How is the gothic illustrated in Frankenstein up to chapter 11? The gothic genre has many defining qualities and features, and as a gothic novel, Frankenstein (or the Modern Prometheus) exhibits some of these traits. However, due to the time period in which it was written by Mary Shelley there are also many features of Romanticism apparent in the novel, such as the emphasis on the beauty and restorative powers of nature in chapters 8 and 9. Therefore it is questionable which aspects of the Gothic genre are to be found within Frankenstein.
An immediate and notable feature of the gothic genre is the aspect of using multiple writers, or narrators. This is shown through the epistolary form at the start of the novel, and gives the audience many other perspectives surrounding the journey or storyline within the text. Robert Walton begins the novel in this epistolary form with letters ‘to assure my dear sister of my welfare’ as he endeavours on an expedition to the frozen ice lands of the arctic, going through Russia. Although this is before chapter one it provides Victor Frankenstein with a platform to begin his story of creation and disaster.
An important aspect of gothic also seen within the letters of Robert Walton, and then furthered throughout the novel is the geography of the events which take place and how the symbolise the idea of isolation. The journey to Russia, or west to east, can be seen as the traditional mysteries associated with that area competing with the science and logic of the western lands. Quotes like ‘these unexplored regions’ and ‘many hundred miles from any land’ are important at illustrating the idea of isolationism as it gives a sense of physical distance and foreboding. The tone of the letters are also sombre as Robert Walton has ‘no friend’. The gothic ideas of isolation can also be seen later on the novel in the geography of Victor Frankenstein’s travels and endeavours. He embarks to ‘the university of Ingolstadt’ and he describes the...
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