Symbolic and thematic structures


Both these topics are fully discussed in the sections Themes and significant ideas and Imagery and symbolism. It is, however, worth emphasising that such patterns are means by which the structure of the novel is held together. The recurrence of images associated with Mountains and lakes or the frequent allusions to Satan, Prometheus and other biblical or mythological figures draw the reader's attention to the links between different sections of the narrative.

Family Life

Similarly, the recurrence of scenes of family life – or their absence – provides parallels and links between the stories told by the three narrators. At the centre of the novel is the monster's long account of the de Laceys, who:

  • represent a kind of norm, a symbol for the way in which strong family ties enable individuals to endure suffering and loss
  • show the monster of what he has been deprived of by the unnatural way in which he has been created.

The account of Victor's own childhood offers a similar image of supportive and encouraging love, but:

  • for large parts of the novel, by his own choice he is separated from his close family
  • his life with them is an idyllic memory rather than a present reality.

Walton, too, has turned his back on family life and he does not seem to have any desire to enjoy a settled home or a permanent relationship.

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