Last updated: June 19, 2019
Topic: ArtBooks
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Look At The Significance Of Chapter 5 To The Novel As A Whole. Focus On The Relevance And Effect Of Writer’s Use Of Language To Describe Setting, Character And What It Shows About Social And Historical Influences. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is a novel about a science obsessed man that witnesses the death of his mother and makes it his duty to repair the damage caused by experimenting with the unknown and trying to prevent further death and suffering. This novel also explores the debate of the time, whether or not only God should be able to create life and take it away.

It shows how the monster itself learns to cope with itself and its surroundings and how it learns about its past. In chapter 5 we are introduced to Frankenstein’s monster and the biggest turning point of the novel. This is the chapter in which all of Frankenstein’s arguably crazy ideas come together to create one horrific monster without purpose on the planet. Not only, though, is this a turning point in the novel but also in Frankenstein’s mind. It sees him realising that he has turned against nature and in turn the spawn of evil that he has created turns against him.

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Not only does chapter 5 reveal the shock of the monster being born in its unnatural manner it also shows the shock and fear of Frankenstein that he has managed to create unnatural life. The chapter displays the final step in the evolution of Frankenstein’s mind to get to the point where he felt it was justified to create his ugly masterpiece. Seeing how afraid Frankenstein seemed after he had finished creating the monster raised questions over whether he had actually thought through what he was trying to do.

The language used in this chapter is done in a very clever way and separates Shelley from other writers in the genre. You can see straight away that Shelley is a fan of gothic horror as she sets the scene with the opening line, “ It was on a dreary night…” this line tells us straight away that we are reading a horror book even if this were the first chapter and the author does not hold back on thrusting us into the problems Frankenstein now faces. With an anxiety that that almost amounted to agony”, is the second line of the chapter. In this moment Frankenstein is still not recognising that he has made a mistake bringing this strange being to life as his thoughts seem held back by a mix of anxiety (as described in the sentence) and excitement. He is using his head to do the hearts toils rather than actually using his head to think about that he is conceiving. As the details of the creature are listed you are filled with a sense of dread.

This is because the author has already described the day to be dawning and as you think of the day awakening you think of the monster awakening. The tension and anxiety you feel as the chapter progresses is mirrored by Frankenstein and when you feel relief that the monster is discovered to have left the room so does he. I found this to be clever, as it seems like the only point in the novel that you are able to connect with Frankenstein on an emotional level.

Looking back over chapter 5, it is evident that this may well be the most crucial chapter in the whole novel, though the reason for this is more than meets the eye. Not only does it provide you with a huge turning point and emotional confusion at various different points but it also links in with the theme of everyday life in the 19th century. The act that Frankenstein does is contradicting the regular God-fearing society driven opinion of the issue, which is that only God has the power to give and take away life.

Frankenstein contradicts this in just the way that he contradicts the voice in his head telling him not to commit the act. I believe that this gets across the point that just because you believe in something with all your heart, such as Frankenstein did, it does not necessarily mean it is right. This is not the only link though; there is also the spark of outrage over nature or nurture. Frankenstein instantly backs away from the nurture option by running away from the creature. This means that the upbringing the creature has is entirely down to nature.

Overall I feel that not only has this chapter provided me with an excellent read but has also given me an insight into the debates of the time. The prose that is used in the chapter is also starting to really sink in now; everything down to the last detail is managing to get through to me. This makes the read of Frankenstein even more thrilling and exciting. It also means that I get much more out of it. Judging by my study of this chapter and brief glimpse of the novel Frankenstein is a masterpiece to go down in the gothic horror history books.