Narrative technique in Frankenstein

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  • Created by: Phoebe
  • Created on: 09-04-13 10:41
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  • Narrative technique
    • Chinese box structure
      • Walton, Frankenstein, Creature, Frankenstein, Walton.
      • Puts C at the heart of the novel.
      • Links seemingly unrelated stories together.
    • Highlights similarities between Walton and Frankenstein
      • W disobeyed "father's dying injunction"
      • Both exercise a self-pity.
        • W - "My spirits are often depressed" p.14-15
        • F - "More miserable than man ever was before" p.135
      • Both think they're better than "common" people
        • (W) "worked harder than the common sailors" p.14
        • (F) "could not rank (himself) with the herd of common projectors" p.161
    • All suffer from solitude.
      • W - "I have no friend" p.16
      • F - "I shunned the face of man" p.70
      • C is "shunned and hated by all mankind" p.111
        • "miserably alone" p.78
        • "I am alone" p.169
    • Allows a broader sense of truth.
      • We find F "corrected and augmented" W's account of F's tale. P.160
      • W hints that he thinks "imagination formed" F's tale p.160
      • We learn about C's true nature, not just of the "monster" F sees him as.
      • Before C  was "wrenched by misery to vice and hatred" (p.167) he "glowed with love and humanity" p.78
      • Find F contradicts himself constantly
        • So desperate to appear in a good light that he gets confused.
          • Says he is "not so selfish" as to make W continue his "pilgrimage" but then makes him "swear" to continue it p.159
          • "poor unhappy Justine, was as innocent as I" p.141
          • "they all died by my hands" p.141
          • "I was innocent" p.133
      • F speaks of the danger in C as he is "eloquent and persuasive" p.159 But W talks about F's "eloquence" p.162
    • F and C's narratives become increasingly similar
      • Both think they've suffered the most.
        • F thinks he was "more miserable than man ever was before" p.135
        • (C) "bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification" p.88
          • Use of the superlative
      • Both speak of life being pointless.
        • C - "why did I live?" p.104
        • F - "why did I not then expire/" p.149
    • Makes us aware of how privileged F is.
      • "I provided myself with a sum of money" p. 154
      • Thinks "no creature had ever been so miserable" as him. p.151 but he had support through money, friends, family etc. whereas C didn't.
    • F ends up in cemetery where he started by mourning his mother.
    • What's worse; having people you loved taken away from you, or never having loved or been loved by anyone?




A useful look at how Shelley has structured and put together her ideas in 'Frankenstein'; the resource references some important ideas and features of the novel.



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