Theme of Wasted Lives: Analysis

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This essay will be analysing the way in which the theme of wasted lives is portrayed throughout my chosen extracts. My chosen extracts are, an extract from chapter 16 of Frankenstein (FS) by Mary Shelly a gothic novel with features of the Romantic Movement. And an extract from chapter 3 of In Cold Blood (ICB) by Truman Capote, a faction novel (a novel written based on facts). In the F.S extract we are seeing the creature’s view of his killing of William and also his framing of Justine for the murder. Much the same in the ICB extract where it is Perry’s point of view of the murder of the Clutter family. In this extract we also see Capote input thoughts from Dewey, the police officer covering the case. Although both the extracts were written in different time periods, the focus is the same showing how the lack of parental figures, can lead to the destruction of life for something petty.

Throughout the chosen extract for FS the portrayal of the set theme wasted lives is portrayed in great detail. Firstly by having three characters who are seen to have wasted lives and also the murder of one of these characters. The first wasted life we see is that of the creature when we are seeing, the depths that he will sink to, to get his revenge on Frankenstein. ‘Frankenstein! you belong then to my enemy – to him towards whom I have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.’ He thinks that because Frankenstein disowned him that he now has to get his own revenge, cause pain to Frankenstein in a worse way he caused the creature pain. But in many ways this can be seen as the creature being as bad as Frankenstein himself, not caring about the consequences of his actions and the onslaught of pain and terror they will cause. The life of William is also seen to be wasted. The creature believes that when he first see William that he will be innocent ’unprejudiced’ allowing the creature to have a companion. But we see that this is not so. William seems to be brought up in a world where prejudice is acceptable, but by him judging the creature in this way has lead to his untimely death. The extract also shows the framing of Justine of the murder of William, the creature sees the beauty of Justine but this is not enough to stop him in passing on the blame of his action on to another. He can also be seen to be framing Justine as he realises that he will never have her love, ‘I am forever robbed of all that she could give me, she shall atone.’ Leaving him angry and bitter, towards Justine.

The extract chosen for ICB, the theme of wasted lives is portrayed throughout the thoughts and point of view of Perry Smith. This extract, much like the FS extract, is showing the reader more than one wasted life. Not only are the murders of each member of the Clutter family seen as wasted lives, but also those of Perry and Dick. The police officer Dewey helps the reader to realise this. ‘-for Perry Smith’s life had been no bed of roses but pitiful, an ugly and lonely progress towards one mirage...’ Capote is here referring to a previous section where Perry and the section where his father was speaking about Perry’s life were being told to Dick. Capote refers to this extract as it reminds the reader of the lives that they have been both brought up in. To give a sympathetic view of their lives and to also give the reader something to think about as reasoning for them to commit this lowly crime.

Within FS we see the firm idea of The Noble Savage played throughout, but within this extract we see a large amount fixed on this idea. The Noble Savage is the idea that mad is ‘noble and good’ but becomes ‘evil and corrupted’ by civilisation. A quote form Jean Jacques Rousseau, a Geneva philosopher states ‘Man is inherently good and corrupted by society. Primitive man was a Noble Savage’. William’s perception of the creature is a key point in this extract when this idea is shown. The creature later states ‘I remembered that I was forever deprived of...
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