The analysis of the different styles, techniques and structure of the novel Frankenstein will involve a synopsis of the book as well as the final letters written by Robert Walton. A detailed analysis of the narration technique and instances of changing information in the published works will make up the body of the essay. The essay will conclude with the writing styles and an in-depth understanding of the creature’s behavior.
In Chapter 8 of the novel Frankenstein, the scene begins at a court proceeding. The whole of Victor’s family had been requested as witnesses, and he accompanied them as a formality. The case involved the death of William, Victor’s younger brother and a suspected assailant, a teenage girl who was falsely accused of murdering the child. Justine was brought in and questioned by the counsels on her whereabouts on the night of the murder. Her answers made her the most probable suspect. Her cousin Elizabeth even tried to ouch for her good conduct in court. Later, Justine confessed that she was the killer and when Victor and Elizabeth asked her why did this, she said the creature had tormented and threatened her into submission. Finally, Justine was sentenced to death. The remainders of Victor’s days are filled with remorse, guilt, and in the process, he develops a plan to go after the monster and kill it with the hope that it would redeem him of his sins.
Walton’s final letter
The final letter is part of a series of letters that continued the Frankenstein story later. In the letters, Walton becomes the narrator of the story. Robert Walton was an explorer who chanced upon Victor Frankenstein during his last hours and listened to his tales that he documented through letters. The series of letters discloses Victor’s regrets. He created the monster that caused rampage by killing nearly all his family members and neighbors. The letters also reveal Victor’s plan to hunt down and destroy the monster. Walton’s final letter, dated September 12, narrates Victor’s adamancy to staying in the inhospitable climate until he finished off his enemy. The stress and illness soon killed Victor just as the monster made its way into the ship. Victor’s final moments were shared by the monster who narrated to Victor how it began its reign of terror. At the end, the monster vows to retreat to the frozen north until he would die.
Layering of narration
The integration of the narration of the two parties within the novel by Mary Shelley displays a new method through which the reader can understand the main theme in the book to totality. The storyline as narrated by Victor and by the creature compliment each other in strengthening the theme intended by Shelley. The creature, on his part, expresses how it came into the world through the hands of Frankenstein. It narrates its first contact with man and the hostile reaction that it received that slowly cultivated the idea of being a monster to avenge these wrongs. Throughout the creature’s narration, the reader is allowed to view life from its perspective.
Within Walton’s narration, there is clear evidence that he came across Victor’s notes concerning the monster. Walton, therefore, validates Victor’s story by carrying on the monster chase that was started by the creator. The narrative in Frankenstein shifts from Victor Frankenstein to Robert Walton to the monster and back to Walton. Each shift in perspective creates a new personality set and new information is provided. Each narrator gives information exclusive to him or her. Victor describes the creation of the monster, Walton explains the conditions of Victor’s last days, and the monster explains how he transformed to being evil.
The duality in the narration also reflects the different perspectives that Victor and the monster have. From Victor’s perspective, the monster is a wicked and revolting creature while from the monster’s narration; we see that it is an emotional and thoughtful being. The recounting of William’s murder is the best example of the contrast between these two perspectives. While Victor, in his letter to his father, focuses on the beastly acts of the monster, the creature’s version states the emotional reason as to why he murdered William. In doing so, the reader can understand the actions of the monster even if one cannot sympathize with him. Using a dual narrative style, the reader gets the opportunity to understand events from two perspectives that eventually shape their opinions of each character. This style may also be somewhat confusing as alternates the narrators between scenes or chapters but serves as a good technique in enabling one to comprehend the novel as a whole.
Instances of Victor’s editing and revision of Walton’s letters
Some of the comments noted down as Victor’s such as the famous inspiration quote that stated: “Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid” might have easily been Walton’s words. The trend with which the production of Frankenstein found itself as a novel was somewhat questionable. The story started as a letter to his sister, Saville and to his journal, to transcripts and lastly, as a publication. The similarity that exists in the character traits between Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein might have extended to their works of literature. They showed strong similarities in the correction, in later volumes. The usage of certain words within the story in the context in which it was written were later changed either by Victor himself, Walton or the later publishers. Words such as “terrific”, “awful” and “wonderful” meant different things during the time of their usage. These words were later on changed to make the publication maintain its credibility and meaning.
