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An analysis of Chapter Five of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'

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Introduction

An analysis of Chapter Five of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' is an important novel in the history of English literature, and the warning it poses is still relevant, with science making many fictions become fact. This novel is about the struggle of Dr. Frankenstein to create the perfect person and his anguish when he realises he has created a monster. Chapter Five is a pivotal point in the novel: all the chapters before were leading up to the creation, and all the chapters after are as a result of the creation. It is also a key chapter in the novel as it encapsulates many of the features, characteristics and themes of the novel. In Chapter Five the characters are described in detail giving an accurate reflection of their personality. Dr. Frankenstein is very tenacious in his toils. This is portrayed in the recollection of his monsters' creation. He has worked for 'nearly two years,' showing the long time scale over which he has laboured managing to stay focused throughout. His perseverance is even more strongly represented when he talks about the 'accomplishment of my toils.' It is an accomplishment to have infused life however the use of the words 'toils' suggests he has not enjoyed his work, emphasising how determined he has been to labour on a project he dislikes. Frankenstein prioritised his work over anything else, the quote, 'I had deprived myself of rest and health,' is a good example of this. ...read more.

Middle

Mary Shelley expresses the danger of obsession in this novel. 'I desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation,' shows Frankenstein's unhealthy engrossment in his work. The effects on Frankenstein pose a warning to society on becoming addicted about something. Moral dilemmas are also addressed in this chapter. For example when Frankenstein 'collected the instruments of life,' he is making a conscious decision going against many people's ethics trying to infuse life. Mary Shelley is challenging what people believe in and asking whether science should continue advancing. Mary Shelley having suffered two miscarriages while writing 'Frankenstein' expresses the horror of childbirth. The quote 'I had so miserably given life' expresses this. It impresses the trauma of childbirth to a man who will never experience it, helping you to empathise with Frankenstein. Language is effectively used in Chapter Five to create many effects. The use of pathetic fallacy is typical of a Gothic novel and creates an eerie atmosphere. The scene is a 'Dreary night of November' using the weather to suggest it is a dismal evening. The setting is at night creating an eerie and dark atmosphere. The quote 'rain pattered dismally against the panes,' further develops the readers' image of the night. Rain gives a miserable impression and creates a depressing atmosphere. The word 'panes' also holds a double meaning, literally the window panes yet also Frankenstein's pains; his ongoing struggle to create life. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Frankenstein' is an experimental novel that uses graphic descriptions to portray its characters. For instance when Mary Shelley describes the monster saying 'His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath.' It conjures a revolting image in your mind, much more disturbing than other literature of the period. 'Frankenstein' is a typical Gothic novel, and is an example of early horror fiction. In Gothic novels common themes were supernatural forces, solitary characters and terror. They also explored the dark side of human nature. This is apparent in Chapter Five when Frankenstein rejects his monster. 'Disgust filled my heart,' he detests his own creation. If the monsters own creator disowns it how can anyone else accept it? Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' is semi-autobiographical. When writing the novel she suffered two difficult pregnancies, in the novel this is represented by Frankenstein's difficult creation of his monster. For example 'Infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form,' represents Mary Shelley's opinions about how she suffered to give birth. Mary Shelley can also relate to the monster, she grew up without a mother and so does the monster. In conclusion the descriptions of the characters in Chapter Five give an accurate reflection of their personality. Mary Shelley's use of language and structure is effective to build the atmosphere. Many of Mary Shelley's influences and opinions are clear in this novel, the most prominent being a warning of what happens when you interfere with Gods work. The reason for this books timeless popularity may be its continued relevance today, with the battle between science and religion raging more fiercely than ever. Katie Preston Page 1 ...read more.

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