Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Book Analysis

Topics: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Paradise Lost Pages: 5 (1670 words) Published: March 15, 2013
Frankenstein Book Analytical Response Assignment

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a story of strong characters and their exploration of their own identities. The question of the source of human identity is suggested by the image of a created creature that appears human. Other questions about human identity are explored, is an individual born or made, how are they shaped by nature or nurture, what makes someone a human being? These are the many unspoken questions about the source of life and the living of life explored in this novel. The reader is left to make his or her own conclusions. This novel shows many environmental influences shaping character. Mary Shelley makes it a point to show the reader that individuals are each unique and it matters not if they are natural born or man-made. Mary Shelley focused not on creation of the artificial creature in her story but instead chose to set the story as an interwoven tale of beings coping with their own flawed physiological natures (Ozolins 103). Mary Shelley chose to create a novel that wove together elements of gothic and romantic styles to create a psychological text about human nature and its possibilities. In Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, there are multiple conventions utilized by the author Mary Shelley to focus the reader’s attention. A general tone of the gothic as the supernatural is created as an effect when intermittent unusual circumstances are precipitated or encountered. The plot combines strong characters, harsh localities, and unusual actions done naturally and casually. The surrounding environmental elements of ice and rain add to the gloomy atmosphere. Wording of descriptions consistently enforces the tone of the unknown, dread, and sorrow. In Chapter 10, clear-cut wording clarifies the character’s mood, “The rain depressed me; my old feelings recurred, and I was miserable” (Shelley 59). In Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, the appearance of normalcy constantly balances the likelihood of circumstances going in unforeseen and disturbing directions. There are story lines within other story lines. The reader encounters a number of unique and personal narratives in this novel. The author encapsulates these narratives in a story of ordinary life and its pursuits as a mechanism to tell a tale. This is shown by the letters Capt. Robert Walton writes, of Victor Frankenstein attending a traditional university, of plans to get married, in the discussions the characters have and the creature’s comments to his maker. After the encompassing tone of realism is set, Mary Shelley adds in an overt Gothic attitude by offering the reader a tale of a man piecing together a creature and bringing it to life. The sighting of unusual figures by Captain Robert Walton on the northern ice flow is the first key to the reader that events will become more unpredictable as the story plays out. Another time, in Chapter 1, Captain Walton observations suggest the future when expressing, “I have described myself as always having been imbued with a fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature” (Shelley 42). Mary Shelley utilizes many structures as plot additives to boost the effect of this gothic story line. There is the underlying question of where the story is going because of the apparent normalcy of most of the story’s actions. Then Mary Shelley interjects casually something strange into the mix. Each time she uses a gothic idea or method, the reader is forced to view the entire story line differently. When Mary Shelley writes about the casualness of Victor embarking on body part hunting, it intentionally contributes to the supernatural theme in this novel. This offers a subtle reminder, a glimpse, of the abnormal. The reader’s feeling of horror when the novel describes Victor casually hunts for body parts in the dark is classic gothic. Victor is a seemingly normal man, but in the night, he has unusual intentions...
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