How does Mary Shelley influence the reader’s response to Victor Frankenstein and the monster in Volume 1, Chapter 5 and Volume 2, Chapter 3? ‘Fairer than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles’ Mary Shelley, the author, had right from the beginning given the reader the impression that Victor only goes for the best, that he will not settle for less. Is it right to judge just by appearance? Mary Shelley created the idea of Frankenstein on the shores of Lake Geneva where Lord Byron lived. Mary Shelley had lost two children with Percy Shelley, one before marriage and one after.
She had also lost her mother after only 10 days of birth. Shelley starts of chapter five with the word ‘dreary’. This already gives the reader the impression that the night will not be in favour of Victor (as he is narrating) and possibly that it might make his future dark. This also sends darkened vibes towards the reader as it is telling us that the process of which Victor went through to create the monster was eerie and colourless. The night also has a more horrific and gloomy touch as the ‘candle was nearly burnt out’. The way the candle is burning out gives the reader the impression that Victor’s sprits and energy running out.
Already the reader is gripped with the silent horror that Victor is going through at ‘one in the morning’, Mary Shelley also uses the words such as ‘toils’,’ agony’ and ‘dismally’ to direct sympathy towards Victor as we see the hardship that Victor goes through to accomplish his dream, this shows that Mary Shelley wants the reader to direct their sympathy towards Victor only. The atmosphere that Shelley creates directs the feelings of concern and compassion towards Victor. As the monster comes to life, Victor describes it with feelings that confuse the reader as Victor had such commitment to the project previously.
The monster is portrayed, by Victor, to the reader as an ugly ‘wretch’ whose facial features are clashing with each other, the ‘beautiful’ handpicked parts contrasting with the monster’s yellow skin. Some of the monster’s features are described as something a normal human being possess however there are some features which are abnormally dreadful features such as the ‘watery eyes’. The juxtaposition used is very effective as the contrast between the monster features is strengthened and the reader cannot come to appreciate the few beautiful characteristics the monster posseses.
The reader feels frightened of and disgusted with the monster and also feels sorry for Victor as he has accomplished his goal, to ‘[infuse] life into an inanimate body’, but he is not pleased with the outcome and is possibly terrified of it, although the reader does have a taste of what Victor feels about the monster before he is alive as Victor says the ‘thing that lay at my feet’ and this illustrates to the reader that Victor does not have much respect for his own creation.