How does Mary Shelley, in the book Frankenstein, focus on nature as a means of finding beauty, truth, and solace? Do they deal with Romanticism and Transcendentalism?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Romanticism did focus on nature as a means of finding beauty, truth, and solace; in many ways, this was a direct response to the Industrial Revolution that was changing the English landscape with its pollution, factories, harsh working conditions.  Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein addresses the dichotomy that so many Romantic literature addressed--nature versus industry.  Her novel is a study of contrasts in many ways.  On one hand you have the creature; he is unnatural, a man-made creation from the laboratory.  Through his creation of the creature, Victor Frankenstein has disturbed the natural order of things; the result, for him and many others, is ruination and death.  The creature could be an extended metaphor for industrialization.

Shelley's novel shows an opposing side to industrialization, and that is the nurturing, peaceful world of nature:

"My spirits were elevated by the enchanting appearance of nature; the past was blotted from my memory, the present was tranquil, and the future gilded by bright rays of hope and anticipations of joy" (Chapter 12).

Even the creature finds repose in nature.  He basks in the reappearance of spring after his winter months in the hovel.   Shelley's novel views the natural world as a soothing balm to heal all ills.  Her novel definitely reflects the Romantic views of the time period by embracing nature.

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