Isolation in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Isolation in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, has several themes imbedded in the

text. One major theme is of isolation. Many of the characters

experience some time of isolation. The decisions and actions of some

of these characters are the root cause of their isolation. They make

choices that isolate themselves from everyone else. However, other

characters are forced into isolation for reasons that are not in their

control. The actions of another cause them to experience loneliness.

The story begins with Robert Walton writing to his sister, Margaret,

about his voyage to an undiscovered place. In these letters, as the

voyage gets underway, he writes of his loneliness. Letter II states,

?I have no friend ?? (Hunter 16; ch 1). He describes how his

?enthusiasm of success? will be experienced alone and also how he must

suffer his disappointments alone. He states, ?I desire the company of

a man? (Hunter 10; ch. 1 ). In another letter, Walton is telling his

sister about a conversation he had with Frankenstein about

friendship. Frankenstein tells Walton, ?I once had a friend ??

(Hunter 16? ch. 1), implying that he no longer has any friends.

Isolation is evident from the very beginning.

Robert Walton chooses his isolation. He chooses to take this voyage.

Walton has planned this trip for six years. He states in his first

letter, ?I am required not only to raise the spirits of others, but

sometimes to sustain my own?? (Hunter 9; ch. 1). He understands exactly

what he is getting into and he chooses to continue anyway. George Levine

states in his critical essay, ?Frankenstein and the Tradition of Realism,?

that Walton is ?isolated from the rest of mankind by his ambition ?? (...

... middle of paper ...

...t is to come before he forces himself and his crew to

experience this isolation and eventual death.

Bibliography

Hunter, J. Paul. ed. Frankenstein: Contexts, nineteenth century

responses, criticism. By Mary Shelley. Norton Critical Edition. New

York: New York. 1996.

Levine, George. ?Frankenstein and the Tradition of Realism?. A Forum

on Fiction, Vol. 7, no. 1 (1973): 17-23. Rpt. in Frankenstein:

Contexts, nineteenth century responses, criticism. By Mary Shelley.

Ed. J. Paul Hunter. Norton Critical Edition. New York: New York.

1996. 208-14.

Poovey, Mary. ?My Hideous Progeny: The Lady And the Monster.? The

Proper Lady and the Woman Writer. Chicago: U of Chicago P. (1984):

121-31. Rpt. in Frankenstein: Contexts, nineteenth century responses,

criticism. By Mary Shelley. Ed. J. Paul Hunter. Norton Critical

Edition. New York: New York. 1996. 251-61.
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