NARRATIVE STRUCTURE IN
FRANKENSTEIN
FRANKENSTEIN
 Frankenstein opens with letters from an
explorer, Robert Walton, to his sister.
 The Explorer is stuck on ...
LAYERS OF STORIES IN FRANKENSTEIN
Robert Walton’s
NarrativeVictor’s Story
Creature’s
Story
FRAME NARRATIVE
A fusion of two respected 18th
century genres
 epistolary novel, a traditionally
feminine genre
 explore...
FRAME NARRATIVE
Functions:
 provide a frame of verisimilitude to an
improbable tale
 It SEEMS more true
 It is VERY fam...
EPISTOLARY NOVEL
 A Novel written as a series of documents
 Letters
 Diary entries
 Newspaper clippings
 Blogs
 Emai...
EPISTOLARY NOVEL CONVENTIONS
 Reveal inner life: individual psychological
struggles
 Growth to knowledge and virtue
IDEOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS
 Reassure readers of the capacity of
individual to combat the temptations of evil
and grow towards ...
FRANKENSTEIN SUBVERTS THE
EPISTOLARY NOVEL
 Male narrator
 No growth: fails to resists temptations; learns
nothing
EXPLORER’S JOURNAL CONVENTIONS
 Protagonist : heroic scientist-explorer
 Quest structure – pursuit and achievement
of a ...
EXPLORER’S JOURNAL
Ideological functions
 celebrate the quest for knowledge and the
power of reason
 celebrate human ach...
Frankenstein subverts the conventions and
ideologies of the Explorer’s Journal genre
• Heroic protagonist exposed as flawe...
Further subverts the Explorer’s Journal by
embedding within it a disreputable genre – a
gothic tale.
Foregrounds the impor...
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN’S GOTHIC TALE
Gothic conventions
 Emphasis on the irrational and fantastic
 Emphasis on emotion rath...
 Setting: relics of past corrupt society or
wilds of nature
 Protagonist: innocent, often virginal, victim
 Villain: su...
IDEOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS
 Acknowledge the existence of the monstrous
 Reassure readers that the monstrous can be
defeated o...
FRANKENSTEIN SUBVERTS THESE
CONVENTIONS AND IDEOLOGIES
 Setting: locates monstrosity in everyday
world: bourgeois domesti...
 The monstrous a product of human action:
external diabolical agency replaced by
internal human agency
 The evil patriar...
 Blurs boundaries between victim, villain and
hero and human/non-human
 The monstrous not defeated or controlled
of 19

Narrative framing devices in Frankenstein

A straightforward but eye-opening explanation of the 'nested narrative' convention. Good for A04 understanding.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Education      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Narrative framing devices in Frankenstein

  • 1. NARRATIVE STRUCTURE IN FRANKENSTEIN
  • 2. FRANKENSTEIN  Frankenstein opens with letters from an explorer, Robert Walton, to his sister.  The Explorer is stuck on his ship in the ice of the North Pole.
  • 3. LAYERS OF STORIES IN FRANKENSTEIN Robert Walton’s NarrativeVictor’s Story Creature’s Story
  • 4. FRAME NARRATIVE A fusion of two respected 18th century genres  epistolary novel, a traditionally feminine genre  explorer’s journal, a traditionally masculine genre and an archetypal enlightenment genre
  • 5. FRAME NARRATIVE Functions:  provide a frame of verisimilitude to an improbable tale  It SEEMS more true  It is VERY familiar and conventional: it was told…  Ancient Mariner  Ozymandias
  • 6. EPISTOLARY NOVEL  A Novel written as a series of documents  Letters  Diary entries  Newspaper clippings  Blogs  Emails
  • 7. EPISTOLARY NOVEL CONVENTIONS  Reveal inner life: individual psychological struggles  Growth to knowledge and virtue
  • 8. IDEOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS  Reassure readers of the capacity of individual to combat the temptations of evil and grow towards virtue
  • 9. FRANKENSTEIN SUBVERTS THE EPISTOLARY NOVEL  Male narrator  No growth: fails to resists temptations; learns nothing
  • 10. EXPLORER’S JOURNAL CONVENTIONS  Protagonist : heroic scientist-explorer  Quest structure – pursuit and achievement of a goal (c.f. the hero’s journey)  Encounters with strange lands, creatures and beings  Increased understanding of the world and humanity
  • 11. EXPLORER’S JOURNAL Ideological functions  celebrate the quest for knowledge and the power of reason  celebrate human achievement - illustrate man’s increasing mastery of his world (archetypal embodiment of enlightenment ideologies)
  • 12. Frankenstein subverts the conventions and ideologies of the Explorer’s Journal genre • Heroic protagonist exposed as flawed: narcissistic etc • Quest ends in failure – reveals human limitations, rather than celebrating achievements • Protagonist learns nothing from experiences and encounters NB: Gulliver’s Travels
  • 13. Further subverts the Explorer’s Journal by embedding within it a disreputable genre – a gothic tale. Foregrounds the importance of the Explorer’s Journal genre’s neglect of the:  irrational  inexplicable  supernatural
  • 14. VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN’S GOTHIC TALE Gothic conventions  Emphasis on the irrational and fantastic  Emphasis on emotion rather than reason Challenge to enlightenment values
  • 15.  Setting: relics of past corrupt society or wilds of nature  Protagonist: innocent, often virginal, victim  Villain: supernatural figure or authoritarian patriarchal figure representative of past, corrupt regime  Narrative structure: triumph over the monstrous
  • 16. IDEOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS  Acknowledge the existence of the monstrous  Reassure readers that the monstrous can be defeated or controlled
  • 17. FRANKENSTEIN SUBVERTS THESE CONVENTIONS AND IDEOLOGIES  Setting: locates monstrosity in everyday world: bourgeois domestic sphere  Protagonist: is victim and villain/monster  Ironically, victim of own villainy
  • 18.  The monstrous a product of human action: external diabolical agency replaced by internal human agency  The evil patriarch is an archetypal enlightenment bourgeois figure  Villain is victim and hero
  • 19.  Blurs boundaries between victim, villain and hero and human/non-human  The monstrous not defeated or controlled