What are some literary devices in chapter 7 and Chapter 15 of Frankenstein?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A tour de force for Mary Shelley, the fictional masterpiece of Frankenstein demonstrates several literary devices in its narrative:

Chapter 7 

  • Epistolary style - At the beginning of the chapter, Victor's father writes to him of the death of his little brother William. In the letter, as in the letters of Walton to his sister, the character of Mr. Frankenstein is revealed.
  • The Role of Friendship - During the Romantic period, friendship between two men was perceived as the purest form of love since it was strictly a spiritual love. Later, Shelley describes the friendship between Elizabeth and Justine, one, too, that does not exactly fit traditional female relationships.
  • The Romantic sympathy with Nature - For the Romantics, Nature provided solace and beauty. Victor narrates,

I remained two days at Lausanne, in this painful state of mind. I contemplated the lake: the water were placid; all around was calm; and the snowy mountains, "the palaces of nature," were not changed. By degrees the calm and heavenly scene restored me....I wept like a child. "Dear mountains! my own beautiful lake! how do you welcome your wanderer?"

  • Foreshadowing - At the same time that Victor feels the restorative powers of Nature, night closes around him and he feel gloomier. "The picture appeared a vast and dim scene of evil." This remark foreshadows what, in retrospect, Victor terms, "the anguish I was destined to endure."
  • Figurative language - Throughout Shelley employs beautiful imagery in the passages about nature or when describing someone: 

While I watched the tempest, so beautiful yet terrific....This noble war in the sky [metaphor for the storm] elevated my spirits....

[Victor's creature] ...the living monument of presumption and rash [metaphor] ignorance which I had let loose upon the world"

  • Doppelganger - Victor and his creature are merely two sides of the same man as both engage in the Lockean theory that education determines a person's value in society. In Chapter 7, both are searching for their fathers.

Chapter 15

  • Epistolary style - While the creature does not write to Victor, he, nevertheless, tells of his life in a style in which he addresses Victor.
  • Biblical allusions - The narrative of what has become of the creature parallels Adam and sometimes Satan in John Milton's Paradise Lost. For instance, he tells Victor,

Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence....no Eve soothed my sorrows, nor shared [alliteration with /s/] my thoughts; I was alone.  I remembered Adam's supplication to his Creator. But where was mine?

Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors the bitter gall of envy [metaphor] rose within me.

  • Imagery (visual) -  [and alliteration] One day when the sun shone on the red leaves that strewed the ground,...
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