How has the writer used language in Chapter 5 of "Frankenstein" to develop character behavior?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 5, Victor is recovering from his fevered experience following the creature's coming to life at Henry Clerval's adept hands.  Victor reads a letter from Elizabeth in which she fills him in on events at home.  The language is detailed and descriptive as Elizabeth pours out the details of the lives of Victor's father, her own life, their concern over Victor's brother Ernest and his career choice, Justine's situation...in short, Mary Shelley is building on all these characters who will come back into the story later.  She is giving us background information and building on the personalities of these characters so the reader will understand events, motives, and plot deviations later.  This is especially true with regard to Victor's personality and the reader's understanding of his childhood and past relations with family with regard to his motives later in the book, as well as with Justine Moritz who comes to be a fairly important character as far as moving the plot along in a certain direction.  We also meet up again with Victor's professors and get a different view of him and his opinion change toward the sciences.  This will also prove important later in the book.  Shelley uses Chapter 5 to set up events that are coming...without this detailed description of characters, their pasts, their thoughts and decisions, we would be lost when the more important events unfold later.  We would fail to understand fully the causes.

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Frankenstein

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