FRANKENSTEIN - DISCUSS THE SHIFT IN NARRATIVE PERSPECTIVES

In ‘Frankenstein’, many perspectives are displayed from a variety of characters. In the opening of the novel, Captain Walton is writing letters to his sister, consisting of his encounter with Victor Frankenstein, who later narrates the storyline. Using Walton as the first narrator is very effective in helping the reader understand how a scientist from the same time period perceives another scientist with different intentions. Traditionally, in the time period of 1800s we associate scientists with their humane qualities in the quest for unlocking secrets of nature- for Walton that is of the magnetics of the North, and for Victor, to imitate the role of God.

However, this is untrue as Walton tries to care for Victor until he’s restored health in their first encounter, “my chief attention was occupied by my unfortunate guest.” Walton questions Victor’s sanity in the series of letters, due to his wild appearance and desperately unfortunate situation. Immediately the reader creates the impression of Frankenstein as rather unsettling and confusing from his scattered demure.

After Walton’s letters, Chapter 1 is delivered in the perspective of Victor Frankenstein himself. Victor narrating in first-person allows the reader to establish and understand Victor’s feelings more clearly. This is shown by Victor’s true intentions such as, building the monster- to relieve grief he felt from the passing of a loved one. Victor uses pronouns such as ‘I’ and ‘my’ often, showing he talks about himself a lot. Victor is a very self-centered, arrogant man with no true morals, the reader learns this as the novel progresses when the monster is birthed.

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Another prime example of Victor’s feelings being shown is when the Monster persuades him to create a companion. Victor’s words are compassionate and kind, but when he sees the monsters face, he has rather unkindly words to speak about the monster.

Another narrative perspective is the Monster’s, Chapters 11-16 in which he describes his journey of new discoveries and how he educates himself by watching a family living in a cottage for several days. The Monster learns the history of the world and society through listening to the family’s storytelling, educating himself alone as his ‘father’, or Victor, abandoned him.

A rather peculiar fact the reader can quickly identify is how the Monster doesn’t fit the stereotypical ‘norms’ we’d expect from gothic literature. The reader typically expects the monster to be inhuman, violent and cruel. This is not the case, in chapters 11-16 the monster is curious to his surroundings and desires to learn, he never exhibits any irrational behaviour. This could be symbolism for how the roles reversed, and Victor is more monster-like than the real Monster himself.

As a result, Mary Shelley uses three narrators to delve deeper into the storyline and allow the reader to develop their own opinions on each character. Shelley also uses these narrators to break certain social stigmas present in that time period. Overall, the use of various narrators helps us understand the novel and storyline better.

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FRANKENSTEIN - DISCUSS THE SHIFT IN NARRATIVE PERSPECTIVES. (2019, Dec 18). Retrieved from http://paperap.com/frankenstein-discuss-the-shift-in-narrative-perspectives-best-essay/

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