The Misunderstanding of Being Postcolonialism

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American lawyer Loretta Lynch said Everyone wants to be seen. Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to be recognized as the person that they are and not a stereotype or an image.

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A chance to be heard can be considered a basic need as a human living on this planet. There have been people groups over the years that have not had their needs met in the area of communication, denied their right to be heard. Postcolonial literature is a way to give voice to those dealing with its aftermath. Its critics are concerned with literature produced by colonial powers and works produced by those who were/are colonized (Purdue).

Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus is an example of postcolonial literature. Struggles in the novel can be looked at as postcolonial in nature. What is just as important as looking at those examples is the question What is Mary Shelley trying to say? This essay will look at what postcolonialism means, the ways in which we find examples of it in Shelley’s novel, and what is at the root of all of it. I think that Shelley, much like the characters in her novel and the people affected by postcolonialism, just wanted to be heard and that’s why she wrote her novel.

Why did Mary Shelley write Frankenstein? That is certainly the million dollar question. That is, it is the question if you think that she is the one who wrote it. John Lauritsen, a writer and editor at Pagan Press, wrote a book in 2007 titled The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein, which explains why he believes that Mary’s husband Percy is the one who really wrote the novel.. In a letter to the editor published in The Chronicle Review, Lauritsen states that his research indicates that Mary had little imagination or talent for writing and that the only reason that part of the original manuscript (minus Percy’s revisions) was in her handwriting because he was dictating it to her.

Charles Robinson, an English professor at the University of Delaware published a version of Frankenstein in 2009 that had two versions side by side, one that included Percy’s notes, and one that didn’t. One of the reasons for his findings is the difference in handwriting styles. Lauritsen discredits this, however, and we’re back at square one. I’ve read non-scholarly conclusions during my research that Percy wrote it because Mary’s poor education level would be indicative of her talent level and thus be the reason she could not have been the author. This brings to mind the ongoing debate regarding the true authorship of Shakespeare’s works: to conclude that one could not write a work of such magnitude simply because of education level smacks of elitism.

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