Frankenstein and How to Read Literature Like a Professor
Chapter 1: Every Trip is a Quest (Except When It’s Not)
The pursuit of knowledge is the very heart of Frankenstein. Mary Shelley depicts how the very pursuit, thirst for knowledge ruined one man’s life. Victor’s life is consumed by a want for more knowledge and Mary Shelley shows the before and after effects of that relentless pursuit. Robert Walton life could also be ruined by an endless need for more knowledge. The ruthless pursuit of knowledge, of reaching for a distant light proves dangerous to both Victor and Robert. The monster, Victor’s act of creation, eventually results in the destruction of everyone dear to him and Robert’s expedition is dangerously encased sheets of ice. It is here that the two characters pursuit of knowledge diverges. Victor’s telling of his story shows the dark path his need for knowledge led him down and ultimately his obsessive hatred of the monster, his creation, leads to his death. It is the telling of Victor’s story that pulls Robert back from his single minded mission and shows him the destruction that can lead from a blinded need for knowledge. Although the monster’s learning experiences and knowledge are not as advanced as Victor and Robert’s it is significant in this book. The monster’s thirst for knowledge was driven by a need for acceptance and understanding of his creation and ultimate rejection. Chapter 10: It’s More Than Just Rain or Snow
Mary Shelley uses the weather as a metaphor throughout Frankenstein. It is coupled with Victor’s sickness as a foreshadowing of coming events. The storm that occurred on the night of William’s murder is an example, a foreshadowing, of the misery caused by the monster that night. Another example of seasons and the effects of them on this story is seen when both Victor and the monster feel the lifting of their spirits during warm weather. The Alps show a spiritual awakening and self-reflection, whereas, the cold...
Cited: Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading between the Lines. New York: Quill, 2003. Print.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.
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