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In Her Novel, Frankenstein, How Does Mary Shelley Express Her Values In Her Classic Novel?

1195 words - 5 pages

Throughout the novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley predominantly reflects values upheld Victorian English Society more-so than shaping the values. Firstly, an example of a reflected value is the concept of a pursuit of knowledge in the novel. Another example of a reflected value in the text is the use of Romanticism throughout the novel. Chauvinism is also a reflected value contained within the text in which the creation lacks a 'motherly' figure. On the other hand, Shelley shapes the values of her society when talking about region in the novel, comparing it to the context of the English Society in which she wrote the book.The idea or concept of a pursuit of knowledge throughout Frankenstein is clearly an example of Mary Shelley reflecting the ideals and values held in 19th Century English society. Whether you take into account Robert Walton's pursuit of knowledge in the letters he writes to his sister declaring his desires of discovery; " …and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death…" Or on the other hand you could analyse Victor Frankenstein's pursuit of knowledge, which is at first aimed at finding an answer to the inevitable event of death. These pursuits are obviously reflected from the context in which Shelley is writing the book. At a time where imperialism of various empire's such as the United States, France, Germany and Britain and the acquiring of new countries or continents in which they could add to their respective commonwealths a high priority. With the ambition or concept of immediate fame through the discovery of unknown knowledge throughout intellects in the 19th Century also a common 'pursuit'. Therefore, Shelley reflects these common values well through the two respective pursuits created in the novel.Due to the fact that Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the 'Romantic Era', the novel is obviously going to reflect the values in which Romanticism is associated with, including the pursuit of knowledge. With Romanticism involving concepts such as nature, imagination, emotion, symbolism, and individualism, Shelley reflects these common held values throughout her novel. A classic example of the significance of nature in the book is when Clerval and Victor are making their journey to Britain. Whilst on this journey the scenery and nature seen in the varying terrains of Europe are the catalyst in Victor's emotions, another concept of Romanticism. Quotes such as: "Filled with dreary imaginations, I passed many beautiful and majestic scenes; but my eyes were fixed and unobserving." These contrasts reflect a value that while obviously present in the 19th Century are still relevant now. That is, that scenery or sights can trigger certain emotions, with a prime example of mountains reminiscent of those back in Victor's Switzerland immediately triggering memories of the deaths of William and Justine and of his creation....

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