Reader knowing Essay
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I will be writing about Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and looking at how she manipulates the reader to favour the creature and feel sorry for him and make the reader feel anger towards Victor. Mary Shelly was very interested in three things in her life time and she shows these I her novel using the characters for example: Good Parenting, she gives Victor great parents as they loved and adored him but Victor goes against what he said in earlier life and he runs away from, what you could call his son, so therefore the creature becomes evil.
Also Mary Shelly was interested in the origins of evil; she believed in Jean Jacque Rousseau’s theories of man being born innocent but becomes corrupted by his treatment by society and also she was interested in his theory of the “noble savage” which goes “man is born free and is everywhere in chains” she also uses the theme in the novel as the creature is innocent at first but becomes evil because of how he is treated. Mary is also interested in the power of nature compared to man as she talks about the most extreme places e.g. the Alps and the North Pole and these are where the creature meets Victor.
In the time of Mary Shelly’s life there were many scientific happenings as electricity was a new and major thing and there were many experiments happening using dead animals and Human Corpses to try to bring them back to life and in one of them a frog twitched and people thought it was alive for a few seconds. Also there was a Human Corpse electrocuted and also twitched but an eye had opened as well. This is where Victor receives the idea to bring something to life (the creature).
Frankenstein is a gothic novel; I know this because of the settings and themes that Mary Shelly uses in the book e.g. the crematoriums that Victor visit and also the theme of revenge pursuit of knowledge, ambition and revenge. It is also a romantic genre as it was written in the romantic period (1790 – 1840) and also contains romantic interests for example the novel contains extreme power of nature compared to man and also intense feelings the creature uses when he is talking to victor.
In chapter 5 Victor is describing the creature in a bad way all the way through until he meets his best friend Clerval and his attitude changes altogether from “my emotions to this catastrophe” to “nothing could equal my delight on seeing Clerval”. Victor uses a poem to show what he feels for the creature using part of “Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner” and it says “a frightful fiend, doth close behind him tread” telling us that victor regards the creature as a “frightful fiend” that is closely behind him and following him in life from this point on.
In chapter 5 Victor judges people by the way they look and not their personality or how they are to others which makes the reader feel anger towards Victor. In chapter 4 Victor starts to turn from the goodness of nature to the badness side of nature “I must also observe the natural decay and corruption of the human body” which also shows his obsession with the darkness and death of humans.
This statement also points towards the romanticism about the power of nature over man. Victor’s abandonment of the creature goes against what he believed as he says in chapter 4 “a new species would bless me as its creator and source” but he does not give the creature a chance to bless him as he runs away from him and leaves him to learn to live on his own. Mary Shelly, though, believed in good parenting but does not give this to the creature. At first, in chapter 5 Victor describes the creature as “beautiful!” but then immediately changes his opinion to saying that creating the creature made “Horror and disgust filled my heart”.
Mary Shelly uses three narrators in the novel to give the reader three points of view so the reader can choose themselves who is right and wrong and who is good and evil as each point of view tells the story in a different way and style. Also Mary Shelly makes Victor too ambitious which in my point of view makes him evil to the creature when he realises that “the Beauty of the Dream had vanished”. In chapter 4 Victor says “A new source would bless me as its creator and source” which makes him seem, to the reader, “cocky” and desires greatness and power.
Victor, in chapter 4, says “learn from me… how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man who believes his native town to be the world”. He is telling us it is dangerous to learn more than you should or to push yourself to learn more then you are destined to learn, but he is pushing himself to learn “the mysteries of the world” and create a man from different body parts, this makes him a hypocrite which makes the reader feel even angrier towards Victor.
In chapters 10 and 11 the creature narrates himself but his “tone” and style of words differ from Victors as the creature uses nice, simple and sometimes poetic, symbolic language. Victor and the creature both isolate themselves; Victor in his laboratory and the creature in the Alps (mountains). The difference though, is that Victor is the cause of the creature to isolate himself because of the first ways he treated the creature and the looks he has given him, 8 foot and all stitched up, which makes him an outcast and a “freak” to other people were as Victor chooses to isolate himself in his laboratory.
The creature reflects a lot of Mary Shelly’s views on Jean Jacques Rousseau’s books on man turning evil and the creature says “misery made me a fiend” in chapter 11 to Victor in the mountains when they meet, which reflects the theory of “man being born innocent but comes corrupted through treatment by society” Also the creature tends to” echoes” language and words used by Victor e.g. In chapter 10 the creature says “all men hate the wretched” which Victor calls him wretched in chapter 5 and in chapter 11 the creature says “misery made me a fiend” which Victor calls him a fiend in chapter 10.
In chapter 11 the creature tells us of a fire he finds and he tries to create one for himself he tries for a good while but then gives up and he knows when to quit but Victor does not as in chapter 4 Victor realises he should not go any further and he begins to see the evil in what he is doing but still his ambition forces him forward to finish and his first experiments on brining dead animals to life were successful but he doesn’t know when to stop and pushes it to create a human. The creature’s words and language is much more friendly, gentle and simple and Victor is complicated, angry and mean which makes the reader feel sympathy towards the creature and anger towards Victor.
Mary Shelly in my point of view is very manipulative and creates thoughts in the head of the reader to feel sympathy for the creature and anger to Victor and Mary creates this attitude by using both points of view, but to be fair, how victor reacts to the creature is how most people would: scared, frightened and, then after the creatures murdering spree, hatred. But overall Mary Shelly has done very well in manipulating the reader and does it without the reader knowing.