Frankenstein was published in 1818 from the mind of the gothic author Mary Shelley. Her creation Frankenstein also called the modern Prometheus. Mary’s childhood was plagued by the death of her mother, her half-sister and later on her miscarriage. Mary unsurprisingly fell very alone and was not helped by the fact her dad did not pay much attention to her needs. Frankenstein contains a lot of anguish, torment, sorrow and isolation which seems to refer back to Mary’s background of what she felt and reflected in her dream which gave her the idea of Frankenstein.
During the time Shelley was writing Frankenstein she was reading Emile a poem which said man’s nature is harmless but that men are made evil by society. This seems to have influenced the elements put into the Story. The story was written during the Romantic Movement which encouraged people to think about innovations, idealisation, new beginnings and discovery of that time. During Mary Shelley’s childhood Luigi Galvani had made a frog’s leg twitch by allowing it to make contact with electricity. This led everyone to believe that the frog had come back to life for that short moment of time.
This was the same way the monster was brought to life. Mary Shelley uses very subtle techniques to show emotions in this book. These emotions were ones experienced by her sometime in her life. Isolation was a very frequent emotion in Mary Shelley and it is very predominant in the book. The emotion of Isolation is reflected by all the narrators in the book. Robert Walton the ship’s commander is presented as isolated because he is shown to the reader as being far too intellectual to communicate to another person on the ship.
His intellect is withholding him from gaining friends which is quite ironic “I have no one near me gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as a capacious mind”. Shelley uses cunning techniques during his letters when he is recounting times gone past to show how apart he is from the rest of the ship: “I often worked harder than the common sailors”. Shelley uses this line to make reader the subconsciously think Walton at that point has passed the rank of a common sailor, that he has deserves a rank above an ordinary sailor preserving the deck.
Walton’s ship is surrounded by ice and it therefore cannot move. Shelley has used a subtle technique by using the physical to reflect what is mentally happening on the ship. As they were “shut down by ice” so was Walton’s mind to any outside communication or sharing of feelings. Walton’s mind is imprisoned as he is so isolated his only outlet of his amazing intellect is through his letters. It is very ironic that some one so smart cannot make at least one human friend which seems to reinforce the feeling of isolation.
The reader sees him as someone who is very unfortunate; that it was not his fault. This also evokes sympathy as well as isolation in the reader. Shelley uses Walton to show the reader how it felt for her in her life. Her immense literature knowledge did not help her pass the feeling of isolation which kept on tormenting her life even when she married. Shelley also shows Victor as a very isolated person during his life. Frankenstein was shown as isolated during the first few chapters in which Shelley introduced him to the reader.
The reader realises the fact that Frankenstein was very isolated at the beginning of chapter 4 when Frankenstein is describing his surroundings in the laboratory in which the monster was assembled. He is in “dreary” room with no other living thing in the room, no one he can communicate with; just the lifeless being. Shelley makes it seem that Frankenstein does not understand that he is in an isolated situation however the reader manages to understand that the surroundings are very isolated that in fact there are no other living beings in the room for him to relate to.