It is not always easy to categorise literary forms into a particular genre or style of writing. Therefore to classify the realist novel, which became the foremost form of writing in the early nineteenth century, we can perhaps best describe it as a body of prose that is interested and concerned with everyday life. This of course leads us to assume, as readers of twenty-first century novels, that a non-realist novel would therefore offer the reader an escape into an alternative world where settings and events are far from what would be expected in everyday life. Two examples of this that would immediately spring to mind nowadays would be perhaps the science fiction or horror genres. However, during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,
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Remember me with affection, should you never hear from me again.‘ (Frankenstein, p.11.) This beginning seems to position us at a safe distance from the story itself, but shortly afterwards we then realise we have become Walton as he listens to and records Frankenstein’s story who says, ‘I do not know that the relation of my misfortunes will be useful to you, yet, if you are inclined, listen to my tale.‘ (Frankenstein, p.17.) Frankenstein’s tale, told with a first person narrative, leads us to forget that we are reading Walton’s letter and brings us far closer inside the circle. Finally we take on the role of Frankenstein himself as he dictates the creature’s tale, ‘Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, abandon or commiserate, as you shall judge that I deserve, But hear me.‘ (Frankenstein, p.78.). Through the creatures eyes, we are at last placed at the very centre of the story.
The Gothic theme is strong right from the start of Frankenstein’s telling of his story. We soon learn of his overriding desire to discover the cause of life and this brings him to also study death, corruption and decay, ‘…forced to spend days and nights in vaults and charnel houses.’ (Frankenstein, p.34.). The language used here by Shelley is romantic and dramatic, creating a dark atmosphere and yet painting Frankenstein as light-hearted and …’dizzy with the