Frankenstein is told at a great distance, both physically and psychologically. The epistolary novel opens with letters from Robert Walton to his sister in England. Walton is on an exploring expedition to the far north, and his letters are dated from locations farther and farther north, starting with St. Petersburg, Russia, then Archangel, then unspecified locations, as Walton passes into unexplored territory.
With each shift of perspective, the reader gains new information about both the facts of the story and the personalities of the respective narrators. Each narrator adds pieces of information that only he knows: The differences in perspective between the narrators are sometimes stark, especially since Victor and the monster stand in opposition to each other for much of the novel.
The recounting of the murder of William Frankenstein is a prime example of the impact of perspective: Even if one cannot sympathize with the monster, one can at least understand his actions.
This kind of dual narration is one of the more interesting consequences of the complicated narrative structure that Shelley implements. Letters also serve as a means of social interaction, as characters are frequently out of immediate contact with one another.
Walton never encounters his sister in the novel; his relationship with her is based wholly on correspondence. Likewise, Victor often isolates himself from his loved ones; the letters from Alphonse and Elizabeth mark attempts to connect with him.
Even the monster uses written communication to develop a relationship with Victor when, at the end of the novel, he leads him ever northward by means of notes on the trees and rocks he passes. Do Victor and the monster differ in their view of women, and if so, how?
Women in Frankenstein are generally pure, innocent, and passive. Though there are a few exceptions, such as Caroline Beaufort, who works to support her impoverished father, women are generally seen as kind but powerless.
For both Victor and the monster, woman is the ultimate companion, providing comfort and acceptance. For Victor, Elizabeth proves the sole joy that can alleviate his guilty conscience; similarly, the monster seeks a female of his kind to commiserate with his awful existence. One can argue that Frankenstein represents a rejection of the male attempt to usurp by unnatural means what is properly a female endeavor—birth.
One can also interpret the novel as a broader rejection of the aggressive, rational, and male-dominated science of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Though it was long met with mistrust, this science increasingly shaped European society.
In this light, Frankenstein can be seen as prioritizing traditional female domesticity with its emphasis on family and interpersonal relationships.The Purdue Writing Lab Purdue University students, faculty, and staff at our West Lafayette, IN campus may access this area for information on the award-winning Purdue Writing Lab.
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As a follow-up to Tuesday’s post about the majority-minority public schools in Oslo, the following brief account reports the latest statistics on the cultural enrichment of schools in Austria. Vienna is the most fully enriched location, and seems to be in roughly the same situation as Oslo.
Many thanks to Hermes for the translation from leslutinsduphoenix.com The Endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley’s Novel. Berkeley: University of California Press, Berkeley: University of California Press, Collection of essays focusing more on the endurance of the story of Frankenstein rather than the novel, most notably “The Stage and Film Children of Frankenstein: A Survey,” by Albert J.
LaValley. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in (incidentally enough for a writer who would go on to explore some of the darker aspects of American history—the Salem .
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