Having read the novels Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Sense and sensibility by Jane Austen and compared their themes and characters; the themes are inspiring because of the connection they have to the society and how real the characters used to develop the themes are. The paper will discuss the novels briefly and compare their themes and characters.
The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a novel, which begins with an explorer Robert Walton searching for a new Route from Russia to the pacific ocean through the Arctic Ocean. After spending weeks at the sea, Walton’s crew finds an emaciated man known as Victor Frankenstein, who was floating on an ice flow nearing death. Walton retells Victor’s tragic story in a series of letters he sent to his sister in England.
Victor is a man who grew up in Switzerland as a child that was precocious and quick to learn. Victor is raised by Elizabeth, and he vows to study science because of his delight in science. He prepares to leave for the University of Ingolstadt for his studies, when Elizabeth, his mother becomes ill with Scarlet fever. Caroline is killed by the disease, and Elizabeth comes back to health.
When at the university, Victor meets professors M. Waldman and M. Krempe, and for two years he is involved in his studies as he impresses his fellow students and teachers. Victor comes up with a plan to re-create a dead body and reanimate it using a combination of alchemy, chemistry and electricity. Later he feels guilty for bringing a new life on earth without provisions to take care of it, and runs away from his creation and conscience. He leaves the monster wondering in the countryside as he seeks for solace in a tavern that was near the university, but he is saved by Henry Clerval.
The monster taught itself to read and understand language to follow the lives of De Laceys, who are his adopted family. While the monster was wondering, it came across a jacket together with the letters, which were lost by Victor, and from the notes is where he learned of his creation. The monster decides to seek revenge on the family of the one who created it to revenge the injury and sorrow caused by mankind.
While at the shore, Victor’s boat is blown by a storm and ends up in Ireland. The body of Henry Clerval is washed up on the Ireland’s shore, making Victor to stand trial for murder. A local magistrate, Mr. Kirwin, intercedes for him and pleads his case in a court, which finds him innocent. Victor recovers and finalizes his plans of marrying Elizabeth.
Victor is tormented by the thoughts of the being with the monster on his wedding night. He covers all the possible entrances to keep the monster off the wedding chamber, however, the monster enters Elizabeth room and strangles her.
Victor seeks revenge; he chases the monster via Europe and Russia. He nearly catches the monster when Robert Walton finds him nearly dead. Walton takes him to his ship to recover him from exhaustion and exposure. The monster appears to tell Walton his side of the story, and victor dies. The monster chooses to burn his funeral pyre, and it disappears in the darkness, and it is not seen again.
In the novel of Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, the novel starts with the death of Henry Dashwood, and his house is taken over by John, his son together with hid greedy wife Fanny Ferrars. The two make the widow to feel unwelcomed in her own home, and decides to move out together with her daughters Marianne, Elinor and Margret. Fanny’s brother Edward Ferrars courts Elinor, however, Marianne despairs his lack of feeling and sensitivity. Marianne and Elinor engage in relationships with men showing their sense and sensibility.
In this two novels both authors represent its characters with the behavior of a monster and others have the behavior of an angel. In the novel Sense and Sensibility, there is a representation of people with hearts like that of an angel. Colonel Brandon, a retired officer and Sir John Middleton’s friend falls in love with Marianne and acts honorably, graciously and kindly towards the Dashwoods throughout the novel. Mrs Dashwood is portrayed by Austen as a loving and kind mother to Marianne, Elinor and Margret. She also shows love and kindness to Henry Dashwood’s second wife. She does not inherit any fortune from her husband but still wants the best for her daughters. Elinor Dashwood shows her affectionate when she supports and comforts her sister Marianne and when she falls in love with Edward. Sir John Middleton also shows the act of love when he invites Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters at Barton Cottage when Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood takes away all the land leaving the ladies homeless.
Mary Shelley also shows angelic characters in her novel. She uses Robert Walton when she makes him take Victor and takes care of after his struggle with the monster. Robert Takes care of Victor until the time he dies. Even though the monster is seen as very bad creature by the people Shelly uses him to show an act of love; the monster saves the poor peasants as well as a girl from drowning. Elizabeth also is kind because he takes care of Victor after the Death of his parents Shelly, M. Frankenstein. California : Saddleback Educational Publ. 2005.
These two authors also show characters who are heartless and act like monsters. Shelley shows this character through Victor, who runs away from the monster he had created leaving it to be tormented by other people. When the monster kills his brother and girlfriend, Elizabeth, Victor becomes vengeful and vows to hunt down the creature to kill it. At the end of the story he cuts himself completely from the world and commits himself to animalistic obsession with revenge. Shelley also portrays the monster to be really a monster. After realizing that Victor was the one who created him, he decides to take revenge on his family; he kills Victor’s brother as well as his wife Elizabeth.
Austen also portrays some of his characters as having a character of a monster. Fanny Dashwood is a selfish, manipulative and snobbish wife of John Dashwood. She goes along with her husband to take all the land left by Henry and keep it to themselves without considering the widow and her daughters. John Dashwood is a money-minded man who takes the whole of his father’s inheritance without considering the welfare of his mother and sisters; he leaves his mother and sisters homeless.
Mrs. Ferrars, who is a mother of Edward and Robert, is wealthy, manipulative; she disinherits her son for refusing to marry a rich heiress. John Willoughby is portrayed as a deceitful young man; he manages to win Marianne Dashwood’s heart then abandons her to a wealthy Sophia Grey.
Secrecy is a common theme in these two novels. Shelley uses victor to build the theme of secrecy; Victor has an obsession of creating life, which he keeps as a secret and after creating the monster he does not tell it to ant one. His plan to destroy the monster also remains a secret until the monster reveals the whole story to Walton.
Austen builds up the theme of secrecy using Anne Steele, who is Lucy Steele’s older sister. She accidentally reveals the secret that she has been keeping for long about her sister’s engagement to Edward Ferrars. Lucy Steele secretly gets engaged to Edward Ferrars for four years.
However, there is a contrast in the theme of immorality; Austen builds the theme of immorality using the characters John Willoughby who leaves Marianne only because of money only to engage with another woman who is wealthy. Shelley does not develop this theme in her novel. There is also a theme of love for wealth, which is evident in Austen’s novel. She uses John Dashwood to bring out this theme; John Dashwood takes all his fathers property leaving his mother and sisters without anything.
In the novel we see men like John Willoughby marrying older women just because they are wealthy. Shelley on the other hand has developed the theme of hungry for knowledge using the characters Robert Walton and Victor, whereby Victor wants so much to explore the knowledge on created dead men and brings them back to life, but his discovery finishes him up. Walton on the other hand was in a mission of discovering routes when he meets Victor. This theme is not evident in Austen’s novel.
Shelley uses the monster to represent those things that people struggle to achieve, and instead f them being of good use to mankind, they cause damage.
These novels inspired me because the stories are about real happenings in the society that we leave in, whereby there are people with good hearts and those with hearts like that of monsters. The themes of secrecy and immorality as well as hungry for knowledge are not out of this world; everything is real.