Provide at least 2 examples of literary devices used in Frankenstein in chapters 19 and 20.  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like many Romantic writers, Mary Shelley employs dramatic settings to convey the emotion of her narrative.  When Victor Frankenstein leaves his friend Henry Clerval to go to "a miserable hut" on a Scottish island, Shelley places her character is a remote, exotic setting, one which conveys the mood of his psychological isolation from humanity.  The island, with its scraggy vegetation and rocky ground, "beaten upon by waves" parallels the emotional pain and misery that Victor feels.  This barren island can well be symbolic of Victor who has deserted his friend Henry and abandoned William and Justine to fate without defending their names with the truth.

In addition, Shelley uses metaphors to convey the emotional state of Victor. For instance, he describes himself symbolically as "a blasted tree;" and continues metaphorically, "... the bolt has entered by soul."  This figurative language reminds the reader of the creation of the creature when the electricity of the storm gave him life.  Now, in contrast, Victor is emotionally dying as a "blight had come over [his] existence" (metaphor) and he feels isolated from the warmth of humanity.

an insurmountable barrier placed between me and my fellow-men; this barrier was sealed with the blood of William and Justine....

The use of symbolism and metaphor, as well as dramatic settings, serves Shelley well to demonstrate the terrible isolation and emotional disturbances of Victor Frankenstein.  She also employs the doppelganger effect with the creature becoming as isolated as Victor when Victor destroys the female creature, just as his friend Henry, too, has been destroyed by death.


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