Frankenstein: Form, Structure, Language

Useful Form, Structure and Language points for studying Frankenstein at A2 Level.

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  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 24-03-14 22:18
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The three-volume novel became a standard publishing format in nineteenth century England.
Instead of the common Trilogy of novels, it was published in three sections or instalments.
The form became particularly successful in mid-Victorian times.
The price of each volume remained stable at half a guinea for most of the nineteenth century -- roughly equivalent
to around £20.
The cost of a single novel then was one and a half guineas (approximately £60).
The use of multiple narrators is typical of Gothic fiction.
The testimony of various narrators could be a method to add plausibility to a tale which otherwise lacks truth to life.
It also provides a range of perceptions to events, allowing us a more rounded view of what occurs.
The connected narratives grow organically from one another: it is impossible to extricate them one from the other
-- the monster's narrative is part of Frankenstein's narrative and vice versa.
Shelley's novel clearly has strong claims to be the first great science fiction novel.
Science-Fiction techniques include: dystopian possibilities, the heroic fantasy of the hero, its reliance on horror, the
paranormal and scientific advance.
Shelley creates verbal ties between Frankenstein and the monster.
Through such verbal echoes, she emphasises the connections between creator and creature:
The monster: `I, like the archfiend, bore a hell within me' (p. 138).
Frankenstein: `I was cursed by some devil and carried about with me my eternal hell' (p. 207).
Shelley makes use of the word `consummate' with regard to Victor's wedding night -- it is to be the night that the
monster consummates his crime, as well as the night that Frankenstein and Elizabeth consummate their marriage. ­
Double meaning.
Frankenstein: `I would sell my life dearly, and not shrink from the conflict until my own life, or that of my adversary, was
extinguished' (p. 198)
The Monster: `you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the
annihilation of one of us' (p. 102).
Shelley's use of this technique establishes the intimate connection between Frankenstein and his monster.
Even though they are in many ways isolated one from the other, Shelley uses verbal ties to emphasise the inevitable
connections between the creator and his creature at an unconscious level.
BIBLIAL IMAGERY: nature of Shelley's tale of creation (Genesis) and apocalypse (Revelation) -- the first and last
books of the Bible.
The words of the monster to his creator on the `sea of ice' and elsewhere have the tone of the prophetic books of the
Old Testament.
Frankenstein ironically sees himself as humanity's only potential saviour, but in seeking to destroy the monster and
to prevent the continuation of his species by refusing to create a companion, he seals his own fate.
LANGUAGE OF HEAVEN & HELL: As common in the Gothic Genre, Frankenstein often makes use of opposites and
Hellish Language is used such as `fiend' and `diabolical' when referring to the monster and heavenly language in the
context of Victor's mother and Elizabeth

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V-shaped Structure: Walton, Frankenstein, Monster, Frankenstein, Walton
This suggests that Walton's narrative is the surface of the novel's events -- it is the narrative `present'
with which the novel begins and ends.
Below that surface lies Victor Frankenstein's tale -- a cautionary tale relating to Walton's potential future.
At the `deepest' point of the tale lies the monster's narrative, embodying the deepest and darkest
psychological forces of the novel.…read more



hi, loved the resource. thanks so much


You are very welcome :) 


heyy lucy can you email me some of your other frankenstein notes please?

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