What is the Significance of Chapter 5 to the Novel Frankenstein and what does it show us about the Contexts in which it was written? ‘Frankenstein’ is usually classed as a Gothic novel. As it contains fear, terror, supernatural, mysterious settings, stereotyped characters and the dark side of human nature, which are all typical features of gothic Noels. In 1818 ‘Frankenstein’ was published and all classic gothic novels were written between 1765 and1820.
Gothic writers are interested in the breakdown of boundaries; exploration of what is forbidden, breaking the laws of god and nature, the dark side of the human psyche, all of which is contained in ‘Frankenstein’. A visit to Switzerland with her husband in the summer of 1816 prompted Mary Shelley to write ‘Frankenstein’. They were staying near a friend called ‘lord Byron’, a writer. However, it was a wet summer and they had to stay indoors a lot. Lord suggested that they each write a ghost story to entertain themselves.
Throughout the summer she over heard conversations between her husband and lord Byron about the origins of life and when ever humans would ever discover how life was created, she also heard about experiments and tales. After over hearing such conversations she came up with the idea of her book ‘Frankenstein’. Mary Shelley was living in an age of scientific development, and so her ideas and research would have been influenced by experiments and scientific debates of her time. Many sciences then, looked to chemistry to give them the secrets of life.
In ‘Frankenstein’ Shelley used one piece of scientific research called ‘galvanism’, which is what ‘lungi Galvani’ called the vial force he believed is contained in animals. He believed that there was two different forms of electricity produced by lighting and the brain, which made muscles move, this lead to experiments on human corpses. Shelley used these ides in her book and she was predicting a world where humans, not God are controlling the creation of life. Robert Walton, the captain of a ship bound for the North Pole, recounts to his sitter back in England the progresses of his dangerous mission.
Successful early on, the mission is soon interrupted by seas full of impassable ice. Trapped, Walton encounters Victor Frankenstein, who has been travelling by dog-drawn sledge across the ice and is weekend by the cold. Walton takes him aboard ship, helps nurse him back to health, and hears the fantastic tale of the monster that Frankenstein created; victor attends university at Ingolstadt, where he studies about modern science and within a few years he learns everything his professors have to teach him. He comes fascinated with the ‘secret of life’ he then discovers the secret of life, and brings a hideous monster to life.
The monster proceeds to kill Victor’s youngest brother, best friend, and wife, he also indirectly causes the deaths of two other innocents, including Victor’s father. Every thing spirals out of control. ‘Frankenstein’ can be read as a tale of what happens when a man tries to create a child without a woman. It can, however, also be read as an account of a woman’s anxieties and insecurities about her own creative and reproductive capabilities. The story of explains a woman’s emotions that she may experience through pregnancy and their related fears.
Mary Shelley, in the development and education of the monster, discusses child development and education and how the nurturing of a loving parent is extremely important in the moral development of an individual. Through ‘Frankenstein’, Mary Shelley examines her own fears and thoughts about pregnancy, childbirth, and child development. Pregnancy and childbirth, as well as death, was an integral part of Mary Shelley’s young adult life. She had four children and a miscarriage that almost killed her. This was all before the age of twenty-five. Only one of her children, Percy Florence, survived to adulthood and outlived her.
Chapter 5 is about the birth of the monster: One stormy night, after months of labour, victor completes his creation. However, when he brings it to life, its awful appearance horrifies him. He rushes to the next room and tries to sleep, but he is troubled by nightmares about Elizabeth and his mother’s corpse. He wakes to discover the monster looming over his bed with a grotesque smile and rushes out of the house. He spends the night pacing in his courtyard. The next morning, he goes walking in the town of Ingolstadt, frantically voiding a return to his now haunted apartment.