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How far do you think Mary Shelly.doc

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Introduction

How far do you think Mary Shelly's 'Frankenstein' can be regarded as a work of science fiction? Science Fiction is defined as a 'genre of fiction set in some imaginary time or place.' In a 1960 survey of the field, New Maps of Hell, British novelist Kingsley Amis wrote that 'science fiction deals with events that could not happen in the world we know but are presented on the basis of some innovation in science or technology'. The Romantic period in which 'Frankenstein' was composed was a time of tremendous paradigm shifts in science. What used to be referred to as 'natural science' became 'biology'. 'Natural science' was the order in which plants and animals were classified in what was known as the 'Linnaean' system according to genus and species. On the other hand, biology is the bios- study of life, and attempts to discover the logos-idea of life. The fundamental question then became 'what is the essence of life'. These developments in science was all of crucial significance to Shelley in composing 'Frankenstein'. The notion that a corpse might be re-animated using galvanic electricity was a theory that had recently been developed as a result of the recent developments in science, the experiment which Victor had succeeded, had in fact been attempted in reality. ...read more.

Middle

At university, Victor dedicates himself to his studies and makes rapid progress, which causes him to neglect his family and his health, 'wreck I had perceived to become'. As the novel reaches at the peak of climax of Victor's toils, Victor describes the moment he has anticipated 'with an anxiety that almost amounted to agony'. Alliteration with the letter 'A' particularly in that sentence is used to emphasise the emotional state of Victor and the intensity of the atmosphere. The high expectations of Victor contrasts with the atmosphere, which may be perceived to be an omen of what is to follow. The animation of the creation is set 'On a dreary night in November', 'the rain pattered dismally' onomatopoeia is used to help set the ambience, which proves to be pathetic fallacy for the misery which was due to occur that night. The imagery of dull misery is appropriate for the scene for the opening of the 'dull yellow eye' of the creature Victor so repeatedly describes as 'miserable' and cause of his misery. Even before the creature is brought to life Victor treats him with disrespect by referring to him as an 'it' as though he were still inanimate. ...read more.

Conclusion

By looking at the character of Victor, we can see he breaks many boundaries, the boundary between natures and the unnatural, the boundary between himself and his incestuous relationship with his sister, between curiosity and obsession, and the overall boundary between life and death. Shelley declared her desire 'to curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart' this is the first in many signals to the reader that Frankenstein should be placed in the genre of the gothic. However, the novel also is within the characteristics of the Romantic. The novel was written the Romantic period, and the romantics inspired Godwin, who placed the source of evil in human institutions, and insisted upon the importance of justice and equality for all, and believed in the perfectibility of the human race. For the Romantics, the imagination is used both to escape the world and transform it, such creativity is seen as powerful, almost god-like, becoming in reality promethean figures, as does the protagonist in the this novel- Victor. The novel has the criteria for not just the science fiction genre but also that of the Gothic and of the Romantic, it can be said that Frankenstein initiates a new literary genre. As stated by one critic that this novel was the 'first spark of a new an hybrid fictional species' ...read more.

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