How does Mary Shelley use the hints and suspense before things happen? What are the techniques she uses?

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hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, hints and suspense are used to captivate the reader and allude to the events to come. Although there are numerous techniques utilized in the novel, some of the most significant are foreshadowing and flashbacks.

In the beginning of the novel, Shelley utilizes foreshadowing to illustrate and hint about the coming events with Victor and his creature. In the beginning, the Walton finds Victor. Victor sees how Walton is arduously pursuing the acquisition of knowledge and warns him about the pain this might cause. As a result, he begins to speak vaguely of his own experiences saying:

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.

With this, Shelley utilizes foreshadowing to hint to the readers about the agony that Victor experienced due to his zealous ambition with knowledge.

Additionally, Shelley utilizes the techniques of foreshadowing with the death of Justine. With this, Justine seems to realize that she will be convicted of the murder and already seems to accept her fate. As Justine herself states, "I commit my cause to the justice of my judges, yet I see no room for hope.” 

Lastly, Shelley also utilizes flashbacks to create suspense. After bring the creature to life, Victor abandons his creation. As the story progresses, we know little about what is happening to the creature until Victor and the creature finally converse and the creature reveals his previous experiences. With this, Shelley utilizes suspense in her novel by having readers question or wonder what happened to the creature during his time of absence from the novel.

Consequently, Shelley utilizes hints and suspense to incite the readers to be curious about future events. With these techniques, Shelley captivates and motivates her readers to continue reading due to their intrigue and interest.

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