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What is an example of mystery and suspense in chapter 5 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

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eschoen | eNoter

Posted April 28, 2013 at 8:32 PM via web

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What is an example of mystery and suspense in chapter 5 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

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

Posted June 3, 2013 at 3:22 PM (Answer #3)

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Chapter five of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein opens with an air of mystery and suspense.

It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils.

As the opening paragraph continues, Shelley offers readers the first true view of the Creature. Here, the description of the Creature lacks the attention to detail Shelley has previously offered readers. In fact, the only descriptions offered to the reader are "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." 

The mystery of this section comes from the fact that Shelley fails to describe the Creature much at all. Curiously enough, this seemed to have been Shelley's plan. The lack of description allows the reader to create his or her own image of the Creature-- the more imaginative the reader, the more hideous the Creature.

The chapter continues with Victor detailing what happens immediately after the Creature comes to life. Suspense compounds as readers are not told about where the Creature has gone. He could "pop" up at any moment. This, along with the limited (yet horrible) description  of the Creature illuminates the suspense and mystery found in the chapter.

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