How does structure affect the reader in Chapter 8 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

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hmartin17 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 8 of Frankenstein, Victor experiences extreme emotional lows. His mood changes from despair to suffering to weeping throughout the chapter, consistently descending deeper and deeper into sadness. The reader is allowed to experience these emotional changes with Victor, because Shelley uses descriptive language that involves the reader in the story. 

For example, in the first paragraph of the chapter, Victor laments the loss of Justine, and says that "a weight of despair and remorse pressed on [his] heart" (page 61). Several paragraphs later, Victor says he is now "free" and that a change of scenery was agreeable to him (62). But constantly reminded of the deaths he caused by his creation of the monster, Victor's sadness remains incurable. He says that he frequently "wept bitterly" and that the "wonderful and sublime" views did nothing to cheer him (62, 64). At one point Victor throws himself to the ground with "horror and despair" (65). Victor's intense emotional state affects the structure of the chapter as it is devoted almost in entirety to description of Victor's feelings. Readers are therefore allowed to suffer with Victor. 

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Frankenstein

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