Discuss the effectiveness of the three different narrative positions in Frankenstein.

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In Frankenstein Shelley uses a frame narrative; a Chinese box structure of stories within a story. The use of the three different narratives causes there to be no omniscient narrator to present a view of the story. The reader is aware that each narrator is telling only their version of the story and this causes the reader to have to form their own opinions of the story and make their own judgements on the characters. The outermost frame narrative is told by Walton; who becomes a catalyst for Frankenstein to tell his story. From the opening letters of the novel Walton comes across as extremely ambitious and determined to ‘tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man’. The reader is also made aware of how dangerous Walton’s expedition is as from the very first paragraph it is associated in the reader’s mind with words such as ‘disaster’ and ‘evil forebodings’. Thus, once Frankenstein is introduced in the story, the reader can see how similar the two characters are, as Frankenstein also wants to ‘pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers’. The parallels between the two characters show to the reader that Frankenstein’s story is not just a “one off” but that it could happen again; therefore forcing the reader to take note of the message of his story more seriously. Frankenstein also realises this and so feels he has to tell his story so as to stop Walton making the same mistakes that he has; hoping that he will ‘deduce an apt moral from my tale’. Therefore, Walton is very important to the story as he gives Frankenstein a reason to tell it. This also makes Frankenstein tell a more honest story as he is not just telling it, but warning someone not to repeat history. It also emphasises the message of the novel as Frankenstein tries to tell Walton what Shelley is trying to show the world. Parallels can be drawn not only between Walton and Frankenstein, but also
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