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In "Frankenstein," focus on the first paragraph and show how the dark, gloomy setting...

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karolinka | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 5, 2011 at 12:14 AM via web

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In "Frankenstein," focus on the first paragraph and show how the dark, gloomy setting adds to the atmosphere.

Give examples 'dreary night' 'candle nearly burnt out'

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

Posted June 18, 2011 at 6:45 AM (Answer #1)

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It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me,that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

This is the opening paragraph to Chapter Five of Frankenstein. The mood (atmosphere) of the paragraph is inevitably dark and gloomy, anxious and agonizing, and, above all else, frightening. One can see Victor's mood mirrors that of the physical atmosphere around him. He is teetering on the edge of blasphemy in his quest to create life. The details provided functionally and creatively fashion the novel's atmosphere: Victor’s mood, and the, hopeful, anxieties of the reader as they follow Victor on his journey.

The atmosphere of the paragraph is created through Shelley's word choices: dreary, toils, anxiety, agony, lifeless, thing, dismally, burnt out, half-exhausted, dull, creature, convulsive, and agitated.

These words create an atmosphere which perfectly matches the original reasoning behind Frankenstein's creation: a horror story.

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