Romanticism: An Era Displayed Through Literature
Some say that after an era of conservatism, an era of liberalism follows. The Industrial Revolution was a time of all work and no play and spanned from about 1800 to 1850. The industrialization and urbanization of major cities led to horrid cities and ghastly working conditions. The children of this era saw these things and wanted to escape, thus creating the Romantic Period. One of those people wanting to escape was writer Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. This romantic novel tells a story of scientist Victor Frankenstein and the making of his revolting creature. In Frankenstein Shelley conveys many of the key characteristics of romantic novel through incorporating the love for nature, the yearning for isolationism and the freedom of emotion.
One of the important elements in romanticism is being alienated from the rest of society. Victor Frankenstein is the perfect example of a romantic hero. When he goes away for college, he purposely fails to keep in touch with his family. He is so busy learning knew things and experiencing the beauty of what is around him he forgets about his loved ones as shown by this quote, “ And the same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time”(43). Also, Victor tends to run from his problems, instead of confronting them or expressing them to anyone else. Instead of dealing with his creation of the monster and trying to teach it how to be a human, he ignores it and lets it hurt those he loves. One simple gesture could have saved him a world of hurt, but his ego just gets in the way. On their marriage night, Victor fails to tell Elizabeth of the monster, thinking he can handle the problem himself, and she is dead a few hours after he marries her. Shelley making Victor an isolationist adds depth to the plot as she molds him in to a romantic hero.
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