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How Far is Frankenstein a Novel of Ideas Over a Novel for Entertainment?

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Scott Bissett 11B How Far is Frankenstein a Novel of Ideas Over a Novel for Entertainment? "It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow light of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs." This is the birth of the monster, one of the most important parts of the book, and it doesn't even get its own sentence. There is very little suspense because of this, but the scene is well set. It is dark and it is gloomy, a scary atmosphere. This lack of suspense can make the modern reader bored. Is this lack of suspense done on purpose, or is it simply because of when it was written? Is it supposed to not be interesting, so that the ideas stand out more clearly? Is the story less important than the ideas, or is it that in 1818, this story was frightening? There are a lot of ideas in the novel Frankenstein, for example; Nature vs. Nurture, Monstrosity, Moral and Social Education, Feminism, Prejudice, Science vs. ...read more.


In Frankenstein for example, the monster is often treated badly, even if all he is doing is helping. The blind man, De Lacey, treats him as a normal person. He says "The hearts of men, when unprejudiced . . . are full of brotherly love and charity." Then the family enter, and the son, Felix, starts beating him. This shows that it is his appearance that makes him hated, as the blind man doesn't hate him, as he is not held back by his sight, and instead can see the monster's personality shining through. Another example of how appearance creates a monster is by using the opposite, by having the two extremes of beauty, the angelic against the ugly. The people murdered by the monster, always look very sweet and innocent. For example, when little William is murdered, he is still "that sweet little child, whose smiles delighted and warmed my heart, who was so gentle and yet so gay." Even when he is lying dead, he is still angelic looking, "stretched on the grass, livid and motionless; the print of the murderer's finger was on his neck." This creates sympathy, because a sweet innocent child doesn't deserve to die, making the great ugly creature that would do so even worse by comparison. ...read more.


That is just one of many ideas in Frankenstein. The other thing that I have to mention is the flaws in the story, that make it seem more likely that this is a novel of ideas. For example, the way that Frankenstein discovers the secret of life. He himself was "surprized that among so many men of genius, who had directed their enquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover such astonishing a secret." To me it seems too convenient that he comes across the idea so easily after starting. Any problems that might crop up in the story are just ignored. If something holds back the story, then it is swept aside, so that the ideas can storm through, unrestrained. How far Frankenstein is a novel for entertainment depends on how you look at it. Modern readers are used to cinema, and television, and stories that are new and scary. For readers in 1818, the ideas in this story are relatively new, and murder wasn't as common in their stories as it is nowadays. In conclusion, the novel Frankenstein is more a novel for ideas, than for entertainment, as the ideas come through clearly, shockingly, whereas the story falls apart in places, and in my opinion exists simply to carry the ideas through. Scott Bissett 11B Frankenstein Coursework 1/2 ...read more.

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