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The Strange, Foreign And Monstrous In "Frankenstein"

1424 words - 6 pages

"Fundamental to the novel is a story, in which a person comes into contact with things that are strange, foreign and monstrous." In an essay of not more than 1500 words, assess this claim with reference to one of the following novels: Frankenstein.***Realist novels are characterised by the use of ordinary, everyday settings and credible characters that seek to depict a reality that the reader can readily identify with and believe in. In general, this is accomplished by the use of recognisable locations framed within a specific time and place, inhabited by believable characters who interact, either directly or indirectly, with major events occurring in that time and place.Realist stories are ...view middle of the document...

g. "I am already far north of London...streets of Petersburgh..." .Also in line with realist convention are those sections of narrative detailing the locations visited by Walton/Victor/the Creature. Descriptions are highly detailed and create a vivid picture; often so detailed they could form a comprehensive travel guide. Conversely, as we move from Walton's point of view to that of Victor these locations are made strange and foreign by the use of highly melodramatic and emotive language, 'But it was augmented... the habitations of another race of beings' , a practice common in both gothic and melodramatic writing.The landscapes encountered are wild, barren and untamed and we move through a world of extremes; from the towering majesty of the Alps, via the wind swept remoteness of the Orkneys, to the barren wasteland of the Arctic and each step in Victor's journey echoes his deteriorating sanity. This, combined with Shelley's use of the weather to evoke a dark and brooding atmosphere overlies the narrative with an implication of the paranormal, leaving the reader always aware of a sensation of impeding doom; for example the Creature breathes his first breath on a 'dreary night of November' and Elizabeth is murdered during a 'heavy storm of rain' after 'the wind... rose with great violence in the west' .The character of Walton is romantic in his isolation and desire for a companion who is his intellectual and social equal 'I desire the company of a man who could sympathise with me ', yet gothic in his elitism and thirst for knowledge 'which hurries me out of the common pathways of men...' . In this way, Walton becomes the double of Victor; both are flawed Byronic heroes attempting to find immortality and salvation through a solitary journey--Walton in his drive to become an eminent explorer and Victor in his ambition for scientific fame--driven, impetuous and emotionally intense.Walton and Victor violate traditional [realist] family values by abrogating their affection for their families (Victor by creating his Creature and Walton by disobeying his dying father's last wish that he not undertake a sea-faring career) and it is this quest for intellectual enrichment and self-fulfilment at the expense of family that becomes the driving force behind the horrors inflicted upon other characters within the novel. However, while Walton's sympathy with Victor and his feelings of profound companionship in his presence suggest a similarity that spells potential disaster, Walton's continuing loving relationship with his sister provides enough of a link to family to prevent a repetition of Victor's catastrophic mistakes.Victor is socially and morally irresponsible, obdurate and extreme in his actions. In his fervour to breathe life into his creation and his almost rabid desire to emulate God he fails to think about what will happen after. He pursues body parts '...among the unhallowed damps of the grave...' and creates (he believes) a beautiful being--'His limbs...

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