Initially, before our class went to Wilson library I did not think that I was going to be as intrigued by this visit as I ended up being. The first book that I observed in the collection was the paperback version of Frankenstein published in 1983. What drew me to this particular book was the brightly colored cover that showed a large graphic of a women lying on a bed and the creature standing in the background. The striking use of yellows and reds in this image quickly draws a reader’s eyes to this edition of Frankenstein as opposed to the more neutral colored editions also present in the collection. However, the image on the cover of this book confused me because I feel as though it doesn’t represent the story of Frankenstein very well.
The main focus in the cover is of a woman lying on a bed with a lot of her chest exposed. If this was the first image I saw to represent the story of Frankenstein I would expect the story to be a romantic one.The Mary Shelly’s 1818 version of Frankenstein was definitely not a romance. The most prominent relationship shown in this book was that of Elizabeth and Victor, but the story focused much more on the creature’s feelings rather than those between Elizabeth and Victor. Therefore, it would make more sense if the creature was the main focus on the cover, rather than in the background of image on the book. Elizabeth and Victor’s relationship was also not very romantic. In the beginning of the book when Elizabeth enters Victor’s family there is always an expectation from Victor’s mother that they will marry, but once Victor goes to school and begins his work on the monster he completely ignores Elizabeth as well as all the other people in his life. It comes to the point that Elizabeth has to send letters to Victor practically begging him to write the family back and update her on his sickness. When Victor falls ill again towards the end of the book Elizabeth asks him if he is in love with another woman, and Victor has to assure her that he is not.
Another reason that the book cover focusing on the woman doesn’t make sense to me is because women were not represented well in Frankenstein. Elizabeth is the woman that gets the most detail written about her in the book, but it is a very small selection of the book compared to the vast amount on Victor and the creature. The way women are treated by the other characters in Frankenstein also leads to their poor representation. Aside from Victor’s lack of attention for Elizabeth, it is also shown through the trial scene that the rest of the town does not give women much validation. When Justine is falsely accused of murdering William she attempts to defend herself, but, realizing her voice is useless, she simply gives up and confesses to the crime. Elizabeth is also helpless in her ability to convince the town to stop Justine’s execution. The male, Victor, is the only person with the power to stop Justine’s execution since he would be believed if he chose to explain the situation. This scene exemplifies the passive role women play in the novel, so choosing a male on the cover of the book would make more sense.