Hidden Messages: How is Storytelling Used in Frankenstein?

The story of Frankenstein is layered with characters that tell each other stories.  We can see in the beginning that Frankenstein himself uses the majority of the book to explain his story to Walton, an explorer of knowledge just like himself.  Later, Frankenstein will become the listener to his own creation’s story.  This form of communication is important to the theme of Frankenstein because the stories are meant to have a purpose, and are thus biased in their purpose to their audience.  While Frankenstein warns of the terror of obtaining knowledge to his new friend, the monster tells Frankenstein of the same nature about knowledge, and the responsibility that Frankenstein has to his creation.

There’s a lot of symmetry to both the monster’s and Frankenstein’s stories. Both of the stories speak of pain that befell of them.  For Frankenstein, it was his want of knowledge that built the creature that would ruin his life and family.  For the monster, it was the lack of a creator’s guidance that led him into the harsh world alone and unwanted.  Likewise, both stories are meant to convince their audience (and us) to understand and reason with their choices.  Walton has not yet lost everything to his pursuit of knowledge, and this story comes at a warning.  The monster uses his story to address his feelings of abandonment and solitude so Frankenstein can understanding his reasoning.  In addition to these qualities, there are plenty of allusions throughout both stories to help the reader recognize that these stories are meant to be focused towards their audiences.  Frankenstein will continually bring up Walton throughout the story to bring us back to the icy climate in which we expect our story to somehow end.  Meanwhile, the monster will continually yell out for and against his creator in his story so Frankenstein can understand the gravity and attention he has not given to his creation.

The use of storytelling in the book subconsciously helps us recognize the monster and Frankenstein as equals, where both seem emotional, aware of how nature can affect them, and understanding of how knowledge is a danger.



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