So What’s Your Story?

Storytelling has a unique interest to both that characters in Frankenstein and the author, Mary Shelley, herself. Seeing as Frankenstein was created through the process of storytelling among Shelley’s friends and fellow authors, the storytelling in the novel is a continuation of that ghost story. In this novel, storytelling and letters were used to create a feeling of sympathy towards the characters in Frankenstein. When thinking of the stories of Victor and The Monster, many parallels appear between their experiences and thoughts. Perhaps they share the motive of warning against the dangers of knowledge.

The similarities of the stories are not unlike the similarities between the friend Walton wants and Victor. Both the monster and Victor talk about their creation. Although the monster’s is much less traditional, the idea of being created is still similar. Victor tells Walton about his family life and how he grew up and the Monster does the same. Both Victor and the monster experience some type of loneliness. Victor says “I threw myself into the chaise that was to convey me away and indulged in the most melancholy reflections. I, who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in endeavoring to bestow mutual pleasure-I was now alone.” (Volume 1 Chapter 3). The monster also talks about his loneliness and how he feels separated from his neighbors or other people in general. He says “but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property” (Volume 2 Chapter 4). Their obsessions, Victors with knowledge of science and the Monster with knowledge of people, have made them both extremely lonely.

Their motives could also share a similar origin. It could be that both of their stories work to get sympathy for their loneliness and also provide a warning against obsessions with knowledge. Both Victor and the Monster hope that by learning their stories, you understand more about their past as an explanation for why they are the way they are or why they do the things they do. Could this be because the both feel so lonely and disconnected from others? Victor has felt lonely in his pursuit of studies and the monster has felt lonely by observing his neighbors. They both realize that they don’t have what many other people have.

This, I believe, is the point of storytelling, not just in Frankenstein but in general. Mary Shelley could be using this novel as a way to build sympathy for a monster, but she could also be using some of the characters as mirror images of her own suffering in order to find sympathy for herself.

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