Samuel John Stump circa 1820
her early years, Mary Shelley went against the stereotypical
"Proper Lady" and discovered her own path.
Mary Shelley's upbringing, women were taught to be sweet,
pleasant, amiable, and to support and obey their husbands.
They were valued by their modesty and chastity and were supposed
to be completely ignorant of their sexuality. Shelley obviously
did not follow this formula. At the age of sixteen, she ran
off with radical Percy Bysshe Shelley, and traveled with him
Although she was shunned by her father and society, Shelley
drew inspiration while on these journeys to write her breakthrough
woman's contribution to society was believed to be self control
and morality. Many women were involved in the church through
practicing selfless activities where no masculine traits were
thought to be required. Vain, passionate, assertive, and opinionated
women were practically unheard of
these qualities were frowned upon in a woman. Instead, women
were valued by their loyalty to their man, their purity and
chastity, and their modesty. All of these innocent attributes
were to shine through their husband.
Mary Shelley eventually wed Percy Shelley, they were unmarried
and traveling together for a time before their marriage, completely
going against the norm of the time period. In addition to
this aspect of their unaccepted way of life, Percy was still
married when he and Mary ran off together. Definitely a scandal!
is interesting to note, however, that in the above painting,
Mary Shelley looks quite like a "Proper Lady." She
is proper, prim, slightly smiling, yet not revealing too much.
She looks pleasant, pretty, and one could even say a bit boring.
Shelley was not a "Proper Lady" in her early years.
Blessed with a sense of adventure and excitement, she chose
to venture outside of the stereotypical norm of the "Proper
Lady." Shelley upset her parents and ran off with Percy,
traveled through Europe, married, wrote a novel, had a child,
and was widowed all before she was twenty-five years old.
Mary Shelley was definitely an individual.
Mary Shelley defiant of society's expectations her whole life?
out in After Frankenstein!