Essay-style Questions: Frankenstein
1. Discuss Mary Shelley's use of nature with reference to at least two locations.
Direct and specific response to the question.
Recognises more than one use of nature. Establishes analytical bearings.
|The two locations which best exemplify Mary Shelley's
use of nature are the Arctic region and the Alpine surroundings of Geneva.
In both, natural settings are used as a background for the main plot
Connections between character, theme and imagery. Illustrate with key
In introducing Walton emphasise the appeal, which the Arctic landscape
Comment on the aspect, which the cold brilliance of the arctic light
Emphasise how in the end nature defeats both men.
|The Frozen Wastes of the Arctic in which the novel begins
and ends make a suitable setting for the graveyard of Victor Frankenstein's
dreams. The barren end to which his despair has brought him is reflected
in the barrenness of snow and ice.
It is also apt that Victor should meet a kindred spirit - Captain Walton
Captain Walton's search for a polar country 'of eternal light'
However, he is defeated in his great enterprise by the harsh realities
The powers of nature are once again to the fore after the narrative shifts
Ironically, the thunder and lightning, which precedes his first encounter
Introduce the idea of Victor's egotistical view of nature.
A comparative point could be made here with Walton and the 'beauty
|Victor's and presumption are mirrored further in his
reflections on the glacial grandeur of the Alps. Surveying the seas and
rivers of ice and the glittering cold light of the whitened peaks he feels
elevated by a 'power mighty as omnipotence' to a solitary perch
above the rest of humanity. But his delusions of grandeur are punctured
for the second time by the re-appearance of the creature.
Round off with a summary of the various aspects of the topic.
|In her varied use of nature, Mary Shelley therefore adds
interests as well as meaning to what is essentially a Gothic horror tale.