How does the narrative style of Walton's letters help communicate the dangers of excessive ambition, which is a key concern of the novel?

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In the letters from Walton, a significant purpose of the novel is revealed. With this, the readers begin to note the extreme feelings that are presented about ambition by Walton and his rescued guest (Victor). By reading Walton’s letters, we can see that Walton pursues knowledge ambitiously with little fear of or regard for the other important qualities in life.

Walton describes the conversations and events that occur while at sea in his letters. During his conversation with Victor, Walton states that he would give up everything (money, convenience, and even life) for his excessive ambition of pursuing knowledge. As Walton says himself:

I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise. One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought.

After hearing Walton’s convictions, Victor responds in a foreboding manner, calling into question the repercussions of excessive ambition in the pursuit of knowledge. Through the description of Victor’s appearance after being rescued and his verbal insight, the readers start considering what turn of events caused Victor to be this distraught and averse to ambition. As he continues to speak, he shows that (similarly to Walton) he ambitiously pursued knowledge, and consequently, experienced great pain and remorse. As Victor states:

You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been. I do not know that the relation of my disasters will be useful to you; yet, when I reflect that you are pursuing the same course, exposing yourself to the same dangers which have rendered me what I am, I imagine that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale; one that may direct you if you succeed in your undertaking, and console you in case of failure.

As a result, this narrative style acts as a type of warning about excessive ambition, particularly with the pursuit of knowledge. Although in the letters Victor does not yet describe his life events, it acts as a foreshadowing of the story to come. Victor shares these events so that he might help Walton if he succeeds in his pursuits or comfort him if he is unable to prevail.

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