Narrator and point of view


Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is narrated by a series of first-person narrators: Walton, Frankenstein, and the creature. In order to understand the changing narrators, it is helpful to understand the complex structure of the novel. An important point about the changing narrators and perspectives is that we become able to sympathize with all three of them.

The frame story is narrated by Robert Walton via letters to his sister. This section of the narrative introduces us to the character of Victor Frankenstein, and it creates both sympathy and suspense around him. Readers’ attention is caught, and we are led to wonder how Frankenstein ended up in the Arctic. It also subtly introduces the themes of isolation versus society and the dangers of ambition. 

Frankenstein promises to tell his story to Walton (p. 29), and he soon takes over as the first-person narrator (from p. 33). We now see things from his point of view instead. Frankenstein explains his background and how he came to give life to the creature. Frankenstein’s story makes readers sympathize with him, as it provides an insight into his thoughts and feelings. 

It is important to note that Frankenstein’s narration is likely to give readers a negative view of the...

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