Frankenstein Literary Terms Flashcard Example #18216

Foreshadowing: the presentation of material in such a way that the reader is prepared for what is to come later in the work
Page 165, Chapter 23
“The wind, which had fallen in the south, now rose with great violence in the west. The moon had reached her summit in the heavens and was beginning to descend; the clouds swept across it swifter than the flight of the vulture and dimmed her rays, while the lake reflected the scene of the busy heavens, rendered still busier by the restless waves that were beginning to rise. Suddenly a heavy storm of rain descended.”
Throughout reading the book, I have realized that the moon appears every single time the creature is about to show up. I believe that it is quite significant because the moon is a symbol of darkness, as is the creature.
Frame Story: a lengthy flashback comprising more than half of the text, a frame story is the portion outside the flashback
Page 17, Letter 3
“I write a few lines in haste to say that I am safe—and well advanced on my voyage. This letter will reach England by a merchantman now on its homeward voyage from Archangel; more fortunate than I, who may not see my native land, perhaps, for many years. I am, however, in good spirits: my men are bold and apparently firm of purpose, nor do the floating sheets of ice that continually pass us, indicating the dangers of the region towards which we are advancing, appear to dismay them. We have already reached a very high latitude; but it is the height of summer, and although not so warm as in England, the southern gales, which blow us speedily towards those shores which I so ardently desire to attain, breathe a degree of renovating warmth which I had not expected.”
It is quite crucial to realize that the voyages taken by the sea captain and his crew serve as a viable frame story for this novel.
Allusion: a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize
Page 83, Chapter 10
“Devil,” I exclaimed, “do you dare approach me? And do not you fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head? Begone, vile insect! Or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust! And, oh! That I could, with the extinction of your miserable existence, restore those victims whom you have so diabolically murdered!”
This is an allusion because Mary Shelley is referencing ‘Paradise Lost’. This novel focuses on Satan, the devil, to which the creature is referred to.
Personification: representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature
Page 83, Chapter 10
“Devil,” I exclaimed, “do you dare approach me? And do not you fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head? Begone, vile insect! Or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust! And, oh! That I could, with the extinction of your miserable existence, restore those victims whom you have so diabolically murdered!”
This is personification because Mary Shelley is using dead body parts to symbolize fear and misfortune. She realizes that dead entities are generally associated with wrongness, when they should in fact be associated better.
Symbol: something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible
Page 165, Chapter 23
“The wind, which had fallen in the south, now rose with great violence in the west. The moon had reached her summit in the heavens and was beginning to descend; the clouds swept across it swifter than the flight of the vulture and dimmed her rays, while the lake reflected the scene of the busy heavens, rendered still busier by the restless waves that were beginning to rise. Suddenly a heavy storm of rain descended.”
As mentioned before, the moon appears every time the creature is about to appear. It is quite crucial to realize that perhaps the moon represents darkness, as does the creature.
Simile: a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with ‘like’ or ‘as’)
Page 44, Chapter 4
“No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success…”
Using “like”, Mary Shelley manages to compare two aspects in order to illustrate her point. Shelley manages to relate monotonously motivating feelings to a hurricane, which is also quite persistent.
Metaphor: a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
Page 44, Chapter 4
“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source”
Without using “like” or “as”, Mary Shelley manages to suggest that life and death are essentially ideal bounds. She elaborates and says that birth is something to break through, and death is often associated with darkness…etc.
Personification: A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes
Page 44, Chapter 4
“…dedicated myself; and the moon gazed…”
The aspect of the moon gazing truly represents personification because it is virtually impossible for the inanimate object of the moon to do so, so Mary Shelley gave the moon human-like attributes.
Form: the shape or structure of a literary work.
Page 82, Chapter 10
“We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wand’ring thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free.
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but mutability!”
This quote is quite lyrical due to the way it is organized in the book and the way it has rhymes. Based on the structure of this excerpt, one can conclude that it is quite lyrical because of the fact that it is able to be sung, therefore complies with the various rhyme schemes, imagery, enhanced diction, etc.
Simile: a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with ‘like’ or ‘as’)
Page 102, Chapter 13
“‘Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind when it has once seized on it like a lichen on the rock. I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling..'”
