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What are any allusions, examples of foreshadowing, and pathetic fallacy in chapters 5-9...

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ahmad-s | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 8, 2009 at 7:26 AM via web

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What are any allusions, examples of foreshadowing, and pathetic fallacy in chapters 5-9 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

 

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

Posted June 26, 2013 at 9:29 PM (Answer #1)

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Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein contains many different literary devices. In regards to chapters five through nine, and the literary devices of allusion, foreshadowing, and pathetic fallacy, the following textual examples and explanations are given.

Allusion

An allusion is a typically causal reference to another work or historical event the author believes to be known to the reader. Unfortunately for some authors, the readers lack of knowledge (regarding the material the author offers for the allusion) interferes with the understanding or acknowledgement of the allusion.

Examples:

Perhaps the most important allusion made in the chapters in question is found in chapter nine. Here, Victor has just succeeded at re-animating life, ran from his loft, and is wandering the streets of Ingolstadt. It is here readers find an excerpt of Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." The inclusion of this poem alludes to two things. First, it alludes to the power of nature over man. Second, it alludes to the importance of the knowledgeable passing on information to the ignorant.

Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is where an author offers hints as to what is to come later in the movement of the novel (or text).

In regards to foreshadowing, Victor's dream in chapter five offers readers a hint as to what will become of Elizabeth. Right after the Creature comes to life, Victor collapses of exhaustion on his bed. During his sleep, Victor dreams about Elizabeth. He is holding her and, just as he goes to kiss her, Elizabeth turns into his deceased mother. This dream foreshadows Elizabeth's unfortunate death toward the end of the novel.

 

Pathetic Fallacy

This is the poetic practice (a form of personification) of relating human emotion or responses to nature, inanimate objects, or animals.  The coiner of the term was John Ruskin, and he defined it as the deceit that happens when one’s perceptions are influenced heightened emotion.

In regards to pathetic fallacy in the novel, one example is found in the opening of chapter five. Victor’s Creature “awakens” on “a dreary night in November.”  Desiring to give life to the “lifeless thing” which lay at his feet, Shelley provides readers with a very descriptive and emotion ridden image of the Creature coming to life. The language includes "rain pattering," a burnt out candle (which appeals to the sense of smell), the "dull yellow eye" of the creature, and the convulsive breathing of the Creature. All of these speak to the fear Victor feels and the reader should feel. Engaged readers see the Creature come to life (in their own mental image). They feel and see exactly what Victor feels. This illustrates pathetic fallacy.

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