Realism and Metarealism in Mary Shelley ‘s Horror Tale Frankenstein
Many great novels act as representations of their age and time , and of the way in which people thought of themselves in relation to their world . Novels which are set in a particular place and time are generally involved with the major upheavals of their society , to some extent or other . The novel is capable of richly alluding to the general aspirations , perceptions , the general world-view as well as what people think they know about how the world they live in has come [banner_entry_middle]
about . In this respect , for instance , Jane Austen ‘s Pride and Prejudice and Mary Shelley ‘s Frankenstein , which are seemingly poles apart in their style and content , serve a similar purpose : the former is concerned to evaluate the currents of change of its time as much as the latter is inspired by the revolutionary developments of knowledge of the contemporary world (Walder 135
Mary Shelley ‘s Frankenstein , or The Modern Prometheus (1818 ) certainly seems to be entirely derived from a dream or nightmare , something very unlikely to have happened to somebody in real life . True , some novels can seem to be more fictitious than others , and Frankenstein had been a novel in fictional category of its own . With her novel Frankenstein Mary Shelley , at the age of 20 , in fact inadvertently invented a revolutionary whole new genre of fiction which hardly existed before her time , namely science fiction . In this sense , Frankenstein may not be representative of real life , and yet it was representative of an emerging new paradigm of scientific thinking in her time , during the first decades of the nineteenth century
There is a certain degree of every-day realism in Frankenstein which is deftly combined with elements of a prevalent genre called Gothic , which more suited Mary Shelley ‘s soaring imaginings . For instance , in the Gothic novel , one story is often nestled within another and large sections of the narrative come out as a tale told by one character to another . In this and many other senses , Frankenstein follows many rules and conventions typical of the Gothic genre . At the core of the novel is the story told by the “creature ” that exists within the story told by the scientist Frankenstein , which is within the story told by the explorer , Walton (Allen 63
Yet this is no regular horror tale . Though it certainly created one of the two enduring monsters ‘ of all time in English Fiction , this is not a monster tale in any real sense either . Frankenstein ‘s creature though labeled a monster , cannot be considered a monster , with any true justification , on par with other popular monsters such as Dracula or Godzilla . Frankenstein ‘s creature is a noble savage , and if anything , is sometimes more human than most humans . For instance , in the most recent revival of Frankenstein ‘s creature on Hollywood Screen , he sides with the eponymous human protagonist , Van Helsing , to battle against Count Dracula and his forces of darkness . Frankenstein… [banner_entry_footer]
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