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Examine how imagery is used to illustrate one of the following themes in Frankenstein:...

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cheekpuck2 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:43 PM via web

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Examine how imagery is used to illustrate one of the following themes in Frankenstein: Love and Hate, Acceptance or tolerance, loneliness, Fragility of life.

I've read the book, but I'm not very good at English & connecting to the book. So, I would really appreciate anyone's help! I need about 3 more examples; I found two already. Thanks so much!

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:35 PM (Answer #1)

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In order to parallel images found in the novel Frankenstein to the themes present, one must first understand imagery.

Imagery is when a reader is able to form mental images based upon the descriptions provided by an author in a text. For example, if reading about a person eating a guava, as seen in Esmeralda Santiago's "How to Eat a Guava," the author describes the texture, taste, and how a guava looks. Through the descriptions, a reader is able to create a mental image of the fruit.

Mary Shelley provides many visual descriptions regarding the setting, characters, and the creature itself. In fact, her text depends upon a reader's visualization of what the monster looks like (given she does not provide a direct characterization of the creature's physical characteristics--outside of the eyes and stature).

Therefore, three examples of imagery which support (or speak to) the theme of love and hate are as follows:

1. In this passage, Victor describes the pains (the love) he took when choosing the parts for the creature. Once together, the creature was far from (now hate) the beautiful being Victor had imagined.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineatethe wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!—Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.

2. In the following passage, the creature has first approached Victor (after the death of William and Justine). The creature is reacting to Victor's questioning of his (the creature's) ability to approach him.

“I expected this reception,” said the dæmon. “All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind.

Here, the creature recognizes that Victor hates him. But, his recognition that Victor is his creator alludes to the fact that Victor should love him.

3. In this passage, Victor is considering the creature's request to hear his story. Victor recognizes both his hate and where love should exist for his creature.

My heart was full, and I did not answer him; but as I proceeded, I weighed the various arguments that he had used, and determined at least to listen to his tale. I was partly urged by curiosity, and compassion confirmed my resolution. I had hitherto supposed him to be the murderer of my brother, and I eagerly sought a confirmation or denial of this opinion. For the first time, also, I felt what the duties of a creator towards his creature were, and that I ought to render him happy before I complained of his wickedness.

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