It also shows us that Robert is a rather independent character considering he went, against his families wishes, to very remote part of the world. He is also, quite clearly indicated by his language, an educated man with ambitions beyond that of a normal being. Shelley also demonstrates Roberts’s ability to be an emotional person, ‘Hopes fluctuate and spirits are often depressed’, this shows his ambition is almost unreachable but he doesn’t want to give in. Walton’s emotions are highlighted to the reader in his opening letters and then remembered later when we hear Frankenstein’s story; they are both very similar.
When we reach the 4th letter, the Gothic theme of the novel becomes ever more present. The reader gets the first sense of foreboding with the vivid description of the monster, and then the portrayal of the mysterious stranger in the distance. Walton, the Captain, is pleased to assist Victor, for he seems to be the answer to his prayers expressed in letter two, the quotes ‘I desire the company of a man who could sympathise with me’ and ‘I bitterly feel the want of a friend’ show us that he feels alone and miserable and that Victor provides a release from his loneliness.
At last he has a kindred spirit. Of course, the reader is now intrigued by Victor’s story; there interest is then satisfied by this quote, “You may easily perceive, Captain Walton, that I have suffered great and unparalleled misfortunes. I had determined at one time that the memory of these evils should die with me, but you have won me to alter my determination. ” Shelley is setting up a number of her themes in this clever introduction. One of which is Walton’s intense desire for discovery and the unknown, so far so that he would risk his life.
His fateful meeting with Victor also provides us with a slight respite from the depressive language he is using to describe his journey, he found the companion he had longed for. Before the reader hears Victor’s story, many questions are raised, for example; what was he pursuing before they found him? And was it the mysterious, gigantic creature Walton and his crew say the day before? All will be revealed when Walton tells him off the figure they saw a few days ago, with those words ‘a new life animated his decaying frame’.
A great effect used by Mary Shelley in this novel is the use of a Chinese box narrative, a kind of narration with two or more persons telling their own story. It starts of with Walter, an explorer, writing to his sister. His ship gets stuck and he goes outside only to find Victor Frankenstein. Victor is in a bad way, dying in fact, and so tells Walton his story. Halfway through Victor’s narrative, he creates the creature, which comes in, and tells his account. Then Victor comes back to conclude his tale, and the book finishes with Walton summing up, adding his own opinions, and writing to his sister again.
This gives us different perspectives on each character and an idea of how each character feels about one other. Mary Shelley also uses pathetic fallacy in the novel to emphasise the gothic theme, the fact Walton journeys towards the desolate and barren North Pole which has connotations of being a harsh and unwelcoming place. This is typical of the Gothic theme as it exploits the stereotype of an undesirable and horrendous place to be. The fact she uses words such as ‘rawness’ and ‘vast’ tells us that the weather is almost uninhabitable. This makes the reader feel sympathy for the ship and its crew.
In chapter 5, Shelley uses pathetic fallacy once again by beginning the chapter with ‘It was on a dreary night in November’. The chapter is actually a monologue describing how Victor (after months of labour), has finally completed his creation. But when the moment comes to give it life, its hideous appearance repulses him. His decision is to rush to the next room and try to sleep, but his mind was troubled. He throws himself onto to his bed in an attempt to forget about the monstrosity. But his mind is plagued by nightmares about Elizabeth and his mother’s corpse.
When he awakes, he discovers the monster leaning over him with a friendly but terrifying smile and quickly bolts out of the house. He spends the night pacing in his courtyard and when next morning comes he goes walking in the town of Ingolstadt. As he walks by the town inn, Victor runs into his friend Henry Clerval, who has just arrived to begin studying at the university. Ecstatic to see Henry, a breath of fresh air and a reminder of his family after so many months of isolation and ill health, the ecstasy increased by the feeling of friendship after his recent experience of terror.
Although the thought of crossing paths with monster terrifies Victor, he brings Clerval back to his apartment. Victor enters first and is relieved to find no sign of the monster. But, weakened by months of work and shock at the horrific being he has created, he immediately falls ill with a nervous fever that lasts several months. Henry nurses him back to health and, when Victor has recovered, gives him a letter from Elizabeth that had arrived during his illness. In chapter 5, Shelley’s description implicates that the monster is a child trapped inside an ‘adults’ body. Victor rejects the monster as an animal might reject one of its litter.
Victor describes the monster as ‘a demonical corpse to which i had so miserably given life’. The fact Victor hates ‘the wretch’ he has created makes the reader feel sympathy for the monster as he hasn’t choosing this life and all he wants is to be loved. Shelley uses many language techniques to create tension in her novel. Chapter five is a great example again. Before Victors ‘creation’ comes to life, Shelley describes it as a ‘lifeless thing. ‘ This gives the impression that the when the monster is brought to life it will be treated as nothing more when it is born, just an experiment rather than a person.
Shelley also writes a long and extremely detailed description of the monster in chapter five, ‘his yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of lustrous black. and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness; but these luxuriance’s only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes’ that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and his straight black lips. ‘ This description uses imagery to help create an image of monster inside the readers head which works to perfection as the reader is repulsed at the thought.
In conclusion, many themes are often included in literature in order to provide more meaning and a better understanding for readers. But in Frankenstein Shelley conveys lots of different themes; some which are quite obvious and others that are more subtle. The novel also shows us how appearances are not always a clear representation of the person who’s underneath (the way the monster was judged solely by his looks). Also, the fact there are also many different narrative voices in the novel help the reader appeal to different characters, and also show how the character’s personalities evolve as the plot goes on.
The fact the novel was written by a woman in a time when writing was almost solely dominated by men was enough but the fact it was such a huge success was down the way Shelley intrigued people and instilled fear. At the time it was written I personally feel that no-one would have been able to put it down. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.