Narrative Voices in Shelley's Frankenstein and Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

Narrative Voices in Shelley's Frankenstein and Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

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Narrative Voices in Shelley's Frankenstein and Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev


I have chosen to compare the narrative voices of Frankenstein and
Fathers and Sons, as the perspectives in these two novels differ from
one another. Frankenstein’s narrative voice contains tales of three
characters within one narrative, none belonging directly to the
author, whereas the narrative voice of Fathers and Sons, is that of
the author alone.

Examples I will be using are taken from ‘The Realist Novel’ (TRN),
and from the novels of Frankenstein (F) and Fathers and Sons (F&S).

Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is an example of first- person
narrative, with Walton describing his encounters in letters to his
sister Margaret, in England. He includes his meeting Victor
Frankenstein, of Victor’s experiences with his creation of
Frankenstein the monster, and the monster himself and his experiences.
This narrative is written in the form of letters, with the use of this
epistolary style of writing novels giving verisimilitude to the
events, as Walton writes of them as he is told. He is the narrative
voice of the whole novel; enveloping the characters of Victor and the
monster, the characters of whom, develop as the story progresses. This
narrative perspective structures the novel, portraying events as true
to life, resulting in its realistic theme. The confession of Victor
nestles within Walton’s narrative, with that of the monster nestling
within that. This technique of having one story nestling within
another follows a Gothic convention, (P.63 TRN). There are many
narrative perspectives, which make it a Gothic novel, another example
showing this is the atmosphere of mystery and horror, when Victor is
creating his mo...


... middle of paper ...


... sharp towards the tip, with large greenish eyes and
sandy-coloured droopy sideburns,’ (p.7) and of the monster as
described by Victor in Frankenstein, ‘His yellow skin scarcely covered
the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous
black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness.’ (P.56).

In Fathers and Sons, Turgenev reflects the theme of fatherhood, with
love and affection shown between Bazarov and his father Ivanovich,
Arkady and his father Nikolai and also Nikolai and his small son
Mitya. In comparison, Shelley in Frankenstein labours on the
abandonment of the monster by his creator. In effect, Victor is the
father of his ‘son’ the monster and he has abandoned him at his
‘birth’. This showing of paternal love in Fathers and Sons and the
abandonment of it in Frankenstein shows an important comparison
between the two novels.

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