Points to Ponder

The novel often shifts in perspective. Address the effect of presenting the different viewpoints of characters - specifically those of the monster and Victor.

In the beginning of Frankenstein, Walton is narrating through the letters he writes to his sister. Then Victor takes up the narrative. For a time the monster is narrating, and then the narration goes back to Walton to end the novel. Every time the perspective shifts the reader gets all kinds of new information about the facts of the story and the different personalities of the narrators. Each person who narrates has their own way of seeing things and understanding what has taken place in the story. Additionally, there is information that is known only to certain narrators, and they add that information to the story. It helps to flesh everything out for the reader. Walton talks about what happens to Victor in the man's last days. Victor talks about the way the monster was created. The monster, in his turn as narrator, tells the reader why he became so evil.

Since there are so many differences in the perspectives of the narrators, the contrast between them can seem stark to the reader at times. That is especially significant where the monster and Victor are concerned, since they oppose each other for such a large portion of the work. Victor's point of view is clear: the monster is evil and hideous. The monster, however, shows through his own narration that he is feeling, thinking, and emotional in a way that is very human. Things that happen in the story are seen very differently through the eyes of the monster and the eyes of Victor. The murder of William, for example, is seen only as an act of pure evil by Victor. The monster sees the emotions that led up to the killing. The dual narration is a side benefit of a complex narrative structure and provides a depth of understanding for the reader that might not be possible with only one narrator to the story.

Discuss the role that the letters and other forms of written communication play throughout the...

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Essays About Frankenstein