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Frankenstein: Look at the significance of Chapter 5 to the novel as a whole.

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Introduction

Mary Shelley (1797-1851) has incorporated different techniques in her novel Frankenstein, especially in Chapter 5, to achieve different atmospheres in order to provide a clear sense of character which helps readers to shape their personal interpretations of what is happening and why it is happening by ambiguous use of language. Frankenstein, also known as 'The Modern Prometheus', was written during the early 19th century (1816-1817), when Shelley was at the young age of 18. Shelley was surrounded by death, this can insight the reader as to where her eccentric ideas and fascinations of creating life, which condemned societal thoughts and morality at that period, had arisen from. Frankenstein is written in two contrasting genres; Gothic and Romance. Shelley fuses these two genres together to create a dramatic effect which will linger until the final pages where the tragedy, and fatality of this mix, is uncovered. Themes which Chapter 5 explores and shapes for the novel as a whole are: Loneliness and solitude; obsessive science; prejudice via superficiality; fate (of different characters); morality: the effects of arrogance and self-righteousness; and the effects of psychological mentality on one's actions. Victor's creation feels loneliness; he yearns for a resemblance or someone that would at minimum look past his appearance. On the other hand Victor voluntarily isolates himself, taking others' concerns for granted. Family concerns for Victor's welfare is emphasised by the constant letters to and from Elizabeth for him; one of which clearly demonstrates this is at the beginning of Chapter 6. It was socially inadequate of one, especially Victor who is close to Elizabeth, to not keep in contact for such a prolonged period. This emphasises how obsessive he was to complete his experiment; even if it did take an extensive period of time, and would create greater concern. He had a priority, which if a scientist has, must first be completed, "I had worked hard for nearly two years." ...read more.

Middle

Dante had also written Italian Poetry (subsequently translated to other languages) which includes emotions which the monster felt such as Loneliness and exile in Paradiso. This puts an emphasis on the creature's loneliness, showing how nothing prior to his creation had trodden upon this Earth, thus nothing currently resembles him - and without Victor's help of creating him a partner - nothing ever will. He is lonely to a degree where he struggles to answer the most fundamental questions of identity and personal History. Foreshadowing is used to highlight dramatic scenes such as Elizabeth's death later in the novel: "but as I imprinted the first kiss on her [Elizabeth] lips they became livid with the hue of death." Victor imagines these images during his anguish sleep, the night his creation is summoned to life. Readers automatically presume the worst which creates atmosphere as Victor prior to this was 'Delighted and surprised' which is another horrifying contrast used by Shelley, directly referring to their wedding night later in the novel. The reference of death is further elaborated but with another character who is killed in a similar manner later in the novel: Henry. Victor, as Henry soon enters his house, returns to his unfit state: "a wildness in my eyes which he [Henry] could not account; and loud, unrestrained, heartless laughter, frightened and astonished him." This is the way in which the monster vows revenge against humanity after being forsaken by the cottagers. The way Shelley reflects the monster's attributes on him directly links him to the cause of his friend's and family's deaths. Science is not the only method of helping humanity. In Chapter 6, during Elizabeth's letter to Victor, there is a hidden moral message. It speaks about the way in which one can 'safely' help humanity: "it is certainly more creditable to cultivate the earth for the sustenance of man." Whilst this does not directly address Victor, it shows that when Science will not ultimately help man; but the basic processes such as farming make the big difference. ...read more.

Conclusion

[Chapter 1] "I eagerly inquired of my father the nature of thunder and lightning. He replied 'Electricity'". Both Shelley's and Victor's characters parallel - like Shelley was inspired by her political-thinking radical father; Victor was inspired by his father, who is a scientist, of such possibilities. Nurture does play a role in this Prometheus secrecy because Victor is like his natural philosopher, M.Krempe, who is "an uncouth man, but deeply imbued in the secrets of science." His professor - who had forwarded and researched this scientific phenomenon - was, too, secret in his discoveries. The significance of the light symbolism is emphasised by its introduction in Walton's first letter, "What may not be expected in a country of eternal light." Light in Frankenstein is used in a scientific context, thus in saying this Walter is referring to the pleasant, 'warm' light, the one which clarifies concepts. However as this degree of knowledge increases, so does the intensity of the light. When this light reaches an exceptionally high-degree, outside our reach, it becomes dangerous - as with anything. When Walton pursues his endeavour through the North Pole, in spite of the sailors' warnings to him that they may commit mutiny, Victor warns him about "how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge." In conclusion, Chapter 5 in Frankenstein creates atmosphere by introducing the themes which ultimately link to the tragedy that is seem by the end of the novel. Using these themes Shelley leaves clues which may foreshadow later sections of the novel. Obvious foreshadowing is shown during Victor's disturbed dream as he sees Elizabeth's death during their wedding night; other more subtle foreshadowing/clues have been left for the more witty readers such as the change in the weather, adding to the sinister atmosphere, and what connotation this has. Techniques such as this thus intrigue the reader and in most case inevitably influence them to read on in order to decipher the puzzle that is presented. ?? ?? ?? ?? Riyadh Abdulla 11J4 English Literature: Pre-1914 Prose Instructor: Mrs Patel 1 ...read more.

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