This provides to be a quite viable simile because of the fact that it compares the ability to grasp knowledge to a lichen grasping onto a rock.
Hyperbole: a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor
Page 126, Chapter 17
“A fiendish rage animated him as he said this; his face was wrinkled into contortions too horrible for human eyes to behold; but presently he calmed himself and proceeded—”
This excerpt truly helps to exemplify the overly-sarcastic tone that Mary Shelley develops. The description of the contortions help to provide for the bitterly sarcastic tone/mood.
Imagery: The use of language to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person, thing, place, or experience
Page 163, Chapter 22
“The wind, which had hitherto carried us along with amazing rapidity, sank at sunset to a light breeze; the soft air just ruffled the water and caused a pleasant motion among the trees as we approached the shore, from which it wafted the most delightful scent of flowers and hay. The sun sank beneath the horizon as we landed, and as I touched the shore I felt those cares and fears revive which soon were to clasp me and cling to me forever. “
This scene helps to exemplify much imagery, therefore using the tone of imagination. The descriptive words such as rapidity, ruffled, wafted, etc. help to further support the scene being created. Overall, the imagery provided is quite beneficial when creating a scene full of imaginary entities.
Monologue: a long utterance by one person (especially one that prevents others from participating in the conversation)
Page 83, Chapter 10
“I expected this reception,” said the daemon. “All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends.”
This monologue, presented by the creature helps the reader to fully evaluate his thoughts towards his situation. This provides to be quite beneficial because we as readers cannot get into his head, so we must analyze and read closely to the things he says to realize his state of mind.
Mood: the feeling created in the reader by a literary work or passage
Page 126, Chapter 17
“A fiendish rage animated him as he said this; his face was wrinkled into contortions too horrible for human eyes to behold; but presently he calmed himself and proceeded—”
This excerpt truly helps to exemplify the overly-sarcastic tone that Mary Shelley develops. The description of the contortions help to provide for the bitterly sarcastic tone/mood.
Narrator: the person telling the story. A narrator can be in 1st , 2nd, or 3rd Person
Page 84, Chapter 10
“‘Begone! I will not hear you. There can be no community between you and me; we are enemies. Begone, or let us try our strength in a fight, in which one must fall.'”
Personally, I feel as though this excerpt illustrates a slightly contemptuous banter, especially when the speaker illustrates that they will not speak…quite ridicule.
Sarcasm: a comic technique that ridicules through caustic language. Tone and attitude may both be described as sarcastic in a given text if the writer employs language, irony, and wit to mock or scorn.
Page 150, Chapter 21
“I feel yet parched with horror, nor can I reflect on that terrible moment without shuddering and agony. The examination, the presence of the magistrate and witnesses, passed like a dream from my memory when I saw the lifeless form of Henry Clerval stretched before me.”
This quote is quite sarcastic and overwhelming because of the fact that it uses a feeling that is usually associated with thirst and applies it to the incredibly significant feeling of horror.
Sentence Structure: when an essay question asks you to analyze sentence structure, look at the type of sentences the author uses. Remember that the basic sentence structures are simple, compound, and complex, and variations created with sentence combining. Also consider variation or lack of it in sentence length, any unusual devices in sentence construction, such as repetition or inverted word order, and any unusual word or phrase placement. As with all devices, be prepared to discuss the effect of the sentence structure. For example, a series of short, simple sentences or phrases can produce a feeling of speed and choppiness, which may suit the author’s purpose.
Page 127, Chapter 17
“I paused some time to reflect on all he had related and the various arguments which he had employed. I thought of the promise of virtues which he had displayed on the opening of his existence and the subsequent blight of all kindly feeling by the loathing and scorn which his protectors had manifested towards him. His power and threats were not omitted in my calculations; a creature who could exist in the ice caves of the glaciers and hide himself from pursuit among the ridges of inaccessible precipices was a being possessing faculties it would be vain to cope with. After a long pause of reflection I concluded that the justice due both to him and my fellow creatures demanded of me that I should comply with his request…”
If you analyze this writing, you will see that this character nearly disagreed with his arguments and power, which would have resulted in the charging of wrong doing, because the character did see these events as wrong, but because he agreed with them defeated the purpose of the usage of this term. I feel as though one may not be able to analyze this passage as thoroughly if it were not structured as well as it is.
