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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Helen Williams How far do Walton's letters prepare us for the tale which is about to unfold? Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is written in several different narrative frames, the first being Captain Robert Walton's letters to his sister in England, whilst he is on a voyage of discovery to the North Pole. He relates the sightings of the creature and the discovery of Victor Frankenstein in his letters. At the end of the final letter, Walton introduces Victor's tale, and we are then assured that the main narrator throughout the novel will be Walton, and that the tale of Victor (and later the tale of the creation) will be related through him. This theme of listening happens to be ongoing throughout the novel. Frankenstein's creation tells him: "Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, abandon or commiserate me, as you shall judge that I deserve. But hear me. The guilty are allowed, by human laws, bloody as they are, to speak in their own defence before they are condemned." Listening to stories is the essential ingredient to the future success of each of the characters in this novel. We can derive from his letters that Walton's values and morals aren't ideal, but from listening to the story of Victor Frankenstein, we assume that Walton can reassess his life and change its course. ...read more.

Middle

"...elevates me to heaven." Walton seems to be playing God or somebody of high divinity by generously giving out 'heavenly' phrases. This is quite foreboding, as the oppressiveness in the historical context also suggests that all is not well. This is backed up by Walton acting against his father's dying injunction; not to embark in a seafaring life. This is not a very 'divine' thing to do. This is an underlying theme at this early stage in the novel, but as Victor confesses his story of playing God, we realise that this theme mutely prepares us for the tale that is about to unfold. The desire to find out the unknown and to be the first to discover the unseen is a tragic flaw of both Walton and the Victor Frankenstein, and from the very first letter, the theme of glory is heavily established. Walton states: "I preferred glory." Of course there are only a select few who have achieved this timeless goal, yet those who pursue it are encouraged by the immortality and recognition awarded to the victorious. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a literary rumination of the quest for glory, Walton's discovery of the North Pole being the backdrop for the tale of the title character's pursuit of the knowledge of life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whether this is a good or bad thing, that is for the individual to decide. There are faults in the letters, however. Mary Shelley has a very amateur style of writing which is very apparent in certain phrases. As a woman writing for the point of view of a male character, she doesn't seem to capture a very masculine 'voice:' "His full-toned voice swells in my ears; his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their melancholy sweetness." "Being even now in wreck so attractive an amiable." "My affection for my guest increases each day. He excites at once my admiration and my pity to an astonishing degree." It is in these examples that a male's (Walton's) description of another male (Victor) aren't entirely convincing. Shelley's age and gender become apparent and we realise that she isn't a very experienced author, and can't relate to the colloquial style of men whilst writing, although she wasn't deprive of male company in the slightest even at the young age (18) she was when she wrote Frankenstein. She was married at the time. However, this fault is probably due to her youth and inexperience, and is hardly mentionable given that Frankenstein is often perceived as one of the greatest Gothic novels ever written. 1 ...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. Comparing The Foghorn and The Sea Raiders

    They might have thought that they were being attacked so the only way that they knew how to respond is by attacking the humans first. This scares the others away when they realise how potentially dangerous these creatures are. The language in both differs.

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

    The following events at Ingelstadt involving M.Krempe and M.Waldman seem to also prompt Victor along his destined path as he even explains that "chance- or rather the evil influence, the Angel of Destruction" influenced him. Krempe's rejection of Victors scientific idols being "as musty as they are ancient" further still

  1. In what ways do Walton's letters at the start of the novel help engage ...

    The setting also hints at the themes of discovery which are pivotal within the novel, with Walton making his expedition and the yearning for discovery which is laced throughout Victor's soul (showed when trying to discover the meaning of life.)

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

    By using poems from various writers in her novel, Shelley was able to demonstrate that similar ideas and emotions were being written around that era of time, which made them more realistic to me. Also, using a wide range of sources based on the same idea Shelley wanted to express,

  1. How does Shelley prepare us for the horror of Frankenstein's creature?

    Mary Shelly signed the novel anonymously signifying that in society at that time women weren't very respected, in fact they were ostracized. Shelley's novel was shunned, a critic said ' the book had no principle or morals and should be dismissed with no further comment'.

  2. Mary Shelly wrote the Gothic tale

    Victor Frankenstein ends up dead and pays the final price. The monster could be seen as a Noble Savage for many reasons and why does the reader have sympathy for the monster? The monster tells the reader about how he had to hide from society because of his appearance also because mankind would not accept his ugliness.

  1. How far does the Monster Deserve this Label in Frankenstein?

    In my opinion, a monster is a tall, large being who is also rather ugly. A monster is evil and enjoys creating pain and suffering and even acting out murders. A monster is horrible both on the inside and on the outside.

  2. What is the significance of Captain Walton, and how does his character prepare us ...

    We understand that Walton's actions foreshadow those of Victor, yet to be discovered in the novel. It is in this that Walton plays a significant role. Further on, after several letters have been written discussing his health and progress in his journey, Walton remarks:- 'I desire the company of a man.'

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