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Examine the ways in which Mary Shelley engages the readers sympathies for the monster.

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Introduction

"Examine the ways in which Mary Shelley engages the readers sympathies for the monster. You should pay particular attention to the style, social, historical, and cultural context. You may wish to consider the narrative form and structure." Frankenstein is a novel written by Mary Shelley, set in the end of the 18th century. It tells the tale of a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who learns how to create life and creates a being in the likeness of a man, but larger than average and more powerful. When the Monster was given life, his creator realises how hideously ugly it is and therefore rejects it, this also leads ordinary people to be scared of the Monster and mistreat it. Mary Shelley employs many innovative techniques to invoke feelings of sympathy towards the Monster, including the structure, context, language, and also imagery. We are first introduced to the Monster by the main narrator, Robert Walton, who on seeing the Monster in the North Pole records it in a letter to his sister. '..Apparently of gigantic stature, sat in the sledge and guided the dogs.' At first the reader is presented an un-biased viewing of the Monster by Robert Walton, an explorer, who has not seen the monster due to the mist. He describes him as 'A being which had the shape of a man' which shows how he thinks he is a normal human being. Mary Shelley presents the monster as an evil force through-out the first few chapters. Frankenstein, after many years of cutting himself off from his friends and family, finally discovers a way to give life to dead objects. He brings the monster to life 'on a dreary night of November' in early hours of the morning which could be referred to as the witching hours which is a term for when creatures such as demons, ghosts and black magic are supposedly most effective. ...read more.

Middle

I have good dispositions; my life has been hitherto harmless and in some degree beneficial; but a fatal prejudice clouds their eyes, and where they ought to see a feeling and kind friend, they behold only a detestable monster' Here the monster describes the De Lacey family, although his companion does not know that it is his family. Sympathy is created as the Monster expresses his love towards people whom he has never met, and talks about the kind deeds which he has indeed done for the De Lacey family with no acknowledgement. The man asks for the name of the 'traveller' and he decides to uncover his identity, 'You and your family are the friends whom I seek. Do not you desert me in the hour of trial.' At this time the De Lacey family arrive in which they presume the Monster is attacking the old man and with a supernatural force tore him from his father, and struck him violently with a stick. The Monster describes the feeling of despair he has at the moment although does not endeavour to gain over their love, nor does he use his abnormal powers and capability to murder. 'I could have torn him limb from limb, as the lion rends the antelope. But my heart sank within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained.' The Monster gains sympathy as the reader realises of his capability of destruction although he chooses not to, as the reader also knows that the Monster has been aiding the family with wood and receives a terrific violent response when he attempts to make an acquaintance with them. After the rejection from the De Lacey family the Creature expresses his feelings to the reader and describes the despair he is feeling, he also comments that 'the mildness of his nature has fled, and all within him was turned to gall and bitterness.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Mary Shelley seems not to condemn the act of creation but rather Frankenstein's lack of willingness to accept the responsibility for his deeds. His creation only becomes a monster at the moment his creator deserts it (1). Thus Frankenstein warns of the careless use of science - the book was written at an early stage of the Industrial Revolution, a period of dramatic scientific and technological advance. This is still an important issue, even 200 years after the book was written. Taken into consideration what many inventions of the last 50 years brought upon mankind, one must assume that many scientists still do not care much. (E.g. the splitting of the atom was turned into nuclear bombs and the invention of the computer resulted in an eerie dehumanisation of our society). Most scientists seem to be like Victor Frankenstein, who finished his work in the prospect of achieving fame. Only when he realizes the repulsiveness of his creation, Victor comes to senses. Intended as a warning, Victor tells his story to the polar explorer Walton: Social Historical and Cultural Context - what kind of things were happened at the time, social, historical, science cultural events that you can include. The romantic movement, one area the idea that people are interested in learning for themselves. People became interested in how they could restore the dead to life, historical events and scientific movements. Galvani - electricity, the frogs experiment. Don't write a whole paragraph, include in various different things. 'Frankenstein is obsessed with creating life this reflects historical events at the time such as Galvani who experimented on electricity with frogs.' Language - extract quotations and talk about language, suggested areas - description, shelleys use of description, gothic imagery, gothic style, when he speaks to his creator for the first time the religious imagery and 'I ought to be thou adam but I am sumit angel' look at the differences with the monsters childhood description, nature and nurture, innocence compared to frankensteins - demons, wretch, devil. Emotional language, referring to language in order to achieve top grades. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english_literature/prosefrankenstein/2prose_frankenstein_charrev2.shtml http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein ...read more.

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