Extended Literary Analysis
In this analysis, Sonya Jongsma explores a major theme in the nineteenth-century novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Notice that the writer "extends" her analysis by citing a number of important literary critics. Also notice that she displays a thorough understanding of the text, from the plot structure to the characters' motives.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: Friendship, Alienation, and Relationship Dynamics
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the most well-known novels of the Romantic era. The story is one that has seeped into the popular imagination, albeit in a completely confused version. The novel's prophetic voice continues to be echoed today in modern science fiction, showing the impact of scientific knowledge on human life and institutions. Although the theme of scientific progress and the pride that often accompanies it is important and often understood to be the entire purpose of the novel, Frankenstein also focuses on the theme of isolation and the human need for friendship and relationships. This theme is central to the novel and is woven throughout the story-within-a-story structure. In Frankenstein, Shelley explores the themes of alienation and of the human need for friendship through her story-within-a-story structure, particularly Walton’s letters to his sister, in Frankenstein’s cautionary tale, and in the story of the monster.
Frankenstein begins with four letters from Walton to his sister Margaret. Walton is on a voyage to the North Pole. Although he looks forward to discovering "the wondrous power which attracts the needle" (Shelley 14), and he is aglow with anticipation of the completion of the journey and the resulting glory and fame which await him, he admits that he has one want which he has "never yet been able to satisfy" (Shelley 17): he has no friend. He bemoans this fact and shares with his sister his feelings about friendship. Walton sees a friend as someone who can participate in his joy when he is...