Frankenstein: Language and Communication

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The sheer power of words is all too often taken for granted. Albeit an integral part of human life on any scale, we’ve grown so accustomed to having it at our disposal that we forget how much it can accomplish, basic communication aside. Words, when strung together in certain ways, have started wars. Words have spawned enmity, and ended it. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and more specifically the passage specified, words provide a testimony directly from the monster as to the reasoning behind his actions and emotions. Shelley, when writing in the monster’s voice, uses a combination of tone, diction, strategic syntax, and rhetorical devices with the purpose of elucidating to the reader the monster’s intelligence and capacity of rational thought. Because this is the monster’s first actual encounter with Walton, he must speak in a manner that efficiently persuades Walton that he was right to act in the way he did. Walton—or anyone else, for that matter—would inevitably be more inclined to find credibility in the monster’s words if it spoke in an eloquent manner characteristic of an educated human. “[..] the detail which he gave you of them he could not sum up the hours and months of misery which I endured wasting in impotent passions. For while I destroyed his hope, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were forever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned,” for example, is far more intellectual than something like “What Victor told you was wrong; no words could represent how miserable I was for most of my life. Even though I killed his loved ones, I wasn’t satisfied. I still wanted a friend, but I was hated.” In both examples, the same core meaning is evident. However, in the former (the monster’s actual words), words are utilized in a notably more poignant manner. Tone is also a vitality in the credibility of the monster’s words. In essence, tone lies in the words used and how they are used. Here, the monster is...
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