The Imagery and Diction of Frankenstein
In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” our author gives a fascinating insight in to the world’s definition of a monster. Her use of imagery, diction and character analysis is fascinating. Her novel caught the attention of the public when it was published and is still considered one of the best “horror” novels. The characters, imagery, and diction of Frankenstein cause the mind to evoke images of monsters in duality.
In beginning with the character analysis they key to Victor the use of imagery. Shelley’s use of the descriptive imagery of a child as a plaything as Victor narrates memories of his parents and his youth is a ____(??) use of imagery. Victor speaks of his childhood and himself, “I was their plaything and their idol, and something better—their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me” (Shelley 40). Even though Victor’s images seem to be innocent, his character is still somehow dark. Victor’s parents never try to acknowledge or strive to accommodate his inner world, and instead inflict their own version of reality on him (Zimmerman 2). The character only seems innocent but still evident is the dark place inside him that is filled with loneliness.
Shelley uses diction to take Victor’s character to a new level by a metamorphosis of himself. Victor narrates us through his seeming innocence to the beginning of his monster within. Shelley’s use of diction is beautifully smattered throughout his adolescence. The characters gloom is felt deeply when he begins his narration and the diction lends way to the absoluteness of his demise. Victor says, “I feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind and changed its bright vision of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon self.” (Shelley 51) Victor’s character is a story first and foremost about the consequences of male ambitions to co-opt the procreative function (Goodall 2). Ultimately Victor’s life ends in death, fueled by the chase of his abomination. The birth of another character finds Shelley’s imagery painting a horrific picture of yet another monster, Victor’s creation. Victor gives birth to the monster creation with imagery like, “I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the work inherited the wonders of the eye and brain.” The monster is created from body parts, painting a ghoulish picture. The larger human parts being easier to work with the creature is of gigantic proportions. (Rovee 1) Shelly then takes another journey through diction and imagery reshaping the character and the monster into a human being. Albeit does not have a physical or intimate relationship with the outcasts from France, the creature does have a relationship with them. He watches them from afar, performs kind acts for them, learns their language in the shadows with them, and when he feels the time is right; he approaches the blind elder of the family because he yearns for human contact. Our creature says, “I revolved many projects, but that on which I finally fixed was to enter the dwelling when the blind old man should be alone. I had sagacity enough to discover that the unnatural hideousness of my person was the chief object of horror with those who had formerly beheld me. My voice, although harsh, had nothing terrible in it; I thought, therefore, that if in the absence of his children I could gain the good will and mediation of the old De Lacey, I might be his means be tolerated by my younger protectors.” (Shelley 259) The character evolves and meets his demise. Shelley again uses diction to tell this part of the story. “I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer...
Cited: Goodall, Jane. "Frankenstein and the Reprobate 's Conscience." Studies in the Novel 31.1 (Spring 1999): 19-43. Rpt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Vol. 192. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Feb. 2011.
Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: Sterling Publishing. 2007. Print.
Zimmerman, Lee. "Frankenstein, Invisibility, and Nameless Dread." American Imago 60.2 (Summer 2003): 135-158. Rpt. in Children 's Literature Review. Ed. Tom Burns. Vol. 133. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Feb. 2011.
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