Setting: arrangement of scenery and properties to represent the place where a play or movie is enacted
Page 9, Letter 1
“I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight…”
From the first few pages of this novel, we can gather many facts. It is quite significant that this setting is in Europe because of the events that will occur and due to the time frame. It is quite beneficial to know the setting…for it tells us much about the story with only a few words.
Slang: common, casual, conversational language that is inappropriate in forma speaking or writing. Slang often serves to define social groups by virtue of being a private, shared language not understood by outsiders. Slang changes constantly and is therefore always dated. For that reason alone, it is wise to avoid using slang in serious writing.
Page 147, Chapter 20
“‘Ay, sir, free enough for honest folks. Mr. Kirwin is a magistrate, and you are to give an account of the death of a gentleman who was found murdered here last night.'”
The slang word “Ay” is often used during the last few centuries (and is still used) in European states. This word is used to represent the word “yes”.
Syntax: the grammatical structure of prose and poetry.
Page 82, Chapter 10
“We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wand’ring thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free.
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but mutability!”
Based on the structure of this excerpt, one can conclude that it is quite lyrical because of the fact that it is able to be sung, therefore complies with the various rhyme schemes, imagery, enhanced diction, etc. The diction, or syntax is quite important to a lyrical piece because of the fact that it is theoretically the scaffolding, the initial structure of the poetry that makes the rhymes and rhythms.
Tone: the author’s attitude toward his subject.
Page 73, Chapter 8
“Thus spoke my prophetic soul, as, torn by remorse, horror, and despair, I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts.”
This quote exemplifies a quite dark and gloomy tone due to the words that obtain negative connotations such as remorse, horror, despair, vain, sorrow, graves, hapless, unhallowed, etc. These mentioned words are quite significant to the tone because they, in themselves, provide for a gloomy choice of diction.
Voice: can refer to two different areas of writing. One refers to the relationship between a sentence’s subject and verb (active voice and passive voice). The second refers to the total “sound” of a writer’s style.
Page 49, Chapter 5
“Nothing could equal my delight on seeing Clerval; his presence brought back to my thoughts my father, Elizabeth, and all those scenes of home so dear to my recollection. I grasped his hand, and in a moment forgot my horror and misfortune; I felt suddenly, and for the first time during many months, calm and serene joy. I welcomed my friend, therefore, in the most cordial manner, and we walked towards my college.”
I imagine that the voice of this passage is quite joyous due to the remembrance of memories and the sight of recently unseen friends. It is quite clear that the speaker is quite enthusiastic about this because of the positively connotative words like delight, dear, and when he forgets his horror and misfortune.
Unity: is a oneness in which all of the individual parts of a piece of writing work together to form a cohesive and complete whole. It is best achieved by having a clearly sated purpose and thesis against which every sentence and paragraph can be tested for relevance.
Page 75, Chapter 9
“Nothing is more painful to the human mind than, after the feelings have been worked up by a quick succession of events, the dead calmness of inaction and certainty which follows and deprives the soul both of hope and fear.”
The way that this passage is structured truly exemplifies the unity. It is quite crucial to analyze the diction and the way the words are arranged to create this unity. This passage exemplifies unity because of its lengthy analysis of feelings and the effects on the soul.
Understatement: the opposite of hyperbole; it is a deliberate minimizing done to provide emphasis or humor. In William Least Heat Moon’s “Nameless, Tennessee” (p. 164), Miss Ginny Watts explains how she asked her husband to call the doctor unless he wanted to be “shut of” (rid of) her. Her husband, Thurmond, humorously uses understatement in his reply: “I studied on it.”
September 12, Chapter 24
“Great God! what a scene has just taken place! I am yet dizzy with the remembrance of it. I hardly know whether I shall have the power to detail it; yet the tale which I have recorded would be incomplete without this final and wonderful catastrophe.”
Although the word catastrophe is already associated with a negative connotation, I believe that catastrophe is an understatement for all of the chaos the creature created. Perhaps a darker, more dramatic word should be used to exemplify the impact that the creature shall leave.
