What are 5-7 literary devices in Frankenstein, Chapter 2?Analyze why Shelley might have used them and what effect it has upon the reader.

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1. Consonance: Consonance refers to any kind of sound similarity among a set of words. In the following lines, we can trace a multitude of "s" sounds, some at the beginnings of words, some at ends. The line describes Elizabeth: "Her sympathy was ours; her smile, her soft voice, the sweet glance of her celestial eyes, were ever there to bless and animate us. She was the living spirit of love to soften and attract; I might have become sullen in my study . . . but that she was there to subdue me to a semblance of her own gentleness." Elizabeth is described as gentle, even as a "spirit" and the soft repetition of the sibilant "s" seems to translate, into sound, her almost ethereal being.

2. Simile: Victor compares the "birth of that passion which afterward ruled [his] destiny" to being "like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources; but, swelling as it proceeded, it became the torrent which, in its course, has swept away all [his] hopes and joys." Here, Victor's simile makes it seem as though he is carried along, powerlessly, by some force outside of and greater than himself. In reality, he had the power to stop his pursuit of this passion; it ruled him because he allowed it to. This is one way in which Victor's language shields his own responsibility in the creation of this monster.

3. Allusion: Victor describes the powers of ancient scientists as "chimerical" when compared to the more realistic promises made by modern science. The word chimerical is, itself, an allusion to the Chimera of Greek mythology. This fantastical creature was part lion, part goat, and part snake, and it was slain by the hero, Bellerophon. Such a creature is now understood to be purely fictional, just as Victor came to understand that the promises made by people like Cornelius Agrippa were just as unlikely to be true.

4. Personification: Victor personifies Nature when he says that "her immortal lineaments were still a wonder and a mystery." Some readers choose to analyze the text's lack of major female characters as well as the fact that Victor usurps the ability to create life, an ability usually connected with women. Perhaps his personification of nature as a woman plays a role in this usurpation. Even his word choice in the description of "men who had penetrated deeper" into nature than he had seems to lend itself to a feminist analysis.

5. Metaphor: Victor also compares nature to a "citadel." It is as though nature is a fortress whose walls he must breach before he can discover "her" secrets.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mary Shelley uses many different literary devices in her novel Frankenstein. The following are textual examples of the literary terms are descriptions of their use and effect on the reader.

1. "Harmony was the soul of our companionship." Metaphor usage- Here, Shelley compares the relationship between Victor and Elizabeth to one of harmony. A reader knows what something is when it harmonious. Therefore, one is able to understand the level of love between Victor and Elizabeth based upon the comparison to harmony.

2. "The silence of winter."- Personification usage- Here, winter is personified by being allotted the ability to be silent. Some my look at this as a descriptive trait (how winter is quiet), but one could just as easily look at the silence of winter as describing a trait in regards to make a choice to be silent.Here, a reader can relate to how winter sounds and contemplate the idea of silence.

3. "Satisfied spirit."- Personification usage- A spirit, one which inhabits a person (not one which exists supernaturally), is given the ability to be satisfied. This allows the reader to see how at ease Victor is with Elizabeth. This illustrates the complete ease at which Elizabeth lives.

4. "Satisfied spirit"- Alliteration usage. Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound within a line. Here, the use of the repetitious "s" provides a sense of ease and calm for the reader. Again, Shelley is simply wanting the reader to see the importance of Elizabeth to Victor.

5. "Saintly soul of Elizabeth shone like a shrine."- Alliteration usage. Again, the use of alliteration shows the feelings of love Victor has for Elizabeth. It allows the reader to feel the softness of the emotions depicted by usage of the soft "s."

6. "Misfortune had tainted my mind."- Personification usage. Here, misfortune is personified. It allows the reader to see the effect which misfortune has over Victor. It also foreshadows an eminent tainting of Victor's mind.


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