How is chapter 5 significant to the novel as a whole? The significance of chapter 5 to the novel as a whole can be observed through the relevance of the writer’s use of language to describe the setting, character and what it shows about social and historical influence of ‘Frankenstein’. Mary Shelley wrote and conceived of Frankenstein while she and her husband Percy Shelley were visiting Lord Byron in Switzerland in June 1816. They had spent an evening around the fire telling horror stories. By the support of her husband, she continued to develop the story at the age of 19 and was published in March 1818.
Mary Shelley became one of the most famous authors by writing ‘Frankenstein’, one of the best works of gothic horror, unfortunately in the 19 century; women were not credited well and did not have many rights. Mary Shelley could not publish the novel because she was a woman. Therefore, Mary Shelley published the novel under her husbands name ‘Percy Shelley’. Mary Shelley had written the novel because in her past she had experienced many deaths in her family. All the circumstances in her life brought her to write Frankenstein, one of the world’s greatest horror novels.
The idea of this book was to bring the dead back to life and was a reflection of Mary Shelley’s own life. Chapter 5 is written as an imperative chapter; this is because in the novel the creation is brought to life, first described that, ‘as the yellow eye of the creature opened’ his creator Victor Frankenstein flees into the streets in fear. Shelley shows descriptive features of Frankenstein’s monster. One example from the text is ‘shrivelled complexion’; she uses descriptions like this in long sentences to create imagery in the reader’s minds.
In those times, people were very religious and Frankenstein was about resurrecting the dead back to life. People were very strict religiously and became offended by novel and were utterly disgusted. Today scientists have proven and discovered a lot about humans and how the world was created so people have begun to believe in science. This novel is one of the most enduring works of gothic genre and compared to the novels written today, they are not equivalent to Frankenstein. Chapter 5 is the main part of the novel. This is hugely important to the story because this tells us Shelley’s feelings and accomplishments.
In those times, men were credited more than women were. Therefore, Mary Shelley made her main character as a male called Victor Frankenstein who is a doctor that studied natural philosophy. He is very obsessed with science and particularly in bringing, the dead back to life; something man had never done before. Referring to the text, ‘I work hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body’, the obsession Victor has of just resurrecting the dead is shown clearly and how much science is important to him.
Victor continued and started to create a creature out of dead remains. He begins to create the creature as it says in the text ‘I collected the instruments of life around me’ this shows us that Victor Frankenstein is trying to bring the monster to life with his machinery. Another point that proves that he is beginning to give his ultimate design the gift of life is, ‘I might infuse a spark into the life into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet’, this proves that the creature Victor was trying to bring to life was still inactive and dead.
In another part of the chapter it says ‘I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open’ this sentence is describing that the monster has been brought to life and is alive; so the experiment was a success. Mary Shelley describes the atmosphere and introduces the opening of chapter 5 as ‘it was on a dreary night of November’ and then follows with ‘the rain pattered dismally against the panes’. Both quotations suggest a dark, gloomy, gothic atmosphere and both quotes use pathetic fallacy. Mary also tells what time it is, ‘by the dim yellow light of the moon’ which proves that it is nighttime and gives an extra feature of gothic horror.
Shelley shows that they didn’t have any electricity in those times as they were using candle-light, as it says in the text ‘by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light’, which means that Victor was working very hard, late at night. These few points all refer to pathetic fallacy because it sets the atmosphere well, which improves the gothic setting, to make it more horrifying. These gothic features build up and make a bigger impact on the reader, which improves the storyline. Mary also uses long, complex and descriptive sentences to describe Victor Frankenstein.
She shows that Victor is worried when he creates the creature. By referring to the text it says ‘unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created’ which means that he could not absorb the reality of the situation and that he felt regret and remorse at his invention. Shelley describes some of the monster’s features, some examples are ‘his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips, his teeth of pearly whiteness’ These features give a stronger image on how he was created, and the use of sentence structure and strong adjectives delivers this well.
The reason why Shelley uses these techniques is to bring the gothic explanation to the reader in a more understandable form; this is why Shelley used complex words like ‘inanimate and endeavoured’, The use of strong wording links the story together by making it more understandable. Shelley describes the creature with powerful adjectives; she uses words like ‘convulsive and demoniacal’ this gives the reader a clearer picture, which adds on to the readers imagination. When the monster is created, Victor Frankenstein rejects his creation.
Shelley has written ‘I took refuge in the courtyard belonging to the house which I had inhabited’, Victor was very disappointed because he did not know how to teach his monster, was worried about what people would say to him. Therefore, Victor abandoned his creation and ran into the streets. This shows that it had a great effect on Victor Frankenstein, referring to the text, it says ‘I escaped, and rushed down the stairs’, this explains how he didn’t approve after he had created the monster as he realised that he had created something that would shock thousands of people.