Topic Sentence: a single sentence in a paragraph that contains a statement of subject or thesis. The topic sentence is to the paragraph what the thesis statement is to an essay.
Back of the Book
“Originally written as a response to a challenge from Lord Byron‚ Frankenstein still haunts our minds with images of the dead brought back to hideous life. Mary Shelley’s nineteenth-century masterpiece begins with a fateful rescue in the Arctic and slowly evolves into a gripping story of horror—a contest of wills between Victor Frankenstein and the monster he creates. Wandering through Europe‚ the confused creature searches for a father figure in the tortured scientist who stitched him together with body parts stolen from the grave. Themes of revenge‚ the philosophical limits of science‚ and forbidden knowledge are deeply explored in the greatest Gothic novel ever written.”
It is quite evident that this topic sentence truly evaluates the entire plot and most crucial key events in the story.
Theme: the underlying ideas the author illustrates through characterization, motifs, language, plot, etc.
Page 83, Chapter 10
“Devil,” I exclaimed, “do you dare approach me? And do not you fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head? Begone, vile insect! Or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust! And, oh! That I could, with the extinction of your miserable existence, restore those victims whom you have so diabolically murdered!”
As the monster is seen as the devil, it is important to evaluate that the devil is dead, as the monster is supposed to be. It is quite crucial to realize that in society, one should not alter the cycle of life and death because what is dead shall be left dead and what is living shall live. It just makes sense that the monster is composed of dead parts, because he is also essentially dead to society…as he should be dead.
Transition: a word or phrase that links one idea to the next and carries the reader from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph.
Page 85, Chapter 10
“But I consented to listen, and seating myself by the fire which my odious companion had lighted, he thus began his tale.”
This is a perfect example of a transition! The beginning of chapter 11 is the tale that the character prepares to begin at the end of chapter 10.
Symbol: something in a literary work that stands for something else. (Plato has the light of the sun symbolize truth in “The Allegory of the Cave.”)
Page 50, Chapter 5
“Vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fire…”
The way the lake is portrayed mimics the tone of the story. For example, the lake is peaceful when Victor is a juvenile, but when Victor is stressed, aging, and knowledgeably inclined after hearing of William’s murder and is returning home in chapter 7, nature reflects his mood.
Character Voice: helps you inhabit who they are; match physical to the verbal; dialogue reveals character traits
Page 179, Chapter 24
“They entered, and their leader addressed me. He told me that he and his companions had been chosen by the other sailors to come in deputation to me to make me a requisition which, in justice, I could not refuse.”
It is quite crucial to realize that the leader’s ability to gain the other character’s attention alters his position and superiority drastically.
Syllogism: the format of a formal argument that consists of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.
Page 83, Chapter 10
“‘Devil,’ I exclaimed, ‘do you dare approach me? And do not you fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head? Begone, vile insect! Or rather, stay, that I may trample you to dust! And, oh! That I could, with the extinction of your miserable existence, restore those victims whom you have so diabolically murdered!'”
Theoretically, I see this entire book as a syllogism because of the fact that Victor and the creature begin with a rough patch, but it never entirely fixes. The above quote is just a prime example of their bickering and how Victor refers to his own creation as the devil. Perhaps this just goes to show how much respect Victor loses from himself because he realizes the dangerous things that he is able to do with his knowledge.
Subject: what a piece of writing is about.
Page 127, Chapter 17
“His words had a strange effect upon me. I compassionated him and sometimes felt a wish to console him, but when I looked upon him, when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart sickened and my feelings were altered to those of horror and hatred. I tried to stifle these sensations; I thought that as I could not sympathize with him, I had no right to withhold from him the small portion of happiness which was yet in my power to bestow.”
This quote goes to show what this piece is exactly about. By using the quite dark words of horror and hatred, the relationship between the main characters Victor and the creature is established. It is quite crucial to realize that the overall relationship between the main characters helps to set the mood/tone/atmosphere for the entire work.
Stanza: a unit of a poem, similar in rhyme, meter, and length to other units in the poem.
Page 82, Chapter 10
“We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wand’ring thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free.
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but mutability!”
