Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

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Why is the novel Frankenstein initially set aboard a ship?

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Frankenstein stands as a relatively early novel, that literary form only beginning in the mid-1700's.  The very first work of this "new form" (from which the Latin term "novel" comes) is considered to be Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, written by Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) and published during the 1740's. The work is comprised of a series of letters which embody the narrative.  Most novels from that time forward were modelled after this structure; this makes sense in an era where literary people (meaning those who could read) were used to corresponding with each other through the mail.  For them, reading a novel would be the experience of coming across someone's private correspondence. By 1818, when

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One of the most desolate places on earth are the polar regions.  Victor Frankenstein created a creature that was rejected and isolated from people due to his appearance.  In the book "Frankenstein" the creature had the desire to be wanted by people.  He needed the social interaction of others.  Instead of getting it, people looked at him and became terrified.  He was rejected by everyone including his creator.

The creature is a victim of his isolation and later his revenge.  He commits violent crimes against people.  In order to isolate himself from the cruelty of the human world he goes to the far reaches of earth.  Victor knows he must destroy the creature.  Victor travels by ship to the isolated place that can only be reached by ship and later by dog sled.  The setting is necessary for the reader to get an understanding of the level of isolation that the creature lives within.