Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

English

First Advisor

Jillian Heydt-Stevenson

Second Advisor

Emily Harrington

Third Advisor

Eliza Smith

Abstract

This thesis examines Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein using Michel Foucault’s theories of biopolitics. It interprets each of its primary characters as analogous to the groups and institutions involved in political power, and assesses the decisions and behaviors of the primary characters as expressions of various forms of authority as described by Foucault. The thesis finds that the characters’ inconsistent employment of power generates significant instability throughout the text, and concludes that the novel ultimately condemns capriciousness and lack of self-knowledge.

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