Word choice, language, voice, and audience
Within the novel, the author uses basic words and sentences to bring out the message. The complexity within the work of Mary Shelley is clearly lacking. Frankenstein’s creation was not the real monster. Although the creature had much gruesome behavior, it nevertheless harbored human-like characteristics that cannot be ignored. The narrator within the chapter is Victor Frankenstein, and he gave his own opinion of the creation of the monster. In doing so, the reader sees the highlighted monstrosity of the creature. This creates a bias towards agreeing with Victor that the creature was one that even “Dante could not have conceived”.
The choice of diction in the introduction of the creature when the narrator says that it was created on a dreary night in November shows that Frankenstein was only concerned about the monster and not the consequences it would have on him and his family. The reference to certain gothic features such as the pattering of rain and pitch darkness brought up a psychic feeling. This technique is used in Frankenstein to mark the beginning of a new era in which Victor and his monster world terrorize the world. The author’s choice of phraseology that described the monster is important. Instead of accounting for the detailed moments when Frankenstein witnessed the creature awakening, the author uses certain phrases like its dull yellow eye opened, and that it breathed hard and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs. Frankenstein was portrayed as having lustrous black hair and teeth of a pearly whiteness as well as watery eyes. The intention was to bring out the monster in the creature based on the creature alone.
The language used by the monster presented to the reader an almost civilized and human creature. The creature displayed confusion that might be mistaken for monstrosity by the audience. The humanity of the creature is further illustrated when he first wakes up and greets Frankenstein with a grin that indicates no sign of monstrosity.
The other part of the narration is taken up by Victor Frankenstein. Victor engages on a similar story as that of the creature although he narrates it from the other perspective. Victor describes the character change in the monster from the time of creation to the moment it started turning against people and harming them. The narration by Victor offered a far more detailed experience as it associates itself with the way in which the majority of people react to a monster.
The novel Frankenstein provides the reader with a great variety when it comes to narration. The complex narrative system rotates around Robert Walton, Victor and the monster. These three main characters share different levels of audience with each other and the reader. There are at least four levels of audiences in the novel. Walton, Saville and his companions share a first audience as they communicate through the letters that readers can also view. Victor and Walton share a first audience while the two and Saville share a second audience when they discuss the idea of creating and hunting down the monster. Lastly, the De Laceys, the monster and Frankenstein share a first audience while the two, Walton and Seville share a third and fourth audience. The readers belong in the last group of audiences.
Understanding of the Creature’s character
From the onset, the creation of the monster by Victor Frankenstein displayed an inclination to regard the outcome as inhuman. The monster was created from an assembly of dead body parts and chemicals. The monster was immediately abandoned by his master that forced him to a lonely life away from family or any other form of companionship. This early neglect by Victor Frankenstein was one of the causes of the behavior change in the monster. The monster narrates how he sought companionship among other human beings who rejected him in the same way that he was rejected by his master. In return, the monster swore he would avenge all the pain he had experienced.
Viewing the novel from Victor’s perspective, a reader might be mistaken that his creation was a purely evil monster. Contrary to what was emotionally portrayed by Victor to be a monster, the creature in Frankenstein provided a more humane side of himself in his narration. The creature exhibits sensitivity in the way he handles the different human beings that he meets on the countryside. The drowning girl and young William Frankenstein were perfect examples of how sensitive the creature was. After realizing that human beings despised him, the creature narrated how he mourned silently and yearned for a friend. The creature was also extremely benevolent as he assisted a group of poor peasants by providing logs for firewood and water.
The behavior change by the creature that turned him into a monster can be attributed to several factors. From the narration by Victor Frankenstein, the society treated the creature as an outcast and an evil being. His attempts at making peace with men were met with outright resistance and hatred. The creature was, therefore, harboring vengeful thoughts as the same society that begot him now rejected him. When he met a young child whom he thought would be neutral and non-judgmental, he realized that this was not true when his purported child friend turned against him. From that moment, he vowed to avenge all the suffering, discomfort and rejection that human being had subjected him. This can be understood as a reaction to a change in the social environment and not the creature’s ordinary character traits. .