Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, Comparison Quotes – Chapters 1 – 6 Flashcard Example #70320

“He bitterly deplored the false pride which led his friend to a conduct so little worthy of affection that united them” – Chp 1
Bitterly ironic considering the arrogance the reader can see in Walton that Victor has already confessed has been the ruin of his life and happiness.
“But Caroline Beaufort possessed a mind of an uncommon mould…She procured plain work” – Chp 1
Even for a female character who is communicated as of uncommon strength, all she can do is plain work that pales in comparison to the scientific and social feats the male characters in the novel are making. The role of women in the novel is reduced, by necessity of the patriarchy that pervades even minor aspects of the narrative.
“she knelt by Beaufort’s coffin weeping bitterly, when my father entered her chamber. He came like a protective spirit to the poor girl” – Chp 1
The image of women presented in the novel as weak and vulnerable, needing of a man’s protection and sheltering. The idealising of female sufferance, that woman are beautiful and enshrined as gothic images of poverty or pain.
“There was a show of gratitude and worship in his attachment to my mother” – Chp 1
Both novels explore male-female relationships that lack any semblance of equality. Here, the idea of patriarchy is turned on its head as the male reveres the female, but in this way she becomes a kind of heavenly being that is not fit for earthly existence, she is of an ‘other’ quality that is not fit for real life. This is also evidence for the strange familial relationships presented by Shelley, in accordance with Atwood’s.
“Everything was made to yield to her wishes and her convenience. He strove to shelter her” – Chp 1
Again, matriarchal content that gives way to a darker presentation of women as alienated and ‘other’ beings, that cannot protect or live for themselves.
“their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed upon them by heaven” – Chp 1
Shared presentation of the authors of children as a heavenly gift, given by God which is especially stressed by Gilead (contextual environment factors). This is heavily ironic considering Victor understand that a child (e.g. the creature) is helpless and innocent, that he will go on to reject and abandon his own.
“With this deep consciousness of what they owed towards that being to which they had given life, added to the active spirit of tenderness that animated both” – Chp 1
Super ironic because Victor’s creation, to which he bestows life, is abandoned by its only father or guiding figure.
“I was so guided by a silken cord that all seemed but on train of enjoyment to me” – Chp 1
Parental guidance, which here Shelley makes synonymous with happiness and the root of all a positive existence, also the silken cord harkens to a kind of umbilical cord which the creature lacks as any connection with his creator.
“Her hair was the brightest living gold, and, despite the poverty of her clothing, seemed to set a crown of distinction on her head” – Chp 1
Constant emphasis on appearance which shapes the fate of Shelley’s characters, the synonymising of women with heaven with “gold”. Also women as most beautiful in poverty or pain – Handmaid’s, “Blessed are the meek, blessed are the silent”
“my more than sister- the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures…pretty present…till death she was to be mine only” – Chp 1
Women are objects of the male occupation, to accompany their more profound endeavours. Parallels in Commander, ‘if I can’t have her no-one can’
“I was capable of a more intense application…thirst for knowledge…She busied herself with the following aerial creations of the poets” – Chp 2
Women are barred from knowledge in both novels, Shelley because of the societal frame that required that they were not academic, Atwood because Gilead sees educated women as dangerous.
“the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn…a longing to penetrate the secrets of nature…but what glory would attend the discovery” – Chp 2
Sexual language gives his academic pursuit a sexually violating nature to it. Idea he tries to usurp God as he pursues the secrets of not only earth but heaven as well. Symbolically, nature is FEMALE. Gilead does not seek to learn, but warp natural order, changing the way human nature is adhered to society, especially relationships. Emphasis on glory, even though he pretends to have entirely benevolent intentions – human nature.
“birth of passion, which afterwards ruled my destiny…has swept away all my hopes and joys” – Chp 2
The idea is academic fervour is out of his control, it is an external force.
“”dazzling light…nothing remained but a blasted stump…I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed.” – Chp 2
Symbolism of lightning, tree of life idea that foreshadows Victor’s destruction of nature and natural human order.
“Elizabeth, my love, you must supply my place to my younger children…Never was she so enchanting as at this time when she recalled the sunshine of her smiles and spent them upon us” – Chp 3
Weird family relationships, which here feed into a reading where Victor has a kind of Oedipus Complex presentation, Elizabeth taking the place of mother whose role is maintain domestic tranquility.
“Chance – or rather the evil influence, the Angel of Destruction, which asserted omnipotent sway over me…it decided my future destiny” – Chp 3
Victor consistently refuses to take responsibility for his actions, maintaining that it was his fate rather than genuine volition that drove the events of the plot. The Commander does take responsibility, but in a superficial kind of way where he does not truly understand, or care to, the real life of the regime.
“They penetrate into the recesses of nature, and show how she works in her hiding places. They ascend into heaven” – Chp 3
All men of science are presented as sexually violating a nature they have no claim on, also the idea of ascension can be seen to foreshadow this pursuit’s fatal consequences, as well as reiterating the idea that these men seek to sit in the place of God and claim a monopoly over creation, as the men of Gilead do.
“I will pioneer a new way” – Chp 3
The men of the novels are widely presented to feel that they have the power to reshape society or the natural order.
“I was surprised, that among so many men of genius…I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret” – Chp 4
Hubristic arrogance; the men of these novels that they alone are capable of effecting the change that they do, isolationist attitudes shared between the novels.
“After so much time spent in painful labour, to arrive at the summit of my desires was the most gratifying consummation of my toils…No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs” – Chp 4
A birth narrative – compare with Janine birth chapters, where the birth is actually real. Shelley is going to great lengths to present the Creature as not only Victor’s progeny, but his child.
“Learn from me…how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge…than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow” – Chp 4
Usurping God.
These interspersions are retrospective, there are a variety of lenses through which the reader is shown the narrative, as they are in Atwood’s work.
“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds…A new species would bless me as its creator…and owe me their being” – Chp 4
Behaving as God, in Biblical terms, whereas Gilead seeks to seize control of creation in terms of its frequency and approach not its biological method.
“I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay” – Chp 4
His endeavours make him inhuman and cold to all kinds of human emotion.
“my employment, loathsome in itself…swallowed up every habit of my nature…I shunned my fellow creatures” – Chp 4
His human connections are compromised, as they are Gilead – what makes us human?
“I beheld the wretch…he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks…one hand was stretched out” – Chp 5
The creature behaves as a newborn baby, stretching out a hand to seek physical connection with his father and creator, who in theory should guide him through early life.
“During all that time Henry was my only nurse” – Chp 5
Homoerotic undertones to their relationship as Henry essentially takes the role of a female in his domestic and nursing qualities.
“the instruments of life around me…Beautiful! – Great God!” – Chp 5
Inevitably, his hubristic attempt to create unnatural life out of dead matter has dire consequences and is far from beautiful.
“Elizabeth, in the bloom of health…but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips…I thought I held the corpse of my dead mother” – Chp 5
Karma from his actions, Oedipus Complex, Shelley’s linking of death and sex for her protagonist.
“Her ugly sister, Manon” – Chp 6
Emphasis on visual value, and the idea that female characters concern themselves with trivial pursuits of little social value.
“A selfish pursuit had cramped and narrowed me” – Chp 6
The presentation of both authors that these pursuits make us lesser people, they narrow our vision so we forget our empathy.

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