A Guide To Frankenstein!
“It can be useful to think of the Gothic in terms of certain key cultural and literary oppositions: barbarity versus civilisation; the wild versus the domestic (or domesticated); the supernatural versus the apparently ‘natural’; that which lies beyond human understanding compared with that which we ordinarily encompass; the unconscious as opposed to the waking mind; passion versus reason; night versus day.” David Punter, emag 29 * Horror: fear from physical shock – ‘Watery eyes almost the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set’ * Terror: fear from uncertain or obscure – ‘frightful dreams’, ‘he might have spoken, but I did not hear; ne hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, nut I escaped’ * Sublime: sense of awe at something much bigger than ourselves that we cannot understand fully – ‘A serene sky and verdant fields filled me with ecstasy’, ‘A cold wind played on my cheeks which braced my nerves and filled me with delight’ * Obscurity: both physical and mental, things not properly seen or understood - ‘The for an instant everything seemed of a pitchy darkness’ * The Uncanny – unsettling experience over something that is strange, eerie or mysterious -‘dull yellow eyes’ * Taboos: Cultural, moral or religious rules which are under pressure, challenging limits and norm- ‘the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body’ * Doppelganger: double, mirror image or alto ego of a character – both called ‘wretch’, ‘creature’ . Later in the novel, the loss of control of the creation mirrors Victor’s loss of control of himself. * Elements of Romanticism:
* ‘Romantic’ writers interested in the concept of ‘self’ as distinct from society indulging a sense of individuality. Walton is physically isolated on a ship in the Artic carrying notions of discovery and adventure whereas Frankenstein mentally alienates himself to concentrate on his work as well as physically distancing himself at the University of Ingolstadt. Can be seen as the less healthy version. Walton longs for companionship, ‘I greatly need a friend who would have sense not to despise me as a romantic’. NARRATION STRUCTURE:
* Unreliable multiple first person narrators with narrations embedded in one another, the creation at the core, Frankenstein surrounding him and then Walton round the edge. Frame Narrative. Unreliable as each has a motif to the writing which is detrimental to the truth. * Epistolary form – second person address, “Dear Mrs. Saville”, ‘you will rejoice to hear the commencement of an enterprise you regarded with such evil forebodings’ * Narrator and Narratee: emphasis on motif of narration
* Shape: Concentric circles or V-shaped. Uses Walton to introduce themes in which she will expand upon in Frankenstein’s narration. Symmetrical. Triangular pattern: each of the three main characters has important conversations with the other two, and this triangular pattern marks the exclusion of all other characters from the story. * Return to Epistolary:
* Elizabeth’s letter in chapter 6 reflects how Frankenstein has been cut off from outside world, encapsulated by obsession. * Learn more about brothers and Justine – setting scene for murder – to create a more shocking and emotional account. * Shelley uses letters as interruption of other characters to reinforce Victor’s highly subjective recollection of events. * Elizabeth exerting pressure on Victor’s return – reminding of home – covering up problems – positive things * William’s death and Justine’s accusations delivered by Alphonse through letter, highly disjointed language – long sentences frequently interrupted by semicolons – indicates magnitude of distress – more emotional response evoked in reader. Emotional and personal message through impersonal and indirect manner. LANGAUGE: