Frankenstein- Volume 1, Chapter 4
Language, form and structure of Volume 1, chapter 4, Page 52 This section of the text has plenty of death and dark, gothic images. The first half of it demonstrates simply how self-obsessed Victor is, and reveals the beginning of his absorption with death and decomposition. The language of this half is very focussed on Victor, ‘I became … I need to … In my education my dad … ‘, showing the reader just who is most important to Victor at this moment in his life. Victor is boastful as he mentions that he ‘does not shiver at a tale of superstitious notion’ which ‘darkness has no impact on my fancy’.
The way he blithely resolves worry and the preternatural hints at a lack of creativity in Victors mind, leaving the reader not able but to wonder, whether this absence is his harmartia. The 2nd half of this area information all the scary of the corruption and decay of the remains Victor is observing. ‘I witnessed the corruption of death prosper to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the marvels of the eye and brain …’ This quote is the manifestation of Victors mind from now on in the novel.
The ‘corruption of death’ is a sign for the contamination of his mind his obsession has actually caused, in what is supposed to be the height of his life (‘flowering cheek of life’). The language used in the second part of this section is really distanced. Victor appears to have separated himself from his emotions, and is looking at the remains with clinical fascination, ‘I paused, examining and evaluating all the minutia of causation’. This sentence recommends to the reader that Victor is loosing his human link, and is turning his back on life.
This is the start of Victor developing not one, but 2 beasts: the beast he has devoted himself to creating, and himself. His self-centered aspiration, secrecy and fixation has made him into a creature that will not and can not accept society, even if he does look “common” on the outside. Contrast is utilized in this section. It is initially utilized by Shelley to accent Victors ethical descent by contrasting death with life, ‘I beheld the corruption of death be successful to the flowering cheek of life …, and corruption with appeal, ‘I saw how the fine kind of man was degraded and lost’. These contrasts stress the precariousness Victors position; the cusp of life and death. Contrast is utilized once again near the end when Victors epiphany of the ‘secrets of nature’ comes in the form of ‘a light so brilliant and fascinating’. This revelation appears to have a practically religious tonality, as if he has actually converted to darkness. Shelley utilizes punctuation surprisingly in this section.
The frequent use of the semi-colon increases the incrementum of the area, showing Victors enjoyment, and it likewise arouses excitement in the reader as it discreetly reveals that something crucial is going to occur prior to it has taken place. During Victors “discovery”, there is no full-stop. It is one sentence, which not just helps develop to the climax and develop stress, but could also potentially make the reader feel as though they are working through Victors brain process with him.