The Frame Structure of Franken

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The following essay is concerned with the frame structure in Mary Shelley`s Frankenstein and ist functions as it is suggested by Beth Newman`s "Narratives of seduction and the seduction of narratives".

To start with, the novel Frankenstein is a symmetrically built frame narrative with a story at its center. This is not always the case with frame structured novels, as there are examples without a proper center (e.g. Heart of Darkness). The elaborate system of frames indicates that this center reveals some kind of a mystery. However, it would be wrong to assume that the center alone contains the meaning of the novel. On the contrary, the meaning of the novel is brought about by the relation between the different stories at the center and the frames around it.

One of the main suggestions of the article is the functioning of the inner oral narratives as forms of seduction, to be more specific, seductions into a promise. In other words, they try to persuade their listener to promise the satisfaction of a desire that could not be satisfied directly. The two main examples for this are the Monster's as well as Frankenstein's story, but the themes of seductive narration and promises can be found also elsewhere in the novel. The Monster's desire is to be loved by someone. When he realises that not only the DeLaceys but every human being will reject him because of his uglyness, he tells Frankenstein his story in order to persuade him to create a female being of his kind for his companion. At the end of Chapter 8 of Volume II (page 97 of our edition) the monster says: "We may not part until you have promised to comply with my requisition. I am alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species, and have the same defects. This being you must create."

Frankensteins's desire, on the other hand, is to kill his creature. Realising that he will...
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