Frankenstein: A Critical Analysis

A Critical Analysis Author-centered Reading Early 19th century gothic novel, Frankincense, has provided an excellent base for an author-centered analysis, given the prominence of Shelley circumstantial Influence and strong symbolism. Born at the turn of the 18th century in London, Mary Shelley was exposed to venerated authors and their works from a young age. Showing her ability and promise early on In life, she went on to write a number of acclaimed novels, Including Valier and The Last Man.
Shelley Imagery compares to the best of 19th century Romantic literature and has helped establish her as one of the time’s retreat authors. (Academic, 2009) Through Frankincense, I have Implied Mary Shelley to be strongly opposed to the Idea of ‘playing god’ and transgressing the human Limitations. She has used strong Juxtaposition to highlight the horror of the monster, contrasting It to the sporadic scenes of beautiful valleys and mountain ranges.
Through her use of this technique, it is clear that Shelley herself is disgusted with the monster, though she has attempted to justify the actions and behaviors of it throughout. Her personal disgust and rejection of the wretch comes through in the behavior of the characters, with only one, an old, blind man ever coming close to accepting him. As Victor says, “There can be no community between you and me; we are enemies”. (Shelley, 2000, p. 82) Though the monster had done no wrong, initially, and only desired to be loved, “l was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend” (Shelley, 2000, p. 2), he was accepted by none. It seemed thus, that Shelley was trying to show that even if man successfully reached god-like achievements, he and his creation would not enjoy any form of acceptance as the heart of man opposes him to such ghastly and horrific actions. At the beginning of Chapter 5, it is seen that Frankincense calls his creation the wretch’ before it had even awoken, How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavourer to form? ” (Shelley, 2000, p. 1) Although these words were technically spoken after it occurred, in Frankincense’s recount to Walton, Shelley could have chosen to refer to the monster in an objective manner at this point, instead in this subjective way. By doing this, however, the monster Is portrayed as lesser than human, not worthy and is degraded In the eyes f the reader, without any actions of the monster being recounted. As said, Shelley Juxtaposed the monster to the scenic landscapes. This Is technique Is evident here as well, though not in exactly the same manner.

