"Curdle the blood and quicken the beating of the heart"

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  • In an introduction to the novel Mary Shelley stated that she wished to "curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart" to what extent do you think she achieves her aims?
    • Horror
      • Abjection
        • "his yellow skin"
        • "Shrivelled complexion"
        • "Straight black lips"
        • Horrific appearance
          • Doppelgänger?
            • Monster created in the image of creator, e.g Monster benevolent but physically monstrous could be the opposite of Victor.
          • The monster could represent Victor's sin, hence horrific appearance.
      • Otherness
      • Abhuman
        • "Straight black lips"
      • Supernatural
        • "supernatural speed"
      • Uncanny
        • "His teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes"
        • "His statue [...] seemed to exceed that of a man"
      • Matthew Lewis
        • 'The Monk'
        • Known to Shelley
      • Taboos
        • Murder
        • Digging up remains
        • Subverting the power of God
          • "Infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing"
          • "How dare you sport thus with life?"
        • Subverting the need of women to create life
          • "Infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing"
    • Terror
      • Ann Radcliffe
        • "Terror and horror are so far opposite that the first expands the soul, and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life; the other contracts, freezes and nearly annihilates them"
      • Obscurity
      • Setting
        • Pathetic fallacy
          • "Rain pattered dismally"
          • ""my candle was nearly burnt out"
          • Storms are frequently used when the monster is near. This displays natures vengeance at his creation and it highlights him as something that is not natural
        • "It was a dreary night in November"
          • November associated with isolation, coldness possibly death
      • "You have read this strange and terrific story, Margaret; and do you not feel your blood congeal with horror like that which even now curdles mine?"
        • Victor told this story for the intention of stopping Walton following a similar route to himself. Was therefore an attempt to frighten him and teach him a lesson as a result
          • Moral reasoning
            • the book is also used ti highlight the danger of over reaching ambition not just to induce terror and horror.
              • "It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn"
              • "How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge"
              • "Of what a strange nature is knowledge!"
              • "I bore a hell within me"
            • Sense of responsibility
              • "The creature's own narrative suggests that Frankenstein's main sin is not his act of creation but his failure to take responsibility for what he produces" - 'Frankenstein' in David Punter and Glennis Byron: The Gothic (2003)
                • "Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room"
            • The Revenant
              • Victor's mistake of creating the monster comes back to punish him
      • The book was written in a time of great changes, both in England and the whole of the world.
        • Gothic as a theme came from a time of change and uncertainty
        • People didn't know where things were headed
          • The huge advancements of science would have created fear for some. The book could be seen as a possibility - improbable not impossible.
            • Luigi Galvani animating a dead frogs legs in the late 1780s
      • "Generally, 'Frankenstein' is clearly a tale of terror. Mary Shelley's declared intention was to 'awaken thrilling horror'; its sustaining elements are suspense, persecution and panic" -Nora Crook: 'Mary Shelley, Author of Frankenstein' in A Companion to the Gothic ed David Punter
    • Moral reasoning
      • the book is also used ti highlight the danger of over reaching ambition not just to induce terror and horror.
        • "It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn"
        • "How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge"
        • "Of what a strange nature is knowledge!"
        • "I bore a hell within me"
      • Sense of responsibility
        • "The creature's own narrative suggests that Frankenstein's main sin is not his act of creation but his failure to take responsibility for what he produces" - 'Frankenstein' in David Punter and Glennis Byron: The Gothic (2003)
          • "Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room"
      • The Revenant
        • Victor's mistake of creating the monster comes back to punish him
    • Injustice
      • criminal system corrupt
        • Execution of Justine
      • Was Frankenstein's punishment too harsh?
      • Treatment of the creature who was originally benevolent but conformed to societies image of him, e.g monstrous.
        • "The fallen angel became a malignant devil"
          • Inter-textual link to Paradise Lost by John Milton. More religious imagery
        • "Evil thencefore became my good"
      • Societies isolation of people who do not conform
        • The Delacy's
        • The creature
        • The Turk/ Safie's father
        • Society judges people on looks alone rather than personality.
          • Frankenstein thought to be a model citizen, but is deceptive and selfish, whereas the creature was selfless and benevolent but rejected by society.
            • "I clothed my desires under a guise which exited no suspicion"
            • "I rushed from my hiding place; and, with extreme labour from the force of the current, saved her"
            • The reward of my benevolence [...] the miserable pain of a wound"

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