Children of a Lesser God Critical Evaluation - Essay - …
Children of a Lesser God Movie Review (1986) | Roger Ebert
Exactly who was Mary Shelley, the woman? Mary Shelley was the daughter of twoof the most influential authors of their times. She longed to live up to thereputation of her parents. She then eloped with and later married a man destinedto become one of the greatest poets in the English romantic tradition. Althoughshe did publish many works of fiction and nonfiction during her life that weregenerally well received, she was best known for the work she did as Percy'sliterary executor. Her greatest fame during her lifetime arose out of herscandalous relationship with Percy Shelley. And, although we know her now as theauthor of and greatly admire her and her work, following thepublication of this, her most famous work, many believed that Percy had actuallywritten the tale and simply published it under Mary's name. The film ,wondrously directed by James Whale (1931), gives credit to as the author of the original work. Long after Percy's death we see Mary living alife devoted to promoting her husband's reputation and raising their solesurviving child, Percy Florence. Mary subsumed her identity into Percy's: she wasPercy's lover, then his wife, and lastly his widow and champion. Whereas we knowher for her own works in our time, she was less known in her own time as her ownperson and more so as Percy's wife and widow. A chronology by Peter Dale Scottlists only 2 events occurring in her life following the 1831 publication of thenovel: William Godwin's death in 1836, and Mary's own death in 1851(Levine &Knoepflmacher, 1979). In other words, Scott gives credit to Mary for writing, but does not consider her life beyond her greatest literaryachievement. Thus, for the most part Mary was defined in terms of her greatestwork of fiction, her father and mother, and her husband, although interest inMary, her life and her other literary accomplishments have enjoyed a resurgence ofinterest within the last few years.
Children of a Lesser God (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes
throughout her life, and she and Percy kept a joint journal following theirelopement, she does not give us intimate details of her life with Percy. We canspeculate about Percy's attitudes toward "free love" and how Mary received thatattitude. Some have speculated about relationships that Mary might have had withother men and about relationships that Percy might have had with other women,including Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont (Gittings & Manton, 1992). I myselfspeculate about Percy's relationship with Bryon. Mary considered Percy to be hersoul mate, and he felt the same way about her, at least in the beginning. Sheconsidered him to be both a mentor and critic, by virtue of his classicaleducation, a luxury not afforded to her as a woman. Certainly she was his mistressand then his wife. She followed him into exile following their elopement, eventhough they were virtually penniless, a circumstance that probably contributed tothe death of her first child. We also know that she was not happy throughout muchof their marriage, because of the scandal of their elopement, the suicide ofHarriet Shelley, the constant presence of Claire Clairmont, her father'srelentless demands for money, the refusal of Percy's family to provide for them,Percy's dalliances with other women, the deaths of 3 of her children and her worryabout the health of the fourth. Only one of Mary's children survived to adulthood(Percy Florence), and it is almost certain that she blamed Percy for the death ofbaby William. Mary met Percy when she was 15 years old, eloped with him when shewas 16 and was widowed shortly before her 25th birthday. She became the womanPercy wanted her to be, the daughter of two of the most famous authors of theirday. One wonders did he love her for herself or for her antecedents.