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

How do "Frankenstein" and "Another Country" articulate the experience of the outsider?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Question 2: How do any two novels articulate the experience of the outsider? James Baldwin's Another Country and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein both portray to the reader the experiences of isolated individuals. Despite their dates of publication being nearly one hundred and fifty years apart, the two novels share numerous similarities in their depiction of the "outsider", as the characters of Rufus and Victor both seem to isolate themselves due to feelings of guilt, as opposed to being uncontrollably excluded. One could justifiably suggest that every character in Baldwin's Another Country is an outsider in their own way. Eric, for example, lived in Paris for several years before returning to New York, and comes back to find the city in which he once lived 'very strange indeed' (Baldwin, 2001, p.227). New relationships have been forged, a man he once loved is dead, and it soon becomes clear to him that he has missed a lot of important occurrences in the lives of his friends, and that 'We're getting old ... and it damn sure didn't take long.' (Baldwin, 2001, p.231) Another outsider in the novel is Vivaldo: a white man who wishes to be accepted by the black community. Towards the end of the novel, his girlfriend Ida says: 'there's no way in the world for you to know what Rufus went through ... not as long as you're white' (Baldwin, 2001, p.344). ...read more.

Middle

own infant brother, then allowing an innocent friend of the family to be executed for the crime: 'I was absent when [the murder] was committed, and such a declaration would have been considered as the ravings of a madman.' (Shelley, 2008, p.61) For fear of breaking the hearts of his father, brother and beloved cousin, as well as the consequences he would face when his family undoubtedly questions his sanity, Victor 'resolve[s] to remain silent.' (Shelley, 2008, p.57) Victor suddenly finds himself with a huge burden to bear. Therefore, both Rufus and Victor shun their loved ones in an attempt to hide their secrets, and cope with their terrible remorse and shame. The narrative style of Frankenstein is rather like that of Another Country, as the book is told from several points of view. The novel begins with letters from a ship's captain, named R. Walton, to his sister, in which he tells her his men rescued a man at sea: Victor Frankenstein. The narrator then shifts to Victor, as Captain Walton recounts the tale Victor has regaled him with of creating his monster. Once again, Shelley uses letters to express the feelings of Victor's father and cousin, Elizabeth. Later, when Victor meets the creature he has created in the mountains, it tells him of its experiences; Shelley changes the narrator once again. The reader hears the stories at the same time as the characters, and so the impact of the information is better understood. ...read more.

Conclusion

(Shelley, 2008, pp.39-40) Thus, as Prometheus' knowledge isolated him, so too does Victor Frankenstein's. The title of Baldwin's Another Country is also interesting: as each character could be described as an outsider, one could gather that they all feel as though they live in completely different places despite communally residing in New York City. In the book, we see the black community of Harlem, which sits in the same city as China Town, and Spanish Harlem - in other words, New York can be seen as being comprised of many 'other countries'. There is therefore a sense that Rufus feels that he does not belong in his country: 'He got off at the station named for the bridge built to honour the father of his country ... Then he stood on the bridge, looking over, looking down ... He raised his eyes to heaven. He thought, You bastard ... Ain't I your baby, too?' (Baldwin, 2001, p.93) It can therefore be said that the novel's title underlines its theme of isolation and the outsider. To conclude, James Baldwin and Mary Shelley use several literary techniques to articulate the experience of the outsider. Baldwin's setting of New York City emphasise how alone Rufus is in comparison, whilst Mary Shelley's desolate landscapes echo Victor's isolation well. Also, as both authors use flashbacks, they create a contrast between how the characters used to be and how they are now, giving the reader information gradually as to how Rufus and Victor ended up - as outsiders. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Literary Criticism 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 University Degree Literary Criticism essays

  1. The Home and Family in The House on Mango Street and Cry, the Beloved ...

    For example, the adjustment of Esperanza as she moves from place to place was a predominant issue for every Latina girl who was poor.

  2. An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge

    On to the antagonist. One may argue that the antagonist in Owl Creek is that of the union army, or the union spy who tricked Peyton, or even the hangman, but I argue that, while all of those previously mentioned characters are in some way antagonists, Peyton himself is the antagonist.

  1. Orientalism, Edward Said. Orientalism legitimates a vocabulary, a universe of representative discourse peculiar ...

    each of Bouvard and P�cuchet's failures are ascribed to the imperfection of knowledge and to the notion that it is impossible to know everything. Flaubert himself acknowledged that he might have read at least 1500 books to research the novel (which is why it is referred to as an encyclopedic work)

  2. A close comparative literary and linguistic study

    This sense of blame on the part of the poet seems absurd given that he himself was not responsible for carrying out the botched operation; however, the horror of the fact that his mother died as a ramification of his parents' wish to have a family, seems instrumental in his father's failure to cope.

  1. Victor Frankenstein the Villain

    under mental stress until she is no longer capable to cope with her emotions and goes numb. She is left with a feeling the words cannot describe "Mind" grows "numb", and with that she stops mid-sentence; as she is in loss for words.

  2. Free essay

    Both Great Expectation and Frankenstein suggest that the individual development is crucially determined by ...

    Firstly, it is not of natural birth. Secondly, the creature is not related to him in blood. (Shelley,pp. 36,40) Thirdly, he did not nurture or casre for it as a father to a child, instead he sees it as a spectre and treated it badly, as he never expected his creature to be so hideous, eg.

  1. What and when was the Harlem Renaissance? The Harlem Renaissance was more than ...

    Johnson also wrote short stories and was considered by many, including Langston Hughes and the influential Richard Bruce Nugent, to be an emerging novelist. She attended college at Boston University and Columbia, although she never earned a degree. Her most famous poems are ?Magalu? and ?Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem.? Arna Wendell Bontemps (1902-1973)

  2. Specters of Totalitarianism: Representations of Power and Control in Twentieth Century Dystopian Fiction ...

    As a result of this, resistance is futile. Huxley?s Brave New World also demonstrates that dictatorships in dystopian fiction use indoctrination as a tool of control, as this is seen by the way the World State disseminates incentives.[57] The World State disseminates incentives, as this is seen by its provision of hallucinatory drugs, in the form of soma.

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