Friday, May 24, 2013
Three Years - Influences - J.D. Coughlan
Panel 1: Establishing shot of an early 19th century London street. A row of terraced flats. It is rainy and gloomy.
CAPTION: The Strand, London
CAPTION: November 24th, 1823
BYRON: (from inside a flat) Mary! Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley!
Panel 2: Inside Mary Shelley's flat. It is meagre and rundown. Lord Byron (reference), looking flamboyantly Romantic, pushes open the door and regards the room with distaste. It is dark; the shutters closed on the windows.
BYRON: You cannot hide away forever, woman.
MARY (O.P.): But that is what they want...
Panel 3: We now see Mary sitting at a desk, facing away from Byron/us. She holds up a newspaper, the British Critic, for Byron to see.
MARY: "If the authoress can forgive the gentleness of her sex, it is no reason why we should; and we shall therefore dismiss the novel without further comment."
BYRON (O.P.): Oh, Mary, pay no attention to--
Panel 4: Close on Mary as she turns to Byron. She is furious. (Reference.)
MARY: They all loved my story when first it was released anonymously but now that I reveal my "gentleness" they recoil from it and from their previous statements!
Panel 5: Mary stands, she is restraining her anger, Byron is almost afraid of her.
MARY: I have been outcast my whole life for my beliefs about social equality because there are those who prefer to live above others! I have lived in squalor as a pauper with no home to call my own! I lost my mother as a child, and have known the deaths of three of my own children! And now... my beloved Percy too...
Panel 6: Close on Mary again. She is welling up.
MARY: Where is the gentleness in my life?
END OF PAGE
As an 18-year-old girl in 1816, Mary Shelley wrote the short story that would one day become Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus, one of the greatest works of fiction of all time. One hundred and eighty-eight years later, I read Frankenstein for the first time. It quickly became, and still is, one of my favourite stories ever. After reading a brief biography of Shelley that came with my copy of the book, I was inspired to unleash the ideas I had in my head and become a writer too. I figured, if she could produce an immortal classic with everything against her back then, what was my excuse?