In the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, one of the key themes is loneliness. For many, most of their time is spent with people, whether it is friends, family, coworkers, or strangers. Many of the characters in this book break that norm and spend countless hours alone. Having time to reflect and think about everything. Sometimes, the characters are still lonely, even with people, and sometimes friends around them.
The first character that we are introduced to is R. Walton. He is on a ship with many deck hands and crewmembers, but in his letter to Margaret, his sister, he states, "I have no friend. Even when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavor to sustain to me dejection." Although Walton has a boat full of men, he still feels lonely and friendless, and wishes he had a male companion to sympathize with him. Perhaps the reason that he feels this way is that he is looking for a different type of friend than what these tough sailors can offer. "I spoke of my (Walton) desire of finding a friend, of my thirst for a more intimate sympathy with a fellow mind than had ever fallen to my lot."
The next character that we meet who is lonely is Victor Frankenstein. At first he doesn't seem to be because, since he was a child he has had Elizabeth as a constant playmate and friend, along with Henry Clerval. But when he leaves to go to college in Ingolstadt, he feels all alone because he has left all his friends behind him. Although his professor, Waldman, befriends him, there, at Ingolstadt, he spends many hours secluded and alone, working on his creation, the...
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...ry. The loneliness of Frankenstein and the monster drove them miserable for most their lives, and in the end, to death. Walton on the other had, turns back to civilization, perhaps learning something from the story of Victor Frankenstein. In the book Frankenstein, there were many moments of glory for Victor Frankenstein, but in the end he only ending up destroying many of his family, himself, and the monster after suffering through loneliness and grief for a big part of his life.
Botting, Fred. Making Monstrous. Frankenstein, criticism, theory. Manchester University Press, 1991.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. Edited with an Introduction and notes by Maurice Hindle. Penguin books, 1992
Williams, Bill. On Loneliness in Frankenstein. http://www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/class/books/frank/papers/FrankWJW.html
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