The next scene after Frankincense creates the monster, has Frankincense Joyfully re-unlit with Clerical. Recounting the scene between Frankincense and Clerical, Shelley uses exclamation marks to dramatist the situation In order to draw a starker comparison with the previous scene. Then, as quickly as the mood turned Joyful, It became drastically solemn as the conversation turned to Victors exploits. Nature has also played a large part in the novel and is key to understanding certain elements.
Set in the 18th century in Switzerland, the novel’s locale draws key inspiration from Shelley circumstance at the time, being that it was conceived in Switzerland, only a few years after it came across strongly in the novel. “the moon gazed on my midnight labors, while, with unrelated and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding places” (Shelley, 2000, p. 39) Shelley has personified nature quite strongly and through words like these, Shelley has established nature as an all-powerful, god-like being.
This further enhances the view that she was bringing across the point that no one should attempt to breach nature’s omnipotence. In this way, she has likened nature to an all-powerful God. Shelley also re-enforced the power of nature – God – through her language “As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from out house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump” (Shelley, 2000, p. 26).
What Shelley has done for nature though, she has done the opposite for man. Mary Shelley has brought across humans as being incompetent, insensible beings. When the wretch leaves evidence of Justine killing Will on her person, she is arrested and does not receive a proper trial, being lynched by members of the public. Later on, in an encounter between the wretch and Frankincense, the monster says, muff accuse me of murder; and yet you would, with satisfied conscience, destroy your own creature. Oh, praise the eternal justice of man! ” (Shelley, 2000, p. 2) Through this, it would seem that Mary Shelley had become disillusioned with man-kind and its constant endeavourers to ‘play-god’, en in advances within science and medicine. Shelley was likely influenced by the times she was in, through influential figures like Jean-Jacques Rousseau who criticized the view that man should exert his influence and superiority over nature by ‘Playing-God’. Shelley was a strong advocate for Rousseau, opposing others like Henry Bacon, who were of the view that Frankincense was of at the start of his time at the University of Inconstant.
The Author-centered approach has evolved over the past century and continues to do so, most recently with Farther’ Death of the Author of 1967. Instead of viewing the author as the sole influence of the texts’ meaning, the contemporary view sees persons taking interest in the author; his/her background and circumstance to discern the link between them and their work (QUA Syllabus, 2011) I first applied Authorial Intent with special consideration given to Wimpiest and Beardsley Intentional Fallacy of 1946.
This provided a base for analyzing Frankincense without being clouded by the presumed design or intention of the author which according to Wimpiest and Beardsley, “is neither available nor desirable as a standard for Judging he success of a literary work of art” (Wimpiest and Beardsley, 1946, p. L) Upon reading Intentional Fallacy I saw that Frankincense was a ubiquitous representation of the canonical life of Mary Shelley, not Just the intended meaning she desired. The theory states that, “an author’s stated purpose cannot determine all the legitimate readings that may be made in his/her text. (QUA, 2011) Thus, in keeping with Intentional Fallacy, I recognized the relationship between the author, Shelley, and her text. As I said in my first paragraph, “Through Frankincense, I have implied Mary Shelley to be tryingly opposed to the idea of ‘playing god’ and transgressing the human limitations. ” The use of Pullet’s “criticism of consciousness” theory helped establish that the use of literary devices and her language to bring this point across displays that, as I said in my reading, “Shelley herself is disgusted with The Monster”.
The author-function, specifically the characteristics of attribution and valuation, as introduced by Factual, also led my reading. Valuation states that an author is not defined purely through his/her discourse but, “It results from a complex operation hose purpose is to construct the rational entity we call an author” (Factual, 1977). Thus I constructed my view of Shelley from her “profundity or ‘creative’ power”.
This is seen all throughout my reading, though most profoundly in my final paragraph, where I state that I am of the view that Shelley “had become disillusioned with man- kind and its constant endeavourers to ‘play-god” However, the complications of this being perceived as Universality may be questioned as different readings are drawn from Frankincense. The characteristic of Attribution also showed that my previous dead and knowledge of Mary Shelley as a widely acclaimed author and prominent figure, whose work has lasted till current day, influenced my construction of her.
The work of Brooks and Pollute, used in conjunction, was a prime dictator in the course of my reading. The main theory I applied was that “literature is ultimately metaphorical and symbolic. ” (Brooks, 1947) Thus, a closer analysis of the words Shelley used revealed the Pantheism in Frankincense. As I said in my reading, “Shelley has established nature as an all-powerful, god-like being”. I understood the reason Enid this better after a study of Spinning’s work, based on Descartes’ dualist theory. Spinal brought into play that God, instead of a physical, anthropomorphism’s being, is in fact the composition of nature.
Pullet’s theory of “criticism of consciousness” “embodiment of the state of mind” of Shelley (Pollute, 1971). This is important as it guided me to become conscious of Shelley ‘cogitator’ and its impact on my construction of her as an author. This type of Close-reading is advocated by New Criticism (Henderson and Brown, 1997), further allowing me to analyses the construction of Shelley sentences and word-use, to detect symbolism and metaphors. This came through in the third paragraph of my reading, when referring to Shelley use of the word Wretch’ so early on.
Applying Brooks’ theory helped me identify the deeper symbolism in this. I was thus able to recognize that the referral to Victor’s creation in such a subjective manner had deeper roots, not Just showing Victor’s personal disgust but also causing the monster to appear unworthy of ordinary humans “… The monster is portrayed as lesser than human and not worthy and is degraded in the eyes of the reader… (Reading) I was also able to analyses Shelley use of punctuation, to further enhance the Juxtaposition between the somber references to the monster and the happier circumstances.
Brooks’ and Pullet’s theories also have elements of the text-centered approach in them, with this approach claiming that the text is place where meaning is found (QUA, 2011, p. 4). Here the subtleties between Historical and New Criticism become evident, with old criticism embracing literature as a form of authorial self-expression, Romanticism (Henderson and Brown, 1997). The shift in thinking though of authorial self-expression to inner symbolism and author omniscience makes it hard to fully identify and articulate Shelley intention. My construction of Shelley, though, seemed at first to be invalid with T. S.
Elitist’s Tradition And The Individual Talent, which espouses that when critiquing a work, one must take into account the other authors of that time (Adams, 1971) In Elitist’s words, “we pretend to find what is individual, what is the peculiar essence of the man”(Elliot, 1921). This would mean that my belief that the language in Frankincense symbolizes Pantheism is wrong as it is based purely on Mary Shelley. However, upon closer analysis, I realized that in fact, it supported my conclusions. The key example I would like to present is that of Wordsmith and Coleridge, founders of the Romantic Movement in England.
Both of them were strong supporters and advocates of Pantheism, helping to bring Rousseau work to recognition through their own writings. Both were also frequent visitors to the Godwin household (A+E Networks, 2012). Thus Shelley would have grown up around the work of these two men, the Venerated authors’ I mentioned in my first paragraph. What I saw here, was sound proof that Intellectuality, or as said by Elliot, “importance of the relation of the poem o other poems by other authors” (Elliot, 1921) played a large part in Frankincense.

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