Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley represents series of critical issues like disability, gender, inequality, masculinity, and among those issues and concerns, the representation of the “subaltern,” especially of the “female gendered subaltern,” is particularly significant because it plays a decisive role in examining the social context of the novel. In contemporary literary criticism, postcolonial theory is one of the most gripping schools of thought. The subaltern, as a theoretical concept in literary criticism, stays under the umbrella of Postcolonial theory. “Subaltern,” a term was first familiarized by Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist and political activist, refers to people represented as being of inferior status or rank; subordinate of rank, power, authority and action. This essay, the result of my study on the novel and the subaltern, argues that Justine Moritz is a subaltern and her representation in the novel, voice and silence, alienation, resistance and death are integral components of her subalternity. It considers the illustration of Justine Moritz as a character, the treatment she gets as a member of the community and as an individual, her social mobility, her being trapped in an oppressive system, her being abused by the creature, her psycho-alienation and her struggle and resistance to establish her own agency as a subaltern. It will review the concept of “subaltern” given by such critics and thinkers as Antonio Gramsci, Ranajit Guha, and Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak. Then, it will interpret close reading with a special focus on the character of Justine Moritz to find out her positionality and relevance to “subalternity,” with reference to the establishment of her individual subaltern agency through her death. However, analysis in this essay will examine how hegemony and supremacy of the dominant class plays constructive role, and will also include examples of subaltern resistance against the hegemonic power structure though this act of resistance leads to death and destruction. The methodology of this essay is analytical and substantial help from secondary sources will be taken.
Citation: Mohammed Shaifuddin (2022) Justine Moritz, a subaltern in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.10, No.7, pp.12-23