Many writers use a country setting to establish values within a work of literature. For example, the country may be a place of virtue and peace or one of primitivism and ignorance. Choose a novel or play in which such a setting plays a significant role. Then analyze how the country setting functions in the work as a whole. Literal Meaning: What does the country setting symbolize and how does it affect the novel?
Both Victor and the creature explore and appreciate nature. Almost the entire novel is set in the countryside or a town. Victor Frankenstein uses nature to find peace and solitude, and to restore his health. The Creature gains his knowledge through his interaction with nature, and also uses it as a way to hide himself from the discrimination he faces. The Creature uses the country to observe mankind and learn more about their race.
“One day, when I was oppressed by cold, I found a fire which had been left by some wandering beggars, and was overcome with delight at the warmth I experienced from it. In my joy I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain. How strange, I thought, that the same cause should produce such opposite effects!” (Shelley 72). The monster is overcome with bewilderment and fascination with discovering fire and is enthusiastic and gleeful about its seemingly beneficial and favorable effects, before harshly burned and sadly mistaken by his false assumptions. The fire not only represents the “light” that exposes his physical hideousness and shortcomings as a monster, but also poses as a representation of his exposure to society. Initially, the monster thinks he’s able to fit into society because he was made of human parts, had tangible human emotions, and tried to mirror the same mannerisms as well as long for companionship, but is sadly mistaken when society views him as the enemy and a frightening adversary. The “burn” by the rejection from society transforms into rage, and its repercussions leads to the demise of Frankenstein.
“The sun sunk lower in the heavens; we passed the river Drance, and observed its path through the chasms of the higher, and the glens of the lower hills. The Alps here come closer to the lake, and we approached the amphitheatre of mountains which forms its eastern boundary. The spire of Evian shone under the woods that surrounded it, and the range of mountain above mountain by which it was overhung. The wind, which had hitherto carried us along with amazing rapidity, sunk at sunset to a light breeze; the soft air just ruffled the water, and caused a pleasant motion among the trees as we approached the shore, from which it wafted the most delightful scent of flowers and hay. The sun sunk beneath the horizon as we landed; and as I touched the shore, I felt those cares and fears revive which soon were to clasp me and cling to me for ever” (Shelley 143). Frankenstein vividly describes the visual imagery around him as he’s anticipating for the wedding between him and Elizabeth. Shelley prepares a two-paragraph description of the physical nature surrounding Frankenstein and Elizabeth to emphasize the calm, tranquil, and peaceful state the couple share before the tragic climax hits. Shelley utilizes positive and light adjectives to instill a false sense of security and comfort, skillfully painting a picture of peaceful serenity for these two mates.
“These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling; and although they did not remove my grief, they subdues and tranquillised it. In some degrees, also, they diverted my mind from the thoughts over which it had brooded for the last month… They congregated round me; the unstained snowy mountain-top, the glittering pinnacle, the pine woods, and ragged bare ravine, the eagle, soaring amidst the clouds – they all gathered round me and bade me at peace” (Shelley 66). Victor feels guilty about William’s and Justine’s death since he knows that they are innocent victims of his creation. He associates the countryside with his youth and happier times. He spends his time contemplating the setting. The countryside (village of Chamounix, the Alps) brings Frankenstein peace.
The first pivotal moment is when the monster first starts to gain knowledge beginning with his discovery of fire. Upon placing his hand in the fire he learned of the dangers that can be silently hidden in something beautiful and warm. This foreshadows this same representation of the family he observes who seem pleasant but again reject and hurt him. The second pivotal moment is when the monster kills Elizabeth. At this moment the roles and Victor and the monster switch as Victor begins to chase the monster around the world in hopes of getting revenge for the deaths of his family. Both of these moments are centered around a country setting which reflects the mood during the scene as well as the tone of each event.
Shelley uses copious amounts of imagery in her story, especially to describe her setting and the characters of her story, especially to highlight the contrast between the “good” and the “bad.” Description of Elizabeth: “Her hair was the brightest living gold, and… set a crown of distinction on her head. Her brow was clear and ample, her blue eyes cloudless…” (Shelley 17) Description of the Creature: “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was or a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness… formed a horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set…” (Shelley 35) Description when the Creature first enters the world: “… innumerable sounds rang in my ears, and on all sides various scents saluted me: the only object that I could distinguish was the bright moon…” (Shelley 71)
In Frankenstein, the weather plays a major part in foreshadowing the story. In nearly every tragic occurrence in the story, the weather takes a turn for the worse, often thundering and/or raining. The rain comes to symbolize the tragedy present throughout the story. Frankenstein brings his creature to life: “the rain pattered dismally against the panes” (Shelley 35) Frankenstein learns the creature is William’s murderer: “… the thunder burst with a terrific crash over my head” (Shelley 49-51) Henry Clerval is found dead: “… the immeasurable waters that roared and buffeted around me” (Shelley 126) Elizabeth is murdered: “Suddenly, a heavy storm of rain descended” (Shelley 144) Frankenstein dies: “… roarings like thunder were heard at a distance” (Shelley 160).
In Frankenstein there are three stories. The first is Walton's, then Frankenstein's, and finally the monsters, which is imbedded between both of the before stories. These stories aid in allowing the reader to feel and fully experience each characters point of view and reflections on the events taking place. All of these stories take place in an isolated location that lends itself to portraying the characters emotions and experiences they are able to have. For example, the insert of the creatures story takes place in the country with the family where he learns to appreciate nature and gains knowledge on a wide variety of subjects.
Step 1: The creature explores Step 2: The naïve creature curiously explores Step 3: In the Frankenstein, the naïve creature curiously explores throughout the novel Step 4: In the Frankenstein, the naïve creature, abandoned by his creator, curiously explores throughout the novel Step 5: In the Frankenstein, the naïve creature, abandoned by his creator, curiously explores the strange environment around him throughout the novel so that he can educate himself Step 6: In the novel, Frankenstein, the naïve creature, abandoned by his creator, curiously explores the strange environment around him throughout the novel so that can educate himself to understand his surroundings better, develop from the primitivism of ignorance, and gain knowledge of how and humans act as they do.