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When looking at the Romantic aspects of Shelley's novel Frankenstein, one must be sure to be able to identify the characteristics of the British Romantic period (1798-1832). While some of the characteristics carried over to the American Romantic period (1800-1860), the British Romantics were novel (introduced) with their ideas and general characteristics. British Romantics highly influenced the American Romantics.
Typical characteristics of the British Romantics were:
1. Imagination consisted of the idea's formed in an individual's mind. Imagination was not influenced by Enlightenment thought.
2. The British Romantics embedded Gothic elements in their texts. These elements tended to be riddled with terror and horror.
3. Nature offered the peace desired by mankind which man-made things could not supply.
4. Mankind desired personal freedom.
5. Man's natural goodness is highlight or brought to light in the British Romantic texts.
Therefore, examples in chapters 4 and 6 of Frankenstein which embody British Romantic thought are as follows:
1. In M. Waldman I found a true friend. His gentleness was never tinged by dogmatism; and his instructions were given with an air of frankness and good nature that banished every idea of pedantry. (Victor-Chapter 4)
This quote speaks to the nature of man. The nature of man is not created by man; instead, it is simply natural to be a certain way. Nature makes mankind like this.
2. I revolved these circumstances in my mind, and determined thence forth to apply myself more particularly to those branches of natural philosophy which relate to physiology. (Victor-Chapter 4)
This quote shows the importance of the individual's mind. Nothing will keep Victor from succeeding at his task.
3. One secret which I alone possessed was the hope to which I had dedicated myself; and the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places. Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay? (Victor-Chapter 4)
Here, one can see nature's influence over Victor and his challenge. Only creating life will allow Victor to be satisfied.
4. Get well--and return to us. You will find a happy, cheerful home, and friends who love you dearly. (Elizabeth- Chapter 6)
This quote exhibits Elizabeth's natural goodness.
5. A selfish pursuit had cramped and narrowed me, until your gentleness and affection warmed and opened my senses; I became the same happy creature who, a few years ago, loved and beloved by all, had no sorrow or care. (Victor- Chapter 6)
This quote examples Clerval's natural goodness.
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