Frankenstein: Shelley’s Narrative Style isn’t Going Out of Style

I can probably guess that I am the only one who would care about this topic in regard to Frankenstein.

One of the things that has really facinated me in regard to the journey literature takes over the course of the past few hundred years is that of the use of framing devices and other agents to make a work more realistic. I have always wondered what caused the very first author who participated in this mode of narrative to thing “gee, I think I will make this first chapter NOTHING about the main characters. How the protagonists relate to this framing agent will be seen only by around chapter four.”

Elements of this narrative are seen in most works from this time period, such as The Scarlet Letter and others of their ilk. However, the use of this in literature is no longer in vogue. However, this literary convention of the Romantic/post-Romantic time period that is similar to the concept seen in movies such as Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, and The Blair Witch Project. The framing of these stories involves them having a movie camera to record a documentary or record the goings on at a party. That and the shaky camera angles usually employed convey that this was “found footage”, just like how a letters recording an event unfolding provide more distance between you and the author.

Frankenstein, obviously, uses this method of narrative. This heightens the realism, drama, and can actually make the work more frightening than if the work was just the tale of the namesake of the novel.

-a.b.

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Filed under British Literature, English, School, Uncategorized

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