How does chapter 5 of Frankenstein link to the key themes in the novel? What does it tell us about 19th century life?
2 Answers | Add Yours
Chapter 5 is crucial in this novel from two points of view: plot and genre of the book. Concerning the plot, this is the chapter where the creationist, Victor, gives life to his creature, in this way, the process of action and reaction begins.
As about the genre of this book, here we are, facing the first elements which are introducing us in the so called genre: gothic genre. It is enough just to look at these 2 quotations : "It was on a dreary night of November" and then "the rain pattered dismally against the panes." to realise that we are already in the dark atmosphere which belongs to gothic genre.
Chapter V is where Victor brings the creature to life. He had worked for nearly two years to make his dream come true, and now that it finally had, he is repulsed.
The themes include playing God, scientific advancements, parent/child relationships. Victor has no business attempting to create or bring the dead back to life, yet he has spent two years attempting that very thing. Once he is successful, he runs from it. This brings us to the parent/child relationships. How would you feel if when you were born, your mother and father ran and shrieked at the sight of you? I'd say that would be pretty demoralizing and horrible. So, the creature is abandoned by his own creator/"father" and he has nothing but his own resources to fall back upon. Later, the creature tells us he was born a benevolent creature, but without the knowledge of survival that parents are supposed to teach their offspring. Because of this, the creature learns many hard knocks and ultimately this leads him to feeling angry and vengeful toward Victor.
What this tells us about 19th Century life is that many people had concerns about where science and the advancements made were going. Much like today with our debates over stem-cell research and what is and what isn't "right," they were concerned.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes