Analysis of an Extract from Chapter 5 of Frankenstein

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When writing works of fictions, an author uses a number of devices to create a vivid picture of what their work is about. The use of language, tone, mood, narrative voices, and literary devices are used by an author to pass the message. This paper focuses on an extract from chapter 5 of Frankenstein to analyze how various devices are used.

The theme of horror and fear is created throughout the except, the narrative intends to and has a capacity of frightening a person, Description of the monster created that supersedes the human capability of scaring any person, the author says that "it becomes a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived."Dante is a person who the author holds in high esteem and it seems is not capable of being scared, but the monster created could cause Dante to fear (Shelley, 1998). This monster is so big and scary such that no name could fit it, "it becomes a thing...” serves to show the magnitude of the monster. The narrative is told in the first person, indicating, and the phrase "I"is used throughout the extract and the author tells the story from his own stand. 

The themes of horror and fear are enhanced by the choice of the phrases "fear"and "horror"that is used throughout the text. The story starts by informing the reader that horror and fear is the driving force the script (McLane, 1996). Description of how she started from his sleep with horror, then she describes how she runs from the monster that had awkward eyes. She took refuge in the courtyard. The description of how she run and hid serves to instil a sense of fear to the reader. As a person read each sentence sense, the body tenses, and wonders what will happen next, forcing a person to continue reading. Botting (2009) asserts that horror is intended to frighten and cause a person to fear.

The attitude of the author toward the subject is what is known as the tone of the play or work. The tone of objectivity is demonstrated in the extract. Getting out of the dream after being awakened by a dreaded monster shows how the author develops fear. The story has taken a negative tune because there are no positive aspects that the author is getting from the troubling monster. Apart from waking him up, the monster is following him and searching for him physically. Its physical absence does not mean that the author is at ease or has rested, she still figures it how it is hovering and she remembers how the monster was. She uses similes to compare the monster with the wretch, and she actually calls it wretch. Use of the term "cold dew"serves to show the negative tone the author has adopted for this play. Having a negative tone suggest that the author has a negative attitude to the thing she created.

The extract presents a stressed and weird mood to the reader. A reader is forced to think and meditate on the type of problem and anguish the author passes through, trying to run from the thing created by her. By saying that there is no mortal could support the horror of that countenance show that she has given up on the possibility of any person helping in bringing down the monster, even Dante would not help. Feeling of rejection and possible surrender is further illustrated when the author says she gazed at the unfinished monster and she was ugly, now with muscles and joint, it must be worse. Radcliffe (1826) presents and illustrates the theme of supernatural beings, and the monster that has just been created is more of a supernatural being. There is a feeling of anxiousness that is developed in the novel; one feels that the narrator is intimidated by an object that she created using his own hands. The monster is presented as mercilessly object that is not thankful even to the creator. It wants to kill the narrator who has given it life.

The attempt to kill the narrator who is its creator has caused him to feel as if she is a failed person. His pulse beat so quickly to an extent of feeling the artery. This feeling made him almost sink to the ground through extreme weakness. The expression that she almost sank to the ground further develop the mood of the novel because it can be seen that she seem to be depressed, confused and desolated person. The narrator is a distressed person whose effort to escape is drained, and she is not sure for how long she will be in the hiding or how long this pain would last.

Apart from the theme of fear and horror, other themes such as suppression and crushed or drained person have been demonstrated in the extract. Suppression of the narrator started from the moment she started creating the monster, she gazed at it while unfinished and she was scared of it. Its completion caused further panic and lack of concentration. It caught with him at night during the sleep, his teeth chattered and the limb becomes convulsed. The visit to his bedroom made the matter worse as it forced him to run. She was not in a position to fight back, this, therefore, shows she was suppressed beyond countering the oppression. She had to run, running to the courtyard where the ghost of the wretch followed him. In his book Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (Kristeva 1982) demonstrates how horror and fear can affect the person. Maybe it is from fear of the massive monster that has caused the narrator to run and not fight it. She was a better position to fight it because she was the one who created it.

The effort and energy utilized in creating the monster would be the reason why the narrator failed to fight back. She might have been exhausted from the hard work of creating it thus his energy was drained.

The extract demonstrates a wide application of various literary devices. The literary device of repetition is used in various instances; the word "horror"is used repeatedly in the extract. The narrator used similes to compare the feeling, she says "...catching and fearing each sound as if it were to announce the approach of the demoniacal corpse..."the utterance is used to demonstrate how the narrator felt and compared this feeling with a corpse of a demon. It is however ironical that she compares this feeling with dead copse because normally one would fear a demon that is alive than a dead demon. The use of the phrase, "now becomes a hell to me"is a metaphor that has been used to illustrate how painful the experience the narrator was undergoing was, this experience could only be compared with imaginary hell where it is thought people would burn in eternity.

The narrative takes an ordinary or prose writing as it is made of sentences and paragraphs and lacks any metrical or rhyming structure. Mellor, (2009) asserts that for most of the writings by Mary Sherry, the books have been explored for their ability to throw light on the poetic and intellectual development of the husband. By adopting a poetic approach and intellectual development in writing the book, it is expected to attract the attention of the reader and keep on reading. However, from the extract, there lacks any form of poetic character that would attract the reader. However, not all readers are fascinated with the poetic nature of books and novels; some are thrilled by the development of horror. Hodgson (2018) asserts that Gerald Hopkins once lamented that failure by a friend to realize that the style of prose is a positive thing and not absence of verse-forms. The views of Hopkins are an illustration that different writing styles are used to reach the different community of readers. One style should not be castigated in the process of liking the other. Following the assertion of Hopkins, it can be deduced that by using purpose, the author intended to prevent the reader from losing focus by introducing poetic devices in a horror novel.


Different authors adopt different styles in their writings. The extract adopts the prose style whereby the story is told by the first person who refers to herself as "I". The author develops different themes ranging from oppression or suppression to horror and fear. To achieve this objective, different stylistic devices such as similes and metaphor are used in the extract. Repetition of words like 'fear' and 'horror' are meant to have the theme of fear and horror stick to the mind of the reader. By telling the story point the first person point of view, the narrator intends to inform the readers that the content comes from her experience and not any other third party. The development of the story and it themes is enhanced by different choice of words to demonstrate the mood and the tone in which the narrator tells the story.


Botting, F. (2009). Horror. The Handbook of the Gothic. Ed. Marie             Mulvey-Roberts. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 184-92.

Hodgson, A. (2018). Michael D. Hurley and Marcus Waithe (eds.), Thinking through Style: Non-Fiction Prose of the Long Nineteenth Century. The BARS Review, (51).

Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. Leon            S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia UP.

McLane, M. N. (1996). Literate Species: Populations, “Humanities”           and Frankenstein. ELH 63.4. 959-88.

Mellor, A. K. (2009). Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters. London and New York: Routledge.

Radcliffe, A. (1826). On the Supernatural in Poetry. New Monthly Magazine 16. 145-52.

Shelley, M. (1998). Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Oxford and New York: Oxford UP.

November 24, 2023




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