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Narrative Voices In Shelley's Frankenstein And Fathers And Sons By Ivan Turgenev

1385 words - 6 pages

Narrative Voices in Shelley's Frankenstein and Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

I have chosen to compare the narrative voices of Frankenstein and
Fathers and Sons, as the perspectives in these two novels differ from
one another. Frankenstein’s narrative voice contains tales of three
characters within one narrative, none belonging directly to the
author, whereas the narrative voice of Fathers and Sons, is that of
the author alone.

Examples I will be using are taken from ‘The Realist Novel’ (TRN),
and from the novels of Frankenstein (F) and Fathers and Sons (F&S).

Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is an example of first- person
narrative, with Walton describing his encounters in letters to his
sister Margaret, in England. He includes his meeting Victor
Frankenstein, of Victor’s experiences with his creation of
Frankenstein the monster, and the monster himself and his experiences.
This narrative is written in the form of letters, with the use of this
epistolary style of writing novels giving verisimilitude to the
events, as Walton writes of them as he is told. He is the narrative
voice of the whole novel; enveloping the characters of Victor and the
monster, the characters of whom, develop as the story progresses. This
narrative perspective structures the novel, portraying events as true
to life, resulting in its realistic theme. The confession of Victor
nestles within Walton’s narrative, with that of the monster nestling
within that. This technique of having one story nestling within
another follows a Gothic convention, (P.63 TRN). There are many
narrative perspectives, which make it a Gothic novel, another example
showing this is the atmosphere of mystery and horror, when Victor is
creating his monster, with ‘horrors’ as he ‘dabbled among the
unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate
the lifeless clay’. (P53 F).

This novel also includes narrative perspectives that shape the
fictional world in the realist novel genre. Instances of this come
from Victors childhood, which seemed idyllic, with his mother and
father devoted to him, ‘the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on
them by heaven’ and ‘I was so guided by a silken cord that all seemed
but one train of enjoyment to me’ (P.33 F). And when the monster is
relating his tale to Victor, of how he learnt the basic principles of
survival, stating ‘when I was oppressed by cold, I found fire’ and
‘searching in vain for a few acorns to assuage the pangs of hunger’
and of his hideout ‘I found it an agreeable asylum from the snow and
rain’. (P.99 F). This perspective is plausible, giving a romantic feel
to the novel, when ‘Frankenstein’s physical attempt to reconstruct the
human frame serves as an image for the goal of Romantic artists: the
spiritual regeneration of man’ (p.65 TRN). The pathos generated by
his tale is intensified by the monster being inspired and consoled by
nature, as he describes to Victor ‘my senses...

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