How Does Mary Shelley Create Tension in Chapter 5 of 'Frankenstein'?

Topics: Frankenstein, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley Pages: 4 (1295 words) Published: January 2, 2011
Mary Shelley was a writer, novelist, and biographer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein. She had already written many stories and short novels, and even edited and promoted the works of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley . But Frankenstein; the Modern Prometheus was her first work to achieve popularity and great success, despite the initial bad reviews, claiming the novel to be ''a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity''. Frankenstein recalls the events of the fictional Victor Frankenstein and of his becoming an unholy creator of life. When the novel was written, science was highly debated; and Frankenstein was the first novel to give the impression that one day, science will destroy mankind. The subtle mixture of the Gothic genre and this awry science in the novel gives an enhanced Science-Fiction feel, and makes readers stick with the novel until the end.

In the first paragraph, the writer creates a dark, dismal atmosphere and creates tension by using pathetic fallacy; describing the weather and time of night. She uses the phrase ''dreary night of November'', this builds suspense for the reader as it gives the hint that an event is about to occur, as most horrific events occur in the middle of the night. The use of the word ''dreary'' shows that the night had a certain bleakness and gloom about it, which can refer to the Gothic theme of the novel. Perhaps Mary Shelley chose to open chapter 5 using this phrase because it sets the atmosphere and mood for the chapter, and gives a slight hint as to what the chapter will be like. The writer adds to the gloomy atmosphere by using “The rain pattered dismally against the panes,” this further adds suspense to the moment, as the writer uses pathetic fallacy to create a dark atmosphere.

Furthermore in the first paragraph, “The candle had nearly burnt out” may be a metaphor to Frankenstein's hope. The candle nearly burning out, could link to his hope almost burning out also. The use of the word...
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