Her choice of an already married Percy Bysse Shelley for a lover, and the subsequent eloping of the couple is typical for her circumstance. Bice and Tamra assert that,
“the fact that at age fifteen she chooses to leave home and ‘travel’ with Shelley supports her struggle with security, comfort, and structure at a very young age; however, Maslow’s safety and security needs that were previously lacking as a child may have been provided in this union between Shelley and Mary. Mary actually achieves Maslow’s higher levels of love and belonging needs. In fact, this may have been the very first time in her life she has moved beyond the lower level needs and feels true affection from another human being. Not only is Mary receiving affection from her husband, but she is also offering affection to her first-born son, William. And although realization of self-actualization, Maslow’s highest hierarchal level, is a possibility at this point in Mary’s life, attaining these higher levels is quickly shattered by the subsequent turn of events” (Bice & Tamra 2003)
In the end, one might conclude that Mary Shelley reaches Maslow’s level of self-esteem while experiencing satisfaction for achieving success and recognition for her novel. It would seem that throughout Mary’s life, although she transcends from one level of Maslow’s hierarchy to another, she never fully satisfies all needs at each level. We should also note that self-actualization, in her case was unlikely, as she remained in isolation and despair for the rest of her life. Thus Maslow’s concept of self-actualization requires a pedagogical as well as contextual re-examination.
Quick, Thomas L. (May 1991), “An HRD refresher. (human resource development) (list of social science scholars contributing to the foundation on which occupational training theories are based).” Training & Development 45.n5 : 74(2).
Trigg, Andrew B. (Sept 2004), “Deriving the Engel curve: Pierre Bourdieu and the social critique of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.” Review of Social Economy 62.3 : 393(14).