To Whom It May Concern

Shelley’s use of the letters at the beginning of “Frankenstein” gave readers a different perspective on the story and also served as an interesting introduction to draw the reader in. The beginning of Victor’s story is a long exposition of his life and family, but by using the letters, Shelley gave the readers something immediate to latch onto in terms of storyline and excitement. A young pioneer seaman heading into the vast, unexplored expanses of the north seeking an undiscovered realm is not only an exciting beginning, it also gives the reader a taste of the day and age in which the story is set. This is an era of discovery and invention, of pursuing things that no one thought or was able to pursue before. Shelley is able to relate that through the enthusiasm of Winston’s letters.

Winston’s letters also give the reader a different perspective of Victor. Since the rest of the storyline is mainly from Victor’s perspective, the letters offer an outsider’s view of him as a man, as a human. Winston sees Victor as a friend and companion, a relief after many months of loneliness, which puts Victor in a favorable light at the beginning of the story and gives the reader the impression that he is a good character. However, as the story progresses, the charm of his intellectual genius and voracious appetite for learning and discovery begins to be deadened by his seeming lack of moral compulsion in the face of scientific progress. It remains to be seen if the favorable opinion Winston has of Victor will prove true, or if the favorable nature Victor has outwardly will serve as a foil to an inner darkness. Either way, the letters add a depth and roundness to the story by giving a different perspective of Victor and also framing his story with another story that further develops the setting for the time period.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *