The novel as a whole Essay
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These couple of scenes which describe the setting, set the scene for the rest of the novel where the bad atmosphere of impending catastrophe for Victor carries on building. Then when the creature comes to life there’s a change in the atmosphere. To emphasise this Mary Shelley uses language to express the emotions of the character Victor Frankenstein. She makes sure that we understand the feeling of mysteriousness, darkness and danger, just by looking at the language. Mary Shelley doesn’t directly tell us what the character is feeling but by reading the words you can imagine what kind of atmosphere had been created.
“… His hair was a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes,” At this point of the novel Mary Shelley, uses the description of the creature to create an unfriendly atmosphere. One way she does this is by describing the creature in a positive way then contrasting it to the negative images of the creature. This creates an image in our head, of this beautiful thing, but when we add all the other images together we get a picture of this hideous monster.
The way the writer describes the features of this creature, creates this effective atmosphere of horror and disgust rather than the feeling of an accomplishment that has been achieved. Another way the writer emphasises the mood of scene is by using long complex sentences. This attempts to show the sense of time that has gone past and the use of semicolons shows that there isn’t just one thing happening but a series of things. The use of first person in this chapter helps Mary Shelley to tap into the feelings of the readers, this way the fear of the creature, and empathy for both the creature and Frankenstein is created.
Then the writer uses two short sentences with an exclamation mark to give the evidence of shock the character has in the novel: “Beautiful! Great God! ” Victor’s reaction is shared by the readers here, when he is shocked by what he has created. The profanity here demonstrates the extreme of what Victor is feeling. The writer is trying to share this with the readers that Frankenstein isn’t as powerful as he thought he was, otherwise he wouldn’t have made such a hideous monster instead of just bringing the dead back to life. This quote is also ironic because Frankenstein has just tried to take the role of God and he failed.
The use of irony makes the readers realise that Victor is being punished for what he has done and it creates the atmosphere of horror, disgust and sorrow. The reason for sorrow is because he has spent nearly two years on this experiment and no good came out of it. He did succeed in creating life but his ethics let him down because he knows he is wrong. So overall the atmosphere that is created in Chapter 5 is mostly shock, horror and a response to the neglecting of the creature. Looking at chapter 5 we notice that chapter 5 links to many, key themes in the novel.
Some of these relate to science, religion, life and death, and finally conflict and contrast. The main contrasts in this novel are life and death, science and religion and solitude and companionship. Mary Shelley explains how Victor changes the norm of the sanctity of life. Mary Shelley does this to emphasise that there is both success and failure in this novel. The success is that Frankenstein has succeeded in his project but failed in carrying out his responsibility of looking after the creature. Also he has failed in his religion because he has committed a sin by going against God.
This is a contrast between science and religion; it is also a conflict between them. This novel was written in the 19th century and gives us an idea of what life was like during that time. This novel shows what people believed during the 19th century, they believed that scientists can do anything, even bring the dead back to life. People were mostly interested in science and the power of life. During that time there was a lot of conflict between people’s views. Some people believed that it is wrong to bring the dead back to life because bringing the dead back to life is in God’s hand and trying to be God is a sin.
There were also people who believed that doing these experiments wasn’t wrong because in one way they can stop people from dying. Chapter 5 is rather ironic because Mary Shelley is writing this novel as a scientist, but the views she’s putting across are that these experiments lead to nothing but sorrow. So in other words she’s trying to prove that these experiments that are happening are wrong, and they will be punished for it in the end. When you look at this point again we can realise that she’s not criticising the science but she is against the morality and ethics of it.
Another thing that was quite interesting to know was that people believed in nature itself, and here we are looking at the nature of writing in ‘Frankenstein’. Writing as entertainment was very popular in the 19th century so Mary Shelley might have used this idea to create fear in whoever read this book, so in future no one ever thought of trying to be God. This novel is also about nature and how it is changed by man made things. This is shown in the novel over and over again. The creature that Victor makes is man made but nature restores him back to his usual health.
So here’s a conflict between nature (god) and things that are man made (humans). Overall this novel is about a lot of things but mainly it’s about technology and how it can take over people’s lives. Reading Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and especially looking at Chapter 5 has made clear the literary context of the whole novel. We notice the literary context straight from the beginning when she introduces the setting of Chapter 5. Firstly one of the main contexts she uses throughout the novel is that she writes as part of the Gothic tradition.
This is shown in the setting, where she describes the rain and darkness. One thing which Mary Shelley shows a lot is, Victor’s isolation and this is typical of Gothic fiction. The Gothic tradition is also shown in the plot where people deal with the unknown; they deal with things, which are out of their imagination and to do with supernatural. We see this with Victor because he is creating something that no one can imagine. Even though Gothic fiction is so old, it is still popular because it’s a fashion, which will always remain with us.
Another literary context, which Mary Shelley was influenced by, was Romanticism. The Romantics believed that the individual was more important than society. They also believed that the emotions of people were important too. Another thing that they believed was that nature has great powers. In chapter 5 we see the influence of romanticism when Victor falls ill, because of technology and science. However he is then helped to recover by nature. “It was the divine spring, and the season contributed greatly to my convalescence. ”
Victor says that nature restores him back to health and back to his normal self too. Overall Mary Shelley is trying to say that nature is the greatest medicine and one should not try to change the fact by using technology. In the whole novel Mary Shelley argues against technology by talking about nature and emotions. We can clearly see that she is influenced by Romanticism in the writing of the novel. Another example that she uses is when the creature says to Frankenstein: ‘you have given me emotions but didn’t tell me how to use them’. This is typical of a Romantic’s thought.
Some of the things, which inspired Mary Shelley to write about Romanticism, were that her husband Percy Bysse Shelley was a romantic poet and so was their friend Byron. It was a particularly strong influence on artists and writer, at that time. So finally looking at the overall literary context used in chapter 5, it has given us as readers a better understanding of 19th century prose. 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.