Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is a Gothic novel that contains two genres, science fiction and Gothicism. The novel is a first person narrative that uses a framing technique, where a story is told within a story. Shelley gives the book a distinctive gothic mood tone by the use of her chosen setting which is dark and gloomy, by doing this it reflects the hideousness of the creature; the point of views helps towards the realism of the novel; and characterization able the reader to interact with the characters and feel sympathy or hatred towards each one. To entice the readers into her suspenseful novel Shelley uses foreshadowing. The narrative structure shows a wide range of perspectives rather than just one, by doing this it provides the reader with greater insight of the characters personalities. Symbolism and imagery evokes the readers’ emotions where sympathy is concerned. Shelley has entwined these techniques to produce a novel where the readers’ sympathy jumps from character to character and moral judgements are made due to the characters actions.
The weather is also important in the novel as it adds to the atmosphere. For instance on a ‘dreary night of November’ (p38 Frankenstein) the creature is born and during ‘a heavy storm of rain’ where the wind ‘rose with great violence’ (p164 Frankenstein) Elizabeth is murdered. The connection between the two is that the reader can sense when something bad/traumatic is going to happen due to the weather alone. However doom and gloomy weather does not fill the entire novel. When Spring is present the creature feels ‘emotions of gentleness and pleasure, that had long appeared dead, revive within [him]. Half surprised by the novelty of these sensations, [he] allowed [him]self to be borne away by them, and forgetting [his] solitude and deformity, dared to be happy.’ (p115 Frankenstein)
The novel starts with Walton discussing his adventures to his sister, Margaret, through the means of letters. These letters include details about his journey and Victor Frankenstein’s biography, which is aimed at his creation, the creature. This epistolary style adds realism to the story as it provides different viewpoints and multiple narratives that show the story from differing angles. The framing technique adds validity to the novel. Walter remains as the narrative voice throughout. This technique follows Gothic conventions where ‘one story often nests within another and large sections of the narrative are set out as a tale told by one character to another’. (p63 The Realist Novel) There are several other Gothic conventions that Frankenstein follows, such as the novel being ‘discontinuous and involuted’ and containing the ‘effects of guilt and shame’. (p63 The Realist Novel)