Mary Shelley

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Frankenstein: Style 1 key example

Letter 2
Explanation and Analysis:

The novel’s style, typical of Gothic literature, is characterized by elevated, formal, and emotional language. All throughout Frankenstein, characters express intense feelings of fear, love, and hatred. At times the novel’s style is poetic, for example in Letter 2, when Walton describes himself as lonely in a letter to his sister:

You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans.

Instead of describing his feelings using simple language, Walton employs complex diction and word order. Formal words like “capacious” reflect a high-minded, educated worldview. Published in 1818, Frankenstein also falls into the Romantic period of literature. Romantic authors like Shelley wrote about the depth of human emotions, nature’s significance, and the sublime. Their works also tended to reflect a suspicion of science and industrialization, a belief that is indeed present in Frankenstein

Told through a series of letters, Frankenstein is also an epistolary novel. The narrative unfolds through these letters. The letters Robert Walton writes to his sister are a framing device for the entire novel. Shelley uses this structure strategically in order to offer multiple points of view to the reader, which allows the reader to gain insight into each character’s thoughts and emotions. The epistolary form also reflects the time the novel was written, as letters were the primary form of communication.