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Which character does the reader have more sympathy for: Victor Frankenstein or his creature?

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Which character does the reader have more sympathy for: Victor Frankenstein or his creature? The Modern Prometheus, more commonly known as Frankenstein, is a gothic novel about a scientist written in 1818 by Mary Shelley. It is a well-known tragic tale of a young scientist by the name of Victor Frankenstein who was intrigued by the controversial theory of 'galvanism', the chemical reaction that produces electricity to bring life. He used this theory to create life artificially by passing a current of electricity through a body. But the being he created soon shows a destructive frame of mind and Victor sincerely regrets his creation. The idea of electricity was fairly new when the book was published and people weren't sure of the capabilities it could imply. Shelley's inspiration for the novel came from this idea; she overheard her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelly, and George Byron discussing the possibility of creating life through electricity. ...read more.


This means that the reader would recognise and predict how Victor's story would turn out and that he would face retribution. Many believe that Victor Frankenstein's character is based upon Mary Shelley's personal life and the tragedies within it. This is seen when she emphasises the pain Victor feels for Elizabeth (his wife) and William (his younger brother) when they are exterminated by the creature. The deaths Victor is surrounded by are very similar to the deaths in Shelley's family. His wife signifying Shelley's husband Percy and William representing her 3 children who died as infants. This is a very expressive topic that people can relate to as they may have lost loved ones close to them. This allows the reader to sympathise with Victor as they have felt the pain he feels. For the creation, sympathy can be expressed by those who have experienced neglect and segregation as the creature was very much ignored and hated due to people's prejudices. ...read more.


Victor creating life would have been seen as morally wrong by the religious believers at the time and would have created feuds. The being often evaluates himself as Adam throughout the novel as he was created in the image and likeness of his creator. His comparison is analogous to the events in 'Paradise Lost' as he has been part of an experiment himself and still has no relation to any other species on Earth. He uses these words to illustrate this, 'Like Adam, I was apparently linked to no other being in existence.' This sparks religious debates into the story, which brings far more depth to Victor and the creature, meaning the reader can understand the story in greater detail as religion was a way of life in the 19th century. They have further interest and feel passionate about the story as religion was so important at the time. ?? ?? ?? ?? Tom Spellins 10S Miss Clee - English GCSE Coursework First Draft ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay responds poorly to the question, yet shows potential in some of the things said. There is very little focus on the question itself, and there is no exploration of the techniques used to evoke sympathy for Dr. Frankenstein ...

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Response to the question

This essay responds poorly to the question, yet shows potential in some of the things said. There is very little focus on the question itself, and there is no exploration of the techniques used to evoke sympathy for Dr. Frankenstein or his creature. I have chosen to review this essay as it is a good example of an essay which comes across well in style, yet has very little analysis and no overarching argument. It is crucial that you can see the difference in this sort of essay, and one heavy with analysis which is rated higher.

Level of analysis

The analysis here is basic, and this is most evident through the lack of quotes. I liked the inclusion of contextual features here, looking at gothic literature and Shelley's influences, yet this is only relevant when weaved into a coherent argument. There needs to be a foundation of analysis before you look into context of reception and production. For example, looking at the switching of narrative position and then explaining why this comes across as gothic would fit in well. Simple analysis such as looking at language choice, characterisation, setting, imagery, speech, etc is not seen whatsoever here. This should be the core of an essay at GCSE and unfortunately this essay tends to retell the story. Yes, it picks up on features such as it being gothic, or the sympathy being switched due to changing narratives, but there is no level of skill being shown here. What's worse, is that the majority of this essay isn't focused on the question. I'm not quite clear why this essay has dedicated a paragraph to the gothic when it isn't linked directly to any argument.

Quality of writing

There is no structure here, as this essay is a collection of points without an argument. However, I would like to draw attention to the style. This essay is written with a certain level of craft, and flows very nicely. Phrases such as "many believe" show the ability to weave in multiple interpretations, and saying "making the reader feel" shows the focus on the reader's response. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are faultless. The style would make for a convincing argument if there was analysis built in, but I think this is a perfect example of an essay which reads well yet has no substance.

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Reviewed by groat 09/04/2012

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