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In Chapter 5, Frankenstein brings the Creature to Life. How Important is the Theme of Birth, Childhood and Parenthood in the Novel?

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Introduction

Pre - 1914 Prose Fiction: In Chapter 5, Frankenstein brings the Creature to Life. How Important is the Theme of Birth, Childhood and Parenthood in the Novel? Part One A main theme in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is that of birth, childhood and parenthood, this is explored through Shelly's choice of frame narrative and structure for the novel. She uses a circular story in which Robert Walton, an arctic explorer, rescues Victor Frankenstein off the ice whilst he is in pursuit of the monster. This takes place at the beginning of the novel but at the end of the story, which Frankenstein tells to Walton who writes it in letters to his sister. Shelly uses the letters to make the story seem believable (verisimilitude). Although Shelly uses verisimilitude, and makes an effort to make the story seem real, it is not especially realistic as Frankenstein would not really be able to remember the monster's exact words when telling them to Walton, but she chooses this option so the reader can hear both Frankenstein and his creature's story in their own words and can therefore sympathise with both the 'parent' and 'child'. I agree with Mary Shelly's sacrifice of believability, as the reader's sympathy is very important to the story. ...read more.

Middle

Shelly uses an ironic contrast of life and death in describing the monster, using elements like "yellow skin" which is relevant to a new - born baby with jaundice and "straight black lips", which is relevant to a dead body. She also uses descriptions like "shrivelled complexion" which is relevant to both a baby and a corpse. The creature also reacts to life as a new - born baby does. "It breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs. This contrast is effective in showing the reader the irony in the fact that new life is given to parts of the dead. Shelly effectively describes the creature with enough detail to allow the reader to interpret the creature's appearance individually and also empathise with Frankenstein. Frankenstein has been disillusioned whilst creating the monster, but when it becomes alive, he is faced with its ugliness and abandons him. This is not an example of unconditional love and links in with Elizabeth's arrival into the Frankenstein family. "Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be more hideous as that wretch." The memory of the shock of the monster's looks is very powerful to Frankenstein and Shelly portrays this by using words like "Oh!" ...read more.

Conclusion

The creature attempts to excuse his actions with these words: "If the multitude of mankind knew of my existence, they would do as you and arm themselves for my destruction. Shall I not hate those who abhor me?" The monster blames the way he has been treated for his evil actions and exclaims that there is no reason for him to treat mankind with compassion and respect if he receives none himself. The primary reason of the monster seeking out his creator is that he believes Frankenstein could ease his unhappiness by giving him a woman. "Everywhere I see bliss from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good. Misery made me a fiend. Make me happy again and I shall be virtuous." The creature expresses that he feels the world is against him; creating another excuse for his actions. He also believes that his ways would change if granted with a companion. Here the monster is mimicking his "father's" own mistakes. He is asking for a woman for his own needs and does not comprehend the happiness of the "child". Shelley suggests that children naturally look up to their parents. Frankenstein followed his father (a scientist) and now the creature follows Frankenstein when wishes to create for his own needs. This is another point by Shelley, that a strong parental figure is important when bringing up children. ?? ?? ?? ?? Charly Austin 10MP ...read more.

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