Discuss Mary Shelley’s approaches and methods in relation to the theme of questionable motives in ‘Frankenstein’ (part of letter 1).
In ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley, the theme of questionable motives is a reoccurring one, of which many become apparent at the very beginning of the novel in the letters sent from Walton to his sister, Margaret. During letter one, arguably the most important character in the novel, Robert Walton, is introduced where he notifies Margaret of his preparations leading up to his departure to his dangerous voyage and his burning desire to achieve ‘some great purpose’.
In his first letter Walton talks about his ‘expedition’ and how it has been his ‘favourite dream of my early years’, emphasizing the fact that it has been a lifelong desire for him and finally he is getting the chance to pursue it. It is questionable whether this dream is realistic or if it was solely a young boy’s ambition. Furthermore, Walton also mentions that he feels his heart ‘glow with an enthusiasm’ which happens to ‘elevate’ him ‘to heaven’, which could demonstrate the extent of his passion or highlight his hyperbolic self obsessed character. The language he uses suggests it is like an addiction to him now and that he believes this voyage is his sole purpose for life. By using the word ‘heaven’, also suggests a small link to religion, which at this stage in the novel we are unsure of Walton’s views.
In addition, Walton describes how his ‘education was neglected’ but how he was ‘passionately fond of reading’: giving the impression that he was self reliant for any education as his passion for reading seems to be of his own accord. Walton also refers to self educating himself later on in the letter when he explains that he ‘devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine’ and ‘branches of physical science’ showing his independence. Walton learns that his ‘fathers dying injunction’ had forbidden his uncle to allow him to ‘embark in...
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