Frankenstein 2 - Mary Shelleys Frankenstein or The Modern...

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818) I. Structure: a series of first-person accounts – Walton’s letters frame Victor’s account o He is an explorer in the Arctic – “a part of the world never before visited” (6); hopes, too, to discover “a passage near the pole” and “the secret of the magnet” (6): He is enticed by “glory” (7) – like Victor (23); o He has an unregulated mind, the product of being self-educated (9); o And he desires friendship: the “company of a man who could sympathize with me” (8). Enter Victor, on a floating piece of ice, pursuing his creature (13): o Victor decides to tell Walton his story – why? See p. 16 (see also p. 33) o Victor’s account begins with chapter one and (eventually) includes the Creature’s account of himself: Which itself includes an account of the De Laceys (their domestic scene serves as the physical and moral center of the novel) – and of Safie. [Like Byron’s fragments and “accretions,” the frame-narrative structure serves to heighten the moral ambiguity of the characters (who is the monster?). It also gives us a sense of immediacy: we are hearing a character’s thoughts first-hand: This authenticates such a marvelous account and it helps us to sympathize with the various actors – especially the Creature (sympathy, after all, is what he never gets but always wants). o Sympathy = “fellow-feeling” (Adam Smith); it is the ability to imagine oneself in the place or circumstances of another (or an “Other”).
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