• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does the language used in the letters and the first two chapters of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' reflect it's gothic genre?

Extracts from this document...


How does the language used in the letters and the first two chapters of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' reflect it's gothic genre? The gothic genre was popular around the nineteenth century. It is often associated with dark, evil things and death. This seemed appropriate at the time as there were no electric lights or televisions so it was generally darker than it is in the present day. It brings to mind stories like Frankenstein, Dracula and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It may have been popular at this time because it is typically based about ominous things in dark places making it seem more realistic because of the use of candles at the time. I am focussing on the beginning of 'Frankenstein' and observing how his dreams drove him to his own destruction, and how he is left to destroy the monster which he created. Robert Walton, an explorer travelling through the icy wasteland of the North Pole, sees the monster and is suddenly overwhelmed by his evil presence, he then finds Frankenstein, almost dead and consumed by the coldness of the bitter environment. Victor comes with his warning, and his story, as he explains just what a dream can lead to. ...read more.


We see Walton's growing obsession with Frankenstein as he says "he excites both at once my admiration and pity to an astonishing degree". He tells his sister that Frankenstein is "much recovered from his illness and is constantly on the deck, apparently watching for the sledge that preceded his own." He describes how Frankenstein is constantly in search of the monster and how determined he is to find the monster at all costs, probably because he has nothing left to give and all he has to gain is revenge against the monster for taking from his all he had once loved. The last part of the letter is Frankenstein's warning to Walton, and his promise to tell him his story, which brings us into the chapters. The horror of the story is gradually built up throughout the letters and leads into the chapters quite well. This structure of the book is very typical of the gothic genre. The beginning of Chapter One is about Frankenstein's father before he had children and when he met Caroline, Frankenstein's mother. Frankenstein was born in Naples and spent the first years of his life travelling in Europe. His parents saw him as a gift, and treated him as such. ...read more.


We can see Frankenstein's warning becoming clearer because he made the same mistake as Walton did. Using the comparison between Frankenstein and his father his father, Shelley makes the story very appropriate to the traditions of the time, sons taking after fathers. Also, the simple catalyst for the breakdown of a character is very common in gothic horror. Towards the end of chapter 2 Frankenstein describes a violent thunderstorm, and he specifically describes a beautiful oak tree which was struck by lightning and suddenly destroyed, "...on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and no soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared". This is like an instantaneous representation of Frankenstein's life, a beautiful beginning and then a sudden turning point leading to a horrible end. It also represents the gothic genre with the idea of a wonderful life being taking by an evil force, using the thunderstorm as a metaphor for the destructive force that takes such light and innocence from the world. Many elements of the gothic genre are apparent in the letters and first two chapters and even though the reader knows what happens to Frankenstein in the end, they are compelled to read about his life and what drove him to become what he is when Walton finds him. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mary Shelley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Mary Shelley essays

  1. How is the creature presented in chapters 11-16 of Frankenstein?

    In chapter 12 he says, 'I had been accustomed, during the night to steal a part of their store for my own consumption; but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained, and satisfied myself with berries, nuts, and roots, which I gathered from a neighbouring wood'.

  2. How is the creature presented in chapters 11-16 of Frankenstein?

    girl who understood very little and conversed in broken accent whilst I comprehended every word that was spoken", he is shown to have a superior intellect which he elaborates on by comparing himself to Safie. Safie did nit speak the language that the De Laceys spoke.

  1. To what extent is Frankenstein typical of the Gothic genre?

    He describes it as "a place fitted for such works" inclining us to believe that it is highly remote, as Victor obviously does not want to be apprehended by the authorities. The lack of civilisation ("On the whole island there where but three miserable huts" with only "five persons")

  2. How far do Walton's letters prepare us for the tale which is about to ...

    The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul." This appreciation of beauty in a novel so filled with brutality seems an odd contrast, but is elementary for the distinct natural settings that we will come

  1. Compare three stories of suspense in three different styles of writing

    He just wants to know why it is there. Poe shows that the man is clearly affected by this raven by using images of Heaven and Hell, which shows he is scared of losing his life but he is hoping that Lenore has something to do with the raven, which

  2. The gothic horror story "Frankenstein" was published in the early nineteenth century by the ...

    These types of techniques generally appear to show a particularly bad scene e.g. a ship being damaged or somebody dying. Another technique familiar to a horror films is the creation of wind/rain/storm. These types of weather undeniably indicate evil or generally represent an evil setting or landscape where there is upcoming evil or some gruesome events.

  1. The Horror Genre - The Bride of Frankenstein. Can we determine genre from mise-en-scene ...

    The first characters in the beginning of the film are Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and Percy Shelley who are having a conversation. As they discuss the story of Frankenstein's Monster, Mary reveals that this was not the end of the creature.

  2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - With reference to chapters 11-16, describe the development and ...

    The latter captures the young Victor's imagination and from then on he spent most of his time studying science and mixing the alchemists' findings with modern science. He also discovers the use of electricity, which in the time of Mary Shelley was an extremely new element of science.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work