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'Frankenstein' English Essay.

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Frankenstein How do Mary Shelley's descriptions of the setting and her use of language in Chapter 5 create tension and excitement and represent the social and historical context of 19th Century England? Frankenstein is the best-selling and most famous piece of work by Mary Shelley. It was first published anonymously in London in 1818; however Shelley's name is printed on the cover of the third edition released in 1831. The story is set in 1790's Europe and begins with a series of letters exchanged between a man named Captain Robert Walton and his sister about Victor Frankenstein's story shortly after meeting him in the North Pole. Victor Frankenstein is from a Swiss family and is highly interested in science, how life is formed and how the body works. He becomes obsessed with creating the 'perfect' human being. He collects spare body parts from which he conceives his being. He brings it to life by an electrical current yielded from lightening bolts. After all his efforts, anyhow, Victor is extremely horrified when the 'perfect being' comes to life - it is a hideous monster. Victor is so frightened that he runs away, but then bumps into one his old friends, Henry Clerval. Victor falls seriously ill from the conscious knowledge of the huge, ugly mistake he had created and from working on the project incessantly for so many years with little rest; however Henry is there to look after him. The monster also had ran away to seek acceptance from society but he is completely rejected, which causes his loneliness. ...read more.


It is important that this part happens near the beginning of the novel so that all the disasters that are caused by the life of the monster can consume the reader afterwards. Shelley uses many devices to captivate her readers' imagination. She really captures the dark, creepy theme by using gothic descriptions. "my bedroom was freed from its hideous guest." In the above example, Shelley uses the oxymoron 'hideous guest' which shows the clash of something revolting and something pleasant side by side. This adds to the gothic theme as Shelley turns something nice into something horrible. "By the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open;" Words such as 'dreary', 'miserable', 'horror' and 'disgust' are used often in descriptions and similes. "Mingled with this horror" "horror and disgust filled my heart" The setting is very harsh and miserable. The light of the moon is 'forcing itself' through the window, not just shining through the window. "by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld the wretch - the miserable monster." In the first sentence of Chapter 5 Shelley describes the setting as a 'dreary night of November'. November is a very dull time of the year due to a lot of wet and fog, which creates a spooky atmosphere. Shelley also states the time to be one in the morning - this is late at night and is a time when people feel tired and sombre. ...read more.


They believed that something like this was not too far away in the future and this frightened them. Another thing which worried them more was where the bodies were coming from. In the novel, Frankenstein collects his spare body parts from the university he attended and in the 18th century, medical colleges and universities were in desperate need of bodies for dissection, as the only ones they could use were convicted murderers who had been hung. William Burke and William Hare discovered that they could make a lot of money by providing the colleges with dead bodies by snatching bodies from graveyards. However, when people began to notice what was going on, they began to protect graveyards with guards. Burke and Hare needed to find another source of dead bodies, and their simple plan was to murder people. As a result, this is what frightened the readers - if people were to begin making beings from spare body parts, they would need more bodies. In conclusion it is clear that through her effective descriptions and use of language Shelley gives an insight into 19th century attitudes and develops tension and excitement for the reader. This novel was very popular when it was first published and remains a classic to this day for a number of reasons. Firstly, Shelley's use of language remains just as effective and engaging now as it was nearly two hundred years ago, helping to create vivid images in the readers' imagination. Furthermore, the conflict between religion and science remains as contentious as it was when the novel was published. Finally, it has a very gripping and entertaining plot, and is a timeless classic. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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