This quote is quite structural due to the way it is organized in the book and the way it has rhymes. Based on the structure of this excerpt, one can conclude that it is quite beneficial to the work due to its organization in the stanza.
Slang: common, casual, conversational language that is inappropriate in forma speaking or writing. Slang often serves to define social groups by virtue of being a private, shared language not understood by outsiders. Slang changes constantly and is therefore always dated. For that reason alone, it is wise to avoid using slang in serious writing.
Page 132, Chapter 18
“‘Alas, how great was the contrast between us! He was alive to every new scene, joyful when he saw the beauties of the setting sun, and more happy when he beheld it rise and recommence a new day. He pointed out to me the shifting colours of the landscape and the appearances of the sky. “This is what it is to live,” he cried; “how I enjoy existence! But you, my dear Frankenstein, wherefore are you desponding and sorrowful!” In truth, I was occupied by gloomy thoughts and neither saw the descent of the evening star nor the golden sunrise reflected in the Rhine. And you, my friend, would be far more amused with the journal of Clerval, who observed the scenery with an eye of feeling and delight, than in listening to my reflections. I, a miserable wretch, haunted by a curse that shut up every avenue to enjoyment.'”
As stated in this excerpt, “Alas” is a common slang word that was commonly used many centuries ago (and is still used today) in Europe. “Alas” can be used to establish a sign of pity or concern.
Sentence Structure: when an essay question asks you to analyze sentence structure, look at the type of sentences the author uses. Remember that the basic sentence structures are simple, compound, and complex, and variations created with sentence combining. Also consider variation or lack of it in sentence length, any unusual devices in sentence construction, such as repetition or inverted word order, and any unusual word or phrase placement.
Page 129, Chapter 18
“Day after day, week after week, passed away on my return to Geneva; and I could not collect the courage to recommence my work.”
When I read this sentence, I realized that the structure of the sentence was used to display the lengthy trip to Geneva. I realized that the commas served as the obstacles along the road the ultimately slowed the path down in order to further help display all feelings of impatience to arrive at the destination.
Sarcasm: a comic technique that ridicules through caustic language. Tone and attitude may both be described as sarcastic in a given text if the writer employs language, irony, and wit to mock or scorn.
Page 150, Chapter 21
“I feel yet parched with horror, nor can I reflect on that terrible moment without shuddering and agony. The examination, the presence of the magistrate and witnesses, passed like a dream from my memory when I saw the lifeless form of Henry Clerval stretched before me.”
This quote is quite sarcastic and overwhelming because of the fact that it uses a feeling that is usually associated with thirst and applies it to the incredibly significant feeling of horror.
Repetition: the duplication, either exact or approximate, of any element of language, such as a sound, word, phrase, clause, sentence, or grammatical pattern. When repetition is poorly done, it bores, but when it’s well done, it links and emphasizes ideas while allowing the reader the comfort of recognizing something familiar.
Page 130, Chapter 18
“‘My dear father, reassure yourself. I love my cousin tenderly and sincerely. I never saw any woman who excited, as Elizabeth does, my warmest admiration and affection. My future hopes and prospects are entirely bound up in the expectation of our union.'”
Victor Frankenstein’s repetition of the word “union” instead of the word “marriage” brings up the realization that perhaps he is only marrying her because his mother ordered him to do so, hence referring to it similarly to the organization of a state. Throughout the many novels and works we have read throughout this year, we have realized that marriage is not about what it should be. Marriage should be about a loving and caring relationship, but instead it is seen as a gateway for two families to connect, riches to be shared, and the improper interpretation of the word “love”.
Purpose: involves intent, the reason why a writer writes. Three purposes are fundamental: to entertain, to inform, or to persuade. These are not necessarily separate or discrete; they can be combined. An effective piece of writing has a well-defined purpose.
Page 39, Chapter 3
“I closed not my eyes that night. My internal being was in a state of insurrection and turmoil; I felt that order would thence arise, but I had no power to produce it. By degrees, after the morning’s dawn, sleep came. I awoke, and my yesternight’s thoughts were as a dream. There only remained a resolution to return to my ancient studies and to devote myself to a science for which I believed myself to possess a natural talent.”
