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Frankenstein Man or Monster?

Essay by   •  May 9, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,351 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,431 Views

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The novel Frankenstein is a piece of gothic writing written by Mary Shelley. Shelley got the idea of Frankenstein from a dream she had. The evening before the dream Shelly and her friends had a ghost story competition and that following night Shelly had a nightmare. Shelly coming up with the wonderful idea of Frankenstein creating a monster came as a result of her friends discussing topics related to when a man is dead if it could be possible to bring him back to life with an electric charge. Shelly's style is not all gothic as she has written a number of less known novels such as 'The Last Man' and 'Lodore'. In the following essay I will explore the different ways Shelly creates atmosphere using tone and style and I will begin to develop my own judgement weather I believe if Mary Shelly's character is a self pitying man who is refusing to accept the consequences of his actions, therefore making him the real monster not his creation, or if he was a great thinker who was trying to find answers to impossible questions ahead of his time but just went a bit too far.

Frankenstein's upbringing and childhood was filled with mixed emotions. Throughout the first three chapters the reader is told that Frankenstein comes from a loving family. At university Frankenstein studied philosophy and soon became very interested in the natural science when lighting destroyed a tree next to his house. Frankenstein has had an eccentric adolescence and his interest in slightly unusual things definitely came about because of his mother's death, which was a hard-hitting experience for him. He felt that he wanted to create something special to show his mum what kind of a hard working and intelligent person he was. Although the first couple of chapters Frankenstein's background seems fun-loving and caring the reader can sense that even in these early passages the stability and comfort of the family is eventually going to explode. Frankenstein mother's death and lightening destroying a tree next to his house I believe were the major turning points that triggered his interest in natural science and these were the key turning points where he decided that he wanted to modernise natural science and set other people a target for which to try to succeed.

Even before the creature is introduced the choice of lexis prepares its entrance. The fact that the corpse was brought to life on a 'dreary night of November' shows the importance in Frankenstein's life. It also implies that he was only concerned about his creation and had ignored any other responsibility including his family. This shows how shut out from the rest of the world he was. Frankenstein states that 'the candle was burnt out' which is unclear. Shelly reinforces the already tense scene and it is possible the candle symbolises the countdown to the awakening of the monster. This technique is used to indicate the start of a new era in which the creature and creator bring in fear to mankind. When Frankenstein realises he made this creation he is horrified. The choice of words that Shelly uses to describe the creation is significant. As it came to life the appearance of the creation is focused upon heavily. Its 'dull yellow eye' and 'it breathed hard and a conclusive motion agitated its limb'. Frankenstein had selected its features as beautiful however the 'beauty of the dream vanished'. 'The lustrous black hair' and the 'teeth of pearly whiteness' formed a horrid contrast with its 'watery eyes'. Shelly focuses of the hideous appearance of the creation, and this foreshadows what happens in the monsters life throughout the novel including how harshly he was treated. As the monster 'stretched out' to reach Frankenstein a 'grin wrinkled his cheeks'. This shows how the monster is behaving like a new born baby needing the guidance of its mother, although there isn't much humanity shown

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