In regards to Frankenstein, what are some common devices of defamiliarization (Shklovsky's)?I'm trying to position Frankenstein alongside a literary theorist and I chose Shklovsky and his notion of...

In regards to Frankenstein, what are some common devices of defamiliarization (Shklovsky's)?

I'm trying to position Frankenstein alongside a literary theorist and I chose Shklovsky and his notion of defamliarization. I'm having trouble with devices that defamiliarize... So far I have language as one and narrative as another. Any suggestions for others? They can be thematic or even effects of that defamiliarzation.

Asked on by hztutoring

1 Answer | Add Yours

amarang9's profile pic

amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

You listed narrative--which is the story itself and its structure. I don’t know if you meant narrator or narration; but this would be great in applying defamiliarization to Frankenstein because the narrator, the monster, is actually looking at a world that is unfamiliar to him. Therefore, as he describes and experiences things, both he and the reader are undergoing defamiliarization. Defamiliarization is making the familiar unfamiliar; so, through the monster’s eyes, the world will be very different. Defamiliarization is the act of slowing down perception and then perhaps changing the way we perceive things in reality.

I am not that “familiar” (ha ha) with Shlovsky other than his contention that poetic speech defamiliarizes because it is different from everyday speech; so, you’ve probably already considered this, the monster’s speech may be a defamiliarizing device; his narration as well.

I just found this: Shlovsky used an example from Tolstoy’s “Kohlstomer,” a story narrated by a horse to show how the narration itself is the defamiliarizing technique. This could go hand in hand with an analysis of Frankenstein where the horse is humanized (anthropomorphism) and the monster is both humanized and dehumanized; the latter (dehumanization) part of defamiliarization; causing us to rethink or notion/perception of “humanness.” You might also want to focus on more specifics like the Monster's descriptions of nature; which are familiar and which are unfamiliar.

We’ve answered 318,976 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question