The nature of the narrative

The structure thus raises a number of issues and questions about the nature of the narrative we are reading.

Issues arising from the narrative

  • The two main narratives are spoken and are directed at a single listener whose reaction the speaker might be able to anticipate and certainly wishes to influence
  • Captain Walton may be presenting Frankenstein in a manner that corresponds to his own ideas about science and exploration and that reflects his admiration for his visitor
  • The overall written narrative is addressed to a single reader, Captain Walton's sister Mrs Saville, BUT:
    • she is outside the frame of the story
    • her opinion about what she reads is unknown to the reader
    • her means of publishing her brother's letters is unknown.

Questions about the narrative

  • How does Frankenstein represent himself to Captain Walton? What images of his scientific endeavours and the monster's actions does he emphasise?
  • How does reading the creature's narrative after hearing the first part of Victor's story affect the reader's view of events?
  • How are the reader's sympathies likely to be affected when Frankenstein resumes his own narrative?
  • What similarities and differences among the three main narrators emerge as a result of reading these narratives side by side? More on the three narrators?
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