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Frankenstein. I aim to discuss and analyse the significance of chapter 5 to the novel as a whole. I will primarily focus upon the relevance and effect of Shelleys use of language to describe setting, character and what it shows about social and histori

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Introduction

In this piece, I aim to discuss and analyse the significance of chapter 5 to the novel as a whole. I will primarily focus upon the relevance and effect of Shelley's use of language to describe setting, character and what it shows about social and historical influences. The main style expressed in the novel was Gothic horror. As said by Mary herself what were essentially the foundations of Frankenstein originated from the many long days and nights in which Mary, Percy (later to be husband), Lord Byron and others had no option but to entertain themselves, when the weather remained wet and dreary throughout their stay. The group passed time by reading anthologies such as Thomas Weynant's Fantasmagoria (a collection of German ghost stories) which later lead to the proposition of a Ghost-Story story competition. It was here than Mary ceased the opportunity to create her first draft, enthused by a dream, or rather, nightmare she had previously had, in which she witnessed "the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together." Despite this being arguably what is believed to be Mary's original idea for Frankenstein, I believe she was also inspired by her own personal tragedies, such as the death of her premature daughter which occurred before the holiday at Lord Byron's. Consequently, Mary suffered depression and it is said she had numerous visions of where she witnessed her child coming back to life. It is usually the case when authors seek inspiration in their own personal experiences or misfortune. Amongst many of the discreet messages conveyed in the novel, lies Shelley's desire to answer the unanswerable. 'What is our purpose in life?', 'What makes our time on earth worth while?' Such question's are what every person considers at some point in their lives but leads us to disappointment with our question left unanswered. Mary's life was filled with misfortune, in her lifetime she witnessed the death of her three children, mother, and her husband, and the suicides of Percy's former wife and Mary's half-sister. ...read more.

Middle

It is the moment in chapter 5 when Victor finally realises that there will be consequences for what he has done, a revelation he cannot alter nor flee from, which therefore impacts the rest of the novel in that his future from here onwards will only get worse. Chapter 5 reveals a lot about the character of Victor Frankenstein. Up to this point in the plot Victor's ambitions and dreams have remained just that, however it is at this moment in the novel that his aspirations are realised and the creation is brought to life. Victor's character gains full attention at this point as the chapter focuses upon his reaction. We begin to notice qualities that were previously only shown in small quantities. We see his innocent fascination in natural philosophy progress into obsession, which further goes to reveal traits such as determination, impatience and agony. "With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, collected the instruments of life around me that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet." This sentence contains two possible meanings firstly it suggests that Victor is in no healthy bodily state. Through his sheer determination he is feeling exhaustion, agony and has a sense of unease by the potential outcome that all his effort has been down to. Another meaning is less literal, and the same traits could be applied to his mental state, which further goes to show that his mind is restless and not sound. "I thought I saw Elizabeth in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I embraced her; but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms; a shroud enveloped her form, and I saw the grave-worms crawling in the folds of the flannel." ...read more.

Conclusion

Similarly Justine the loyal minder of Victor's young brother William suffers prejudice and is punished with death when she is heartbreakingly accused of murdering a child and her beloved William, no less. Another theme expressed throughout is the suffering of physical or emotional isolation. Walton decides to isolate himself in this frozen wasteland, however soon shows remorse with the lack of a true companion on his expedition. Likewise Victor also chooses to separate himself, firstly when at university in Ingolstadt, when he cuts off all contact with his loved ones, in order to create life. Soon after, he neglects Elizabeth, his most affectionate, reliable friend, solely out of fear she will uncover his disturbing secret. Unlike Walton and Victor, the monster does not bring this upon itself. Instead, shortly after its birth it attempts to make contact with various individuals and connect with them, but wrongly continues to suffer abuse, which ends in self-imposed isolation in the dump next to the De Lacey's cottage. Mary Shelley's message here is that isolation, whether self-imposed or not, can only result in sorrow, the collapse of society and, in due course, disastrous consequences. In reading and studying this chapter I have come to gain a better understanding and knowledge of to what extent literature was deemed suitable in pronunciation and style for the average reader during the 19th century. The density of the wording along with a wide vocabulary gives the audience an improved insight into society's expectations for an educated reader. Furthermore, through exploring themes and characters included in this chapter gave me a greater appreciation into the nature of the conflict between man, god, nature and science that dominated society in the 19th century. Countless poems during the time of Mary Shelley reflect similar principles, thoughts and conflict which can be found in Frankenstein. The book also provides an introduction into a new Gothic Horror style that was to later be continued into the 19th century by famous authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and further into our modern day. 3rd March 2009 Frankenstein Coursework ...read more.

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