Frankenstein

Three Separate Narratives within Shelley's Frankenstein College

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the novel is formed of three interlinked but ultimately separate narratives. The outer frame for the narrative takes the form of Walton’s letters to his sister Margaret. It is through this conduit that Victor’s story is recounted as Walton retells it in Victor’s words. Similarly, the story of the monster is told to Walton by Victor, in the monster’s own words. These three segments of narration are closely interlinked by several common key themes.

A major theme shared by all three narratives is isolation, and in turn loneliness. This theme of loneliness in conveyed initially through Walton, and through him it is embedded in the framework for the monster’s and Victor’s narratives. This is important because it establishes isolation as a tone which then overshadows the entire novel. Walton is a character who suffers two types of isolation, physical and emotional. The physical isolation is the most obvious, as his expedition leaves him stranded in the lonely and cold Arctic desert. George Levine supports this as he argues that these snowy settings “are the landscape of isolation from community”[1]. Indeed, this landscape reflects the lonely tone of Walton’s narrative, but also serves as a prelude to...

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