The Frame Structure Of Franken Essay

This essay has a total of 1008 words and 5 pages.

The Frame Structure Of Franken


The following essay is concerned with the frame structure in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
and ist functions as it is suggested by Beth Newman's "Narratives of seduction and the
seduction of narratives".


To start with, the novel Frankenstein is a symmetrically built frame narrative with a
story at its center. This is not always the case with frame structured novels, as there
are examples without a proper center (e.g. Heart of Darkness). The elaborate system of
frames indicates that this center reveals some kind of a mystery. However, it would be
wrong to asume that the center alone contains the meaning of the novel. On the contrary,
the meaning of the novel is brought about by the relation between the different stories at
the center and the frames around it.


One of the main suggestions of the article is the functioning of the inner oral narratives
as forms of seduction, to be more specific, seductions into a promise. In other words,
they try to persuade their listener to promise the satisfaction of a desire that could not
be satisfied directly. The two main examples for this are the Monster's as well as
Frankenstein's story, but the themes of seductive narration and promises can be found also
elsewhere in the novel. The Monster's desire is to be loved by someone. When he realises
that not only the DeLaceys but every human being will reject him because of his uglyness,
he tells Frankenstein his story in order to persuade him to create a female being of his
kind for his companion. At the end of Chapter 8 of Volume II (page 97 of our edition) the
monster says: "We may not part until you have promised to comply with my requisition. I am
alone, and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as
myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species, and have
the same defects. This being you must create."


Frankensteins's desire, on the other hand, is to kill his creature. Realising that he will
probably not be able to achieve his aim himself, he relates his story to Captain Walton in
order to make him promise to finish his plans of killing the Monster. Frankenstein says in
the middle of Chapter 7 in Volume III (p. 145): "Yet, when I am dead, if he should appear;
if the ministers of vengeance should conduct him to you, swear that he shall not live."

The pattern of stories trying to seduce the listener reoccurs in the novel on a smaller
scale. An obvious example of this is the Monster's attempt to raise old Mr. DeLacey's pity
by telling him a false story about his origin. Another less obvious example is the way he
arranges Justine's execution. By killing William and putting the miniature the boy had in
Justines pocket he makes up the ,story" of Justine murdering William in order to get the
picture.

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