Psyche of a Horror Novelist

The human mind is one of the most complex and mysterious things on the planet. One thing that is known, however, is that a person expresses themselves through art forms. Be it drawing, painting, music, or writing; a person’s artwork can give a glimpse into their life.

Whilst many popular artists portray scenes of joy or write about the happiness in life, others feel the need to cast a light on the wrongs and horrors of society. The horror genre dramatizes the evil in society often making it into a physical being, a monster, as opposed to the abstract concept. One prime example of this is the novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, this novel also exemplifies one’s personal life being shown in their artwork. The psyche of a horror novelist must be a dark place. Reading “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, the reader may often wonder where the grotesque ideas for a novel were obtained.

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When the reader discovers that Frankenstein’s monster is a compilation of corpses dug up from a graveyard, mutilated and then sewn back together, the reader wonders what type of tragedy occurred in the authors personal life that compels her to present readers with such a scarring mental image. The riddle is solved when the reader learns of the many personal tragedies Mary Shelley suffered. Raised without a mother, as hers died eleven days after childbirth, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was disowned by her only remaining parent after she eloped to France with Percy Bysshe Shelley. Of the four children the couple had only one lived past the age of three. In July, 1821 another tragedy struck and Mary’s husband drowned in the Gulf of Spezia at the age of 29.

Mary Shelley stated that the idea for “Frankenstein” came to her in a dream, and knowing of her unfortunate life, I would not underestimate the inner workings of her subconscious.