He would also need to care for it like a child. As Victor rejected his creation, he left it vulnerable against everything. At one point in the novel it describes Victor’s creation has awakened and is trying to speak. ‘He muttered some inarticulate sounds’, this proves that the monster cannot speak but is trying to communicate as the creation is a new born and thinks Victor as his parent. The monster picks upon speech very fast and is able to communicate with his creator who he finds by reading Victors diary.
Frankenstein was written for intelligent readers because the ideas and the words used would have a bigger impact on them, as well as challenging one’s imagination. Shelley made it clear by adding this line to the novel; ‘anxiety that almost amounted to agony’, this adds alliteration for emphasis and proves that Frankenstein is a very worried man. Frankenstein is upset and confused about what he has just done. We learn about this when Frankenstein says ‘how can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe’, this proves to us that his obsession has paved over and he has finally realised hat sort of monstrosity he has created; the consequences of his actions are great. He then becomes afraid; when he sleeps, he starts to fear for his life and his family. Mary makes it clear that he is troubled in his sleep by adding this line to the novel: ‘I started from my sleep with horror’. Frankenstein is so worried about himself and his family that he gets nightmares; he left his creation to suffer. This leaves Victor frightened that the creature is going to approach him and take his revenge. Before becoming afraid for his own life, he was so tired that he threw himself into his bed in his clothes; this implies that he was weary.
Frankenstein is also a very pessimistic man. He is confused. His feelings are confusing him after he creates the monster. Throughout chapter five Frankenstein feels and says that he is filled with calm and serene joy. At the start of the chapter, Frankenstein’s feelings were unhappy, but towards the end of the chapter, he is happy until he became ill. When Frankenstein became ill, his friend Henry Clerval helped him regain full health once again. Chapter 5 tells us about how Frankenstein feels and acts; this gives a completely better picture of the character, ‘Dr Frankenstein’.
Mary Shelley at such a young age used pathetic fallacy really well in this novel. At the start of chapter five, she sets the scene up as dark, gloomy and wet. This adds to the bad atmosphere. Dark and gloomy are words that are added to create a sinister atmosphere. Most people prefer sunny days to dark and gloomy days. This shows us that even within the first paragraph of the chapter the bad atmosphere is already being set. As well as being able to set bad atmosphere, Shelley can also make the atmosphere happy and joyous. Shelley used words such as ‘unable to contain myself’.
This suggests that Shelley was a competent writer because she had experienced death and joy in her life. This helped her to use descriptive language like, ‘a convulsive motion agitated its limbs’; this quote is not a very joyous sentence but has a macabre tone, which makes the gothic horror creepy. Shelley also quickly changed the atmosphere all of a sudden; she rapidly changed it from Frankenstein being worried to being relieved. Shelley created the novel on her point of view; based on her life, as in the text it proves that she wrote the novel on herself or a first person.
If it was written on a third, person’s point of view, it may be written as ‘a cold dew covered his forehead’ which you can tell is more made up than real. This means that it is better to write as first person because it makes more sense and sounds more believable. When he had created the creature the text says ‘I beheld the accomplishment of my toils’; this shows us that he was very proud of his creation until it came to mind that he had done a very bad thing and could not proceed any further; he would have to dismantle the being he had created.
Chapter 5 tells us how hard Victor Frankenstein has worked to create the creature; it is written: ‘I had deprived myself of rest and health’. This tells us that he did not have even a little break until he had created the creature and shows us his enthusiasm; he is determined to finish and create the monster. He wanted to prove that it was possible to bring the dead back to life. As Frankenstein is giving life to the creature, it says, ‘I had gazed on him while unfinished’; this means that as he took one last look at the monster he was unaware of any problems to come.
This tells us that you could already see how obsessed and blinded he was, that he did not consider the consequences he would have to face. Frankenstein is caught up in his feelings; not caring at all for what he had created and selfishly leaves his creation to suffer. Frankenstein leaves the monster alone, which is classed as terrible parenting in society. Chapter five is when the monster gets the gift of life; just like a baby. When a parent leaves his or her child, it is regarded as mistreatment. The main thing that parents do with their children, which Frankenstein did not, is to educate him.
They need to teach them how to live; to get through life smoothly, to be civilised, and they should be taught the laws of society that you must abide by. Frankenstein did not teach the creature this, so the creature took it upon himself to kill his creator’s family in a fit of childish revenge. Frankenstein brings the creature to life, and then the creature massacres his family; this links in with the obsession theme. The monster was disliked and ignored by everyone. The creation is rejected, and as he is very intelligent, he hides in a house.
