Who is narrating at the beginning of Frankenstein and what is he doing?
The narrative structure of this novel is actually very fascinating. We are told the main story--that of Frankenstein and his creation, through the use of a framing narrative. The person who starts the story is named Walton, and he, when he begins the novel, is hoping to be the first man to find a passage through the North Pole. Note what he tells his sister in the opening letter about how this has been a dream of his since childhood:
This expedition has been the favourite dream of my early years. I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyages which have been made in the prospect of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole.
It is important to note the way that both Frankenstein and Walton parallel each other as characters. Both commit themselves to some, as they see it, heroic endeavour, that will push back the boundaries of the world as it is known to man. The only difference is that Walton has not achieved success yet, whereas Frankenstein has.