How Does the Language in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Reflect its Gothic Genre

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How Does the Language in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Reflect its Gothic Genre

The gothic genre was popular around the nineteenth century. It is
often associated with dark, evil things and death. This seemed
appropriate at the time as there were no electric lights or
televisions so it was generally darker than it is in the present day.
It brings to mind stories like Frankenstein, Dracula and Dr Jekyll and
Mr Hyde. It may have been popular at this time because it is typically
based about ominous things in dark places making it seem more
realistic because of the use of candles at the time.

I am focussing on the beginning of ‘Frankenstein’ and observing how
his dreams drove him to his own destruction, and how he is left to
destroy the monster which he created.

Robert Walton, an explorer travelling through the icy wasteland of the
North Pole, sees the monster and is suddenly overwhelmed by his evil
presence, he then finds Frankenstein, almost dead and consumed by the
coldness of the bitter environment. Victor comes with his warning, and
his story, as he explains just what a dream can lead to.

The first part of the book is Robert Walton’s letters from St.
Petersburgh and his ship to his sister in London. The letters are
written in the first person and the present tense, making the story
much more real and believable as it is being told directly and as
though it were really happening as the reader is reading it. The
letters also emphasise Walton’s distance from home and how isolated he
was. In the first letter he is writing about just how eager he is to
continue with his journey, and how the undiscovered land could be so
beautiful. He writes of all the great things that will come of his
journey. In the l...

... middle of paper ...

...k by lightning and suddenly destroyed, “...on a sudden I
beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which
stood about twenty yards from our house; and no soon as the dazzling
light vanished, the oak had disappeared”. This is like an
instantaneous representation of Frankenstein’s life, a beautiful
beginning and then a sudden turning point leading to a horrible end.
It also represents the gothic genre with the idea of a wonderful life
being taking by an evil force, using the thunderstorm as a metaphor
for the destructive force that takes such light and innocence from the

Many elements of the gothic genre are apparent in the letters and
first two chapters and even though the reader knows what happens to
Frankenstein in the end, they are compelled to read about his life and
what drove him to become what he is when Walton finds him.

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