In that house a child is learning from her mother and is being taught how to read, write, and speak; the monster learns how to communicate and confronts Frankenstein. Victor cannot tolerate him, as he is frightened and cannot confront it because he had left it to suffer and die. There are many descriptive features of Victor’s creation. When the monster is brought back to life, Shelley illustrates it as, ‘a convulsive motion agitated his limbs’; this means that the monster made his first movement and has been given life.
Frankenstein escaped and was regretful of his actions, so became seriously depressed. This is another point that proves that Frankenstein is based on her own life. There is a link between Frankenstein and Mary Shelley; Shelley is hugely obsessed in writing her story which she dreamt about at night, this appeared to her as she had many deaths in her family. This shows us why she wanted to write her story and how it was extremely important to her. On the other hand Frankenstein is obsessed in resurrecting the dead back to life.
This shows us that Mary Shelley and Victor Frankenstein are closely equivalent to each other as they had the same desires in resurrecting the dead back to life. Chapter 5 is hugely important to the novel because it is when the monster awakens; this is when the impossible happens and it has an impact on the the readers, as there is suspense. In addition, more importantly, the notion of bringing the dead to life reflects Shelley’s own despair and the circumstances that overcame her during her life. Her mother died ten days after Mary Shelley was born.
Her husband also drowned. All the religious people were shocked and disgusted because she had written against their religion by writing on the topic of resurrection. On the other hand, she had written something so unique that people admired her for her achievement. Mary had written one of the greatest gothic horror stories in history, leaving people inspired by her work. The novel presented readers with the incredible images of creation and death. There are many key points that link up chapter 5. One point is ‘obsession’.
In the text it says, ‘I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation’; this is one of the most important facts about Victors passion in creating the creature; he knew that this was something that will shock the world and he wished to be the first to succeed in resurrecting a being. Chapter 5 is about Frankenstein being so obsessed, he does not know how repulsive the creature will be. His obsession backfires on his family and friends who fell foul of the creature. This implies that this is a key point contributing immensely to the novel.
The concepts of birth and death also run throughout the novel. In chapter 5, Frankenstein is giving life to the creature. Frankenstein behaved wrongly as a parent to his creation; he abandoned it. Regardless how ugly or deformed your child is, a parent should love it and give it protection. Frankenstein acted atrociously; he condemned his own creation. In the 19th Century, scientists wanted to bring people back to life. Some scientists managed to revive some dead tissue; this is the furthest anyone got to revive the dead.
Mary Shelley interpreted it into her novel; this shows her awareness of current affairs and scientific thinking. Mary Shelley interpreted this in a different way though; Frankenstein did not bring a particular person back to life, but he added different body parts from different dead people to make a creature. Frankenstein made the creature against the laws of nature, so he reaped the consequences. Overall, I have learned about how Mary Shelley used gothic horror and how she used long descriptive sentences to have a bigger effect on the reader.
I have also learned how bad parenting can affect the minds of people psychologically. In addition, I have observed how effectively she describes a monster, and stimulates the reader’s imagination. I can see how she uses pathetic fallacy, which uses the atmosphere to make the mood and creates the genre of the story. I have observed how Shelley bases the novel on a first person, so she will be talking about herself, which will be effective at connecting the reader with Dr Frankenstein’s experiences.
Also, the problems and grief that Mary Shelley experienced in her life is evident through the storyline; this makes it a more personal account. I have learned how important chapter 5 is to the novel as it is directly pointing at the life of Mary. I can see how she describes the creature visually, by giving long, descriptive features e. g. his hair, his eyes and his lips. She gives so much detail about the creature that you can even relate to the state Victor Frankenstein is in after he creates the monster and how he reacted to it.
In the text, it tells us e. g. , how long he worked, why he worked and what he was doing it for. Automatically it brings imagery in to your head and gives a brief image on how he would have looked. By Frankenstein being intensely horrified, he and the public reject the monster and it is chased out of the community. This shows that people were not tolerant of differences or bizarre people in society. Therefore, the creature is unable to endure its phase of life, and feels rage towards the one person who should have cared for him.
The creature felt betrayed and sought revenge. I now understand the message of this novel; Shelley is actually warning the readers to consider their actions and the consequences on others. If you do wrong to someone, you will eventually regret it, as you will face punishment in some way or another. Frankenstein was a good novel for its time; by studying chapter 5, I have learnt that 19th century life was a lot different to mine. This novel is very captivating and moving, considering when it was written, and the ethics behind it.
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