Poor Things

The Body and (the Lack of) Childhood: The Comparison of Godwin and Bella in Alasdair Gray’s Poor Things College

The body is represented in the novel as a physical entity, an organism, as a cultural construction. As a natural organisation, the body controls, limits and determines life. It grows and develops from the moment of existence till it reaches its adult form. One of the most significance periods of this development is childhood, when children learn social and cultural conventions, however, still they are not conscious of their own bodies and do not understand body as mechanism. Thus, the body interweaves and determines the lives of the characters including Bella and Godwin, who seems to lack childhood due to either deficiency in social norms or being conscious of their own bodies. Medical sciences, as the field studying the human body, empowers and enables Godwin to save Victoria Blessington and create Bella by combining Victoria’s body and her foetus’s brain. Thus, Godwin can be seen as a Frankenstein character transgressing ‘natural rules’ and creates Bella. The comparison of these two characters reveals that they share similarities concerning their lives since they lack childhood as significant period of socialization as well as they demonstrate awareness of their bodies.

One of the common characteristics both Godwin’s and...

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