Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is noted for one book, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, though she wrote other works. She is also known for her marriage by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft, an early feminist best known for her book The Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), a work in which she expounded in the ills facing women and on the need for justice for women. Her stand was considered radical, and as a result she had to portray her heroine in a special way:
The exaltation of feeling prized by Romantics posed severe problems for women. However liberating, female desire was singularly hard to express. Women had to survive in a culture in which the search for personal fulfillment had no ready place. Small wonder then that Mary Wollstonecraft placed her heroine Maria in a prison for the insane, the better to cast into relief the terrible tension in a woman's mind resulting directly from her powerlessness (Alexander 10).
Alexander sees a clear distinction between mother and daughter in terms of their analysis of the lot of women in the world, and he notes that though Mary Shelley was aware of her mother's radical approach, she herself took a different route:
Haunted by ways in which genius had to accommodate itself to the demands of a culturally prescribed femininity, she presented a series of female figures, lovely and compliant, their powerlessness serving to clarify the limitless ambition of their men (Alexander 11).
Mary Shelley was a feminist in the sense that her mother was in that both advocated an egalitarian marriage and the education of women. At the same time, Shelley endorsed the continued reproduction of the bourgeois family, so her feminism is qualified by the ways in which her affirmation of the bourgeois family entails an acceptance of its intrinsic hierarchy,
. . . a hierarchy historically manifested in the doctrine of the separate spheres, in the domination...