This is perhaps one of the most crucial quotes of the novel because Victor is exemplifying to the readers his purpose and the overall construction of a new character and the conflict of the novel. Victor Frankenstein wishes to acquire so much knowledge, but the conflict is that he must find something to do with it all, which is why he creates the creature…in order to exemplify that he does in fact believe in himself and has faith, even when his professor does not wish for Victor to do so in the creation of life (and alteration of the death-life cycle).
Pun: a play on words that often has a comic effect. Associated with wit and cleverness. A writer who speaks of the “grave topic of American funerals” maybe be employing an intentional or unintentional pun.
Page 41, Chapter 4
“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.”
This excerpt is known for its pun. The punniness of this is that Mary Shelley describes the setting as having an “air of frankness”….hence Victor FRANKenstein being present.
Premise: in logic is a proposition: a statement of a truth-that is used to support or help support a conclusion.
Page 149, Chapter 21
“The first part of this deposition did not in the least interest me, but when the mark of the fingers was mentioned I remembered the murder of my brother and felt myself extremely agitated; my limbs trembled, and a mist came over my eyes, which obliged me to lean on a chair for support.”
It is quite crucial to realize that the speaker’s memories are helpful in order to support a conclusion. It is important to realize that the character’s further interest of the desposition helps to illustrate the helpfulness when it comes to the conclusion. Remembrances can also be an aid to foreshadow events that will happen or to serve as flashbacks to the past.
Point-of-View: the perspective from which a story is told
Found variously throughout the novel. Can be evaluated by the use of “I” and the involvement in dialogue.
The point of view changes from Robert Walton to Frankenstein to the creature, then from Elizabeth Lavenza to Alphonse Frankenstein.
Person: a grammatical term used to refer to a speaker, the individual being addressed, or an individual being referred to. English has three persons: first (I or we), second (you), and third (he, she, it, or they).
Page 23, Letter 4 (Robert Walton)
“Yesterday the stranger said to me, ‘You may easily perceive, Captain Walton that I have…..'”
This writing is very important to help the reader realize who the narrator/the one writing in the diary is. When Mary Shelley includes “me….Captain Walton,” the reader can immediately determine who the speaker is (for these letters).
Oxymoron: a figure of speech consisting of two apparently contradictory terms
Page 71, Chapter 8
“During this conversation I had retired to a corner of the prison room, where I could conceal the horrid anguish that possessed me. Despair! Who dared talk of that? The poor victim, who on the morrow was to pass the awful boundary between life and death, felt not, as I did, such deep and bitter agony. I gnashed my teeth and ground them together, uttering a groan that came from my inmost soul. Justine started. When she saw who it was, she approached me and said, ‘Dear sir, you are very kind to visit me; you, I hope, do not believe that I am guilty?'”
It is quite crucial to realize that there are not two different words in this example. The reason why I chose this excerpt is because of the difference between awful in the 1800s and the meaning of awful nowadays. It is important to notice that these definitions are complete opposites now. In the 1800s, awful meant majestic and did not have a quite developed negative connotation yet. Nowadays, the word awful is one of the worst words when it comes to bad connotation.
Mood: this term has two distinct technical meanings in English writing. The first meaning is grammatical and deals with verbal units and a speaker’s attitude. The indicative mood is used for only factual sentences. For example, “Joe eats too quickly.” The subjunctive mood is used for a doubtful or conditional attitude. For example, “If I were you, I’d get another job.” The imperative mood is used for commands. For example, “Shut the door!” the second meaning of mood is literary, meaning the prevailing atmosphere or emotional aura of a work. Setting, tone, and events can affect the mood. In this usage, mood is similar to tone and atmosphere.
Page 136, Chapter 19
“We quitted London on the 27th of March and remained a few days at Windsor, rambling in its beautiful forest. This was a new scene to us mountaineers; the majestic oaks, the quantity of game, and the herds of stately deer were all novelties to us.”
It is quite crucial to realize that the words with positive connotations such as beautiful, majestic, novelties, etc. help to better illustrate the setting and reinforce the mood and tone. The mood in this particular example is quite positive and beautiful due to the positivity of the words used.
Metanoia: qualifies a statement by recalling it (or part of it) and expressing it in a better, milder, or stronger way.
