View Full Version : My Critical Analysis of Chapter 4 of Frankenstein

04-26-2012, 09:38 AM
I am choosing to analyze a passage in Chapter 4. I am looking at two paragraphs, of which the first starts with “The astonishment which I had first experienced....” and following starts with “I see by your eagerness...” As with the whole book, this passage is written beautifully. By that I mean it holds the readers interest and uses unusual words.
'After so much time spent in painful labor, to arrive at once at the summit of my desires was the most gratifying consummation of my toils” The use of the words 'summit,' 'consummation' and 'toils' caught my attention in this sentence. They are not very common words and this brings the sentence to life. What I find to grasp my attention when reading is the use of words I don't see everyday- ones that make me think and the author does a great job at that. Using the word 'consummate' instead of 'complete' turns the sentence around for me as well as using 'toils' instead of using another phrase such as 'exhausting task.'
I like the metaphor Mary Shelley used at the end the first paragraph “I was like the Arabian who had been buried with the dead, and found a passage to life, aided only by one glimmering, and seemingly ineffectual, light” That sentence really paints a picture. Describing it the way she did made it more understandable, easier to sense what Victor was feeling. There were enough adjectives to describe, but not too many to make the sentence not flow. I liked the use of 'seemingly ineffectual' which made the sentence much more interesting than if she were to write 'undesirable.'
I included this second paragraph because I like the way it shows that Victor is talking to someone. Not us, the reader, but we are instead overlooking his conversation with someone else (who we later find out to be Walton). This is a narrative yes, and it is a story he is clearly telling to someone in retrospect. I question why Shelley decided to take this route. I think that is brings a curiosity to the writing. We are encouraged to keep reading to find out who he is talking to. “how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge” is a great phrase. I have heard this before, and like that it was in this passage. In a lot of cases, knowledge definitely does become dangerous, for example, knowing things you aren't supposed to know. Victor continues on “and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow” This is the classic cliché of saying ignorance is bliss, and a person who tries to take on more than he can handle often ends up miserable. “listen patiently until the end of my story, and you will easily perceive why I am reserved upon that subject.”This sentence makes the reader want to get to the end of the story to find out what the secret is that he is t is mentioning.
This passage has a sort of morose feeling to it. As with a lot of the book, you get the feeling that some drama is headed Victors way. That he has continued down a path of destruction. You can tell he is happy he accomplished something, something he has worked very had at, but perhaps had the wrong motives to do so. To me this passage suggests yes, he succeeded at something he had been trying to do for a long time, but looking back he may regret it. This passage also makes me question what it is he has done to make him feel the regret he does. He makes it seem like he was happy then, but is not now.

05-25-2016, 03:45 PM
After reading your post, and not having too much knowledge with the novel Frankenstein, I have really enjoyed the break down of the chapter.
By reading the breakdown of chapter 4, this makes me want to re-read the novel Frankenstein, and really dig deeper into each chapter and really think about what Shelley is implying and expand on the metaphors she is using.
I also enjoyed the metaphor she used at the end of the first paragraph. “I was like the Arabian who had been buried with the dead, and found a passage to life, aided only by one glimmering, and seemingly ineffectual, light” This was a brilliant way of having the reading actually imagine what Victor was feeling. I was able to picture in my mind, Victor, lifeless, hopeless, and just lying there. I agree, she using great descriptive words to help us paint a picture of what is happening.