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.
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.
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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