How is pathetic fallacy used to paint a gloomy picture of how the creature comes to life?Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Alone in his laboratory, Victor Frankenstein discovers the secret to human life, "of bestowing a animation upon lifeless matter,"while at the same time, his "eyes were insensible to the charms of nature." Thus, Victor has aspired, as he admits, "to be greater than his nature will allow." 

In pathetic fallacy, there is a sympathy of nature with the mood of a literary work.  In Chapter V of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the creation of Victor's being, the "animation upon lifeless matter" becomes a turbulent action as the electrical storm generates energy into the new being. This turbulence then enters the soul of Victor Frankenstein who is repulsed by the creature to whom he has imbued life.  In fact, just as there is a storm outside, there is a maelstrom of emotions that course through Victor who flees to his room, but expects "a spectre to stand in waiting" for him when he arrives.  As he falls into an exhausted sleep, he also experiences a storm of dreams that strike his mind with feelings of horror. When he awakens to the sight of his creature smiling over him, Victor flees the rush of repulsion that he experiences, and goes to the rainy courtyard where he paces for hours.  After he walks to the inn where he encounters his dear friend Henry Clerval, Victor--spent from the turbulence of the storm of his emotions, much like the violent weather--is spent; he collapses with a nervous fever.

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