
Through passionate duty love springs higher,
As grass grows taller round a stone.
Also,I wanted to draw attention to the exotic nature of Safie – so unlike the others in appearance and passion and not part of the typical patriarchal Geneva-set.
I begin with Margaret Saville – denied a voice in the text and presented as Walton’s sounding board, yet given a clear personality at the very opening of the book.
There are a couple of passages here to make students reflect on the nature of Frankenstein’s relationship with Clerval. I compare the reaction to his death with that of Elizabeth and also the brief character description of Elizabeth and Clerval as children – so clearly praising of the male friend and dismissive (though understanding) of the female.