“The Novel Frankenstein is as relevant and terrifying today as it was when it was first published” Explain How Mary Shelley makes her narrative effective and why it has fascinated and shocked audiences for nearly 190 years. ‘Frankenstein’ is one of the most well known gothic horror stories. ‘Frankenstein’ is set in the seventeen hundreds and was written by Mary Shelley. Mary Shelley wrote the book in 1816 and ‘Frankenstein’ was first published in 1818. Mary Shelley blends gothic horror and romance which makes this novel world-famous and so successful.
The novel has also been so successful because of the effective narrative Mary Shelley uses to shock and fascinate her readers. Such as the use of a lot of very detailed descriptive language and the use of three narrators to get different emotions and feelings to the reader. During the nineteenth century, electricity was a relatively new invention. This meant that many scientists were testing the use of electricity with the body. Scientists thought that Electricity could bring a dead person back to life. Erasmus Darwin suggested that this was possible.
Mary Shelley was aware of a process called galvanism and a scientist named Luigi Galvani who had discovered that electricity flowed through nerves meaning that when electricity was placed in certain places on a dead body or animal if would move and look like it was alive. Scientists were learning more and more about the human body and how it worked. The general public were very interested and fascinated by these discoveries. Mary Shelley was from the romantic period. The ‘Romantics’ believed in the power of the imagination.
They looked to nature for and saw awe and wonder in its majesty. They distanced themselves from the evils of capitalism and industrialism. This could have lead here to write this story to show people how messing with science could lead to disaster, as it was messing with nature which was the main inspiration for the ‘romantics’. Mary Shelley was from a very radical family with very strong beliefs. Her mother was a campaigner for women to have equal rights and her father was another political free-thinker.
He said that as long as people acted sensibly, there would be no need for rules or laws. Her mother died 10 ten days after giving birth to her and Mary Shelley also lost her own daughter within 2 weeks of giving birth. The reader also experiences these feelings when Frankenstein’s mother dies, just like Mary Shelley’s mother. This is a technique to get the reader to feel the same as Shelley did to make the novel seem more real. These could be the reasons why Mary Shelley was so obsessed with bringing the dead back to life and the inspiration behind her novel ‘Frankenstein’.
Mary Shelley got the inspiration for the novel in the snowy summer of 1816. In 1815 there had been an eruption from Tambora which had set the world into a long volcanic winter meaning that the summer of 1816 was a dark and cold one. Mary Shelley and her husband Percy Shelley had visited Lord Byron at his villa by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The weather was too cold to go outside and enjoy a normal summer, so Byron challenged Mary Shelley and his personal physician John Polidori to each compose a story of their own, and the winner would be whose story was the most terrifying.
Mary Shelley got the idea for her novel when she had a half-waking nightmare, and then she wrote this down giving her the main inspiration for ‘Frankenstein’. ‘Frankenstein’ is about a young student of natural philosophy called Victor Frankenstein. He is determined to find the secret of life, and when he does he creates a living creature. The monster is gentle and kind, but is abounded by Frankenstein because he looks too ugly; this means he has to hide away from society as all who meet him are afraid of him.
As the monster is lonely and isolated, that causes him to take revenge on his creator. He does this by not killing him, but all the ones he loves and cares about. Frankenstein, having nothing worth living for, pursues his monster to the Artic in order to destroy him. This leads him to exhaustion and death, the monster then sees he is dead and then kills himself as it is the only place he can seek rest. The novel shows the horrible consequences of playing God and this is what makes the book fascinating, as it questions all the main beliefs of religion and the soul.
The book is different as it has three narrators who are Frankenstein, Robert Walton and the monster. They all narrate and give the reader a different insight into the story, which makes the book very unique. This technique is very effective because as it gives a different insight into each character it can make the reader feel different emotions for each character. Such as when it is Victor Frankenstein telling us his own story, it makes the reader feel more sympathetic towards him because the reader experiences the tragedies and upsets that Frankenstein feels.