Key Quotations for the Opening Letters Frankenstein

Revision cards for key quotations within the first four letters from Robert Walton in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

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  • Created by: cg97
  • Created on: 13-12-13 12:24

Letter 1

"I shall satiate my ardent curiosity" ~ Robert Walton

  • Sibilance (repetition of 's' sound) - could suggest excitement or evil as Eve was tempted to eat from the Tree of Knowledge by a snake (who hisses). This could link to knowledge being posionous and dangerous.
  • Prominent first person narration; "I" and "my" - highlights Walton's isolation
  • "Curiosity" - 19th century society had mixed feelings about new inventions and discoveries - Frankenstein discovers a new way to generate life --> discovery and knowledge is a main theme in the novel

"I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevated me to heaven" ~ Robert Walton

  • "Heart glow" links to the Romantic ideas
  • The mention of "heaven" links to the prominent theme of death - here we have an early introduction of the theme
  • "Enthusiasm" - just like Frankenstein, Robert Walton is passionate and determined - this is an early echo of Victor
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Letter 1

"I commenced by inuring my body to hardship" ~ Robert Walton

  • Mentioned "commenced" insinuates that they're about to take us back to the start of the story
  • "My body" - early introduction of external presentation being important (how people are judged and even rejected, like the creature)
  • "Hardship" - Walton's journey is going to be hard, but not as hard as Victor Frankenstein's once we hear his tale

"I preferred glory to every enticement" ~ Robert Walton

  • Walton appears very success driven when he says that he "preferred glory" - just like Victor Frankenstein --> they are both passionate and are both enticed by knowledge
  • "I" again highlights Walton's isolation so his friendship with Victor is made to seem more extreme and unexpected
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Letter 2

"I bitterly feel the want of a friend" ~ Robert Walton

  • This is an early echo of the creature who also longs for companionship
  • It contrasts Victor Frankenstein who seems to dismiss his friends and family for his work
  • This introduces the theme of companionship early on in the novel
  • Foreshadows the arrival of Frankenstein and makes him seem rather heroic when he does arrive alive off the ice

"There is something at work in my soul which I do not understand" ~ Robert Walton

  • A very philosophical statement - this narrative voice from Shelley slips into the story every once in a while
  • Frankenstein studies philosophy - this link makes them seem very alike
  • "Something" - not specific, creates an air of mystery
  • "Do not understand" - lack of education and lack of formal education are main themes in the novel - the creature receives none apart from the De Lacey family. Also, compared to Frankenstein, Walton's education seems inadequate.
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Letter 3

"What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man?" ~ Robert Walton

  • The rhetorical question makes the reader feel like the recipient of the letter
  • Walton appears very driven like Frankenstein - the two are highly alike
  • This quote, in particular, shows how addictive and overpowering knowledge appears to be
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Letter 4

"Unhappy man! Do you share my madness? Have you drunk also the intoxicating draught?" ~ Victor Frankenstein

  • Exclamation mark and question mark make it seem even more animated and powerful
  • Victor says "do you share my madness?" which, along with the animation makes us believe him as well as wonder what made him like that
  • "Intoxicating draught" - describing how posionous knowledge can be; this has followed right the way through the letters so far.
  • Even men are unhappy according to the statement - it makes them seem not that different from the creature who is also miserable
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