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Sheely employs the use of a frame tale, or a story with a plot structure in which an author uses two or more narrators to present the action. The first narrator sets the scene and reports to the reader the details of a story told by a character. (In some frame tales, the first narrator reports the details of several stories told by several narrators.) In Frankenstein, Captain Robert Walton—a minor character—is the first narrator. He sets the scene and listens to the story told by Victor Frankenstein, the main character. All of the information Walton reports to the reader is in the form of letters written to his sister. Thus, Frankenstein is a frame tale in that it is like a framed painting: Walton's story is the frame, and Frankenstein's story is the painting.
Some frame tales—such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's The Decameron—have several narrators telling stories "inside the frame." One famous frame tale—the Arabian Nights (also called The Thousand and One Nights)—has only one narrator, a sultan's bride named Scheherazade, who tells many tales "inside the frame," including the well-known stories of Sindbad the Sailor, Aladdin and his magic lamp, and Ali Baba and