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Discuss the significance of the shifts in narrative perspective in Frankenstein. What is the effect of presenting different characters viewpoints, especially those of Victor and the monster?

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Introduction

Question: (25 Marks) 1. Discuss the significance of the shifts in narrative perspective in Frankenstein. What is the effect of presenting different characters' viewpoints, especially those of Victor and the monster? Answer Mary Shelley uses many different narrators inside her story, including Walton, through letters, followed by Victor, and in Volume 2, the Monster themselves. It has various effects on the flow of the story, and its main effect is that it helps the reader to understand the characters in the novel much more easily and also provide the perspectives of various people, to get a feel of what society was at that time, and also to break certain stigmas that were present at that time. This can be seen in all three narrators in the book- Robert Walton, another fellow mad scientist, Victor, the protagonist and the Monster, the main antagonist. Firstly, the main use of Walton in the story helps us understand how a scientist during that time period perceives another scientist with the same intentions and sacrifices as himself. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, the usage of first-person perspective makes us able to understand Victor's feelings in a better way rather than if a third person narrator was used. This is shown by Victors' true intentions such as the main aim of building the monster- to relieve the grief felt from the departure of loved ones. However, it turns haywire, which is instantly realised when we encounter Victor's dream of him kissing his beloved Elizabeth, then followed by the dying corpse of his own mother. That is when everything begins to go wrong. His feelings is also pronounced- for example, we can see what was going through Victor's mind when the Monster tried to persuade him to create a female monster- He compassionated at his words but immediately felt disgusted when he saw the Monster's face. By showing all of these aspects of Victor's initial good intentions, she aims, again to break the social stigma that "mad scientists" are all mad from birth and have no good will, by showing Victor's innocent childhood and also how his monster was built on good intentions. ...read more.

Conclusion

The overall effect of this is that we get a reflection on the society at that time being too orientated on looks, and also how the novel scrutinises it by Shelley's clever writing which makes us sympathise the ugly Monster, whereas we see every other person in the book looks at him in disgust. Also, we can better understand the feelings of a "failure" in the society such as orphans whom have no companion and anyone to look after them, and is continually looked down upon by the society. As a result, we can better understand the Monster's role and his significance in the society at that time by using him as the first narrator. In conclusion, Mary Shelley uses the three narrators in a Mise-en-Abyne fashion to slowly delve deeper into the story, and in the process, understand the three narrators, whom are characters in a first-hand manner. Shelley also uses these three characters which have unique roles as narrators to help her break certain social stigmas present at that time. But overall, the usage of various narrators in the book helps us understand the story better. ...read more.

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3 star(s)

The question posed is an interesting one and could provide the basis for an interesting response. In this case the findings are made at too superficial a level meaning that the full depth of the text isn't shown. The points made by the different narrative perspectives need to be supported with evidence from the text which in turn will allow for the analysis of language, structure and form.

3 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 13/05/2013

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