Page 5, Letter 2
“He is madly desirous of glory, or rather, to word my phrase more characteristically, of advancement in his profession”.
Robert is writing to his sister about an honorable guy who he feels may be a good candidate to be his friend. This is an example of metanoia because Shelley clarifies the idea that it is not “glory” that his lieutenant is seeking just “advancement” which is considered more honorable and less self serving.
Logic: the process of reasoning
Page 136, Chapter 19
“From thence we proceeded to Oxford. As we entered this city our minds were filled with the remembrance of the events that had been transacted there more than a century and a half before.”
This excerpt is used in order to portray the characters’ reflections of the events that occurred centuries ago on the way to Oxford. It is quite important to realize that perhaps the remembrance of these events is a type of foreshadowing; for everything in the past does impact the present and the future to come. This passage may also help the reader recall some historical events that they know of that occurred in Oxford.
Irony: incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs
Example: Elizabeth is there for Victor after he makes the creature, but is not there to save him when he goes completely insane at the end of the novel and ends up dying. The reason why there is not a quote for this is because of the fact that there is not a specific entity that I wish to highlight…just the mere key point.
Homily: this term literally means “sermon,” but more informally, it can include any serious talk, speech, or lecture involving moral or spiritual advice.
Page 123, Page 16
“‘For some days I haunted the spot where these scenes had taken place, sometimes wishing to see you, sometimes resolved to quit the world and its miseries forever. At length I wandered towards these mountains, and have ranged through their immense recesses, consumed by a burning passion which you alone can gratify. We may not part until you have promised to comply with my requisition. I am alone and miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must be of the same species and have the same defects. This being you must create.'”
This quote is extremely crucial to the overall theme of the novel. It is crucial to realize the creature’s conflicts during this time. It is especially important to realize that because he is not even supposed to be living, he is also theoretically dead to his society also. In this “homily,” the creature manages to illustrate that he is a reject to society, a quite serious topic that describes his role in life.
Exposition: background information presented in a literary work.
Page 139, Chapter 19
“I thought of Switzerland; it was far different from this desolate and appalling landscape. Its hills are covered with vines, and its cottages are scattered thickly in the plains. Its fair lakes reflect a blue and gentle sky, and when troubled by the winds, their tumult is but as the play of a lively infant when compared to the roarings of the giant ocean.”
Perhaps it is quite crucial to know more than the key setting in a literary work. It is important to realize why a land is structured the way it is and what factors may arise due to the land formations or previous events that occurred on the land.
Exemplum: citing an example; using an illustrative story, either true or fictitious.
Page 139, Chapter 19
“In this manner I distributed my occupations when I first arrived, but as I proceeded in my labour, it became every day more horrible and irksome to me. Sometimes I could not prevail on myself to enter my laboratory for several days, and at other times I toiled day and night in order to complete my work. It was, indeed, a filthy process in which I was engaged. During my first experiment, a kind of enthusiastic frenzy had blinded me to the horror of my employment; my mind was intently fixed on the consummation of my labour, and my eyes were shut to the horror of my proceedings. But now I went to it in cold blood, and my heart often sickened at the work of my hands.”
It provides to be quite beneficial that Mary Shelley includes that the character, Victor Frankenstein could not go to his lab for many days because it truly exemplifies his ability to make distance from his studies, something that probably would not have been possible if it were not for the conflict that occurred with the creature.
Euphemism: a more acceptable and usually more pleasant way of saying something that might be inappropriate or uncomfortable. “He went to his final reward” is a common euphemism for “he died.” Euphemisms are also often used to obscure the reality of a situation. The military uses “collateral damage” to indicate civilian deaths in a military operation.
Page 139, Chapter 19
“In this manner I distributed my occupations when I first arrived, but as I proceeded in my labour, it became every day more horrible and irksome to me…”
This is just a more sophisticated way of saying “Because of certain circumstances, I laid out my work when I got there, but I went to work, and it became harder and harder..” Perhaps the reason why Mary Shelley did this was to illustrate to the readers how knowledgeable Victor Frankenstein actually was…therefore she had to write in a knowledgeable manner to portray this.

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