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Narration in Frankenstein: Exploring The Reliability of Walton as a Narrator

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Words: 608 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 608|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley, is a classic novel that explores themes of ambition, creation, and the consequences of playing god. The story is framed through a series of narratives, with Captain Robert Walton acting as the primary narrator. However, the question of Walton's reliability as a narrator arises a few times in the text. This essay will examine the reliability of Walton as a narrator and its implications on the interpretation of the story.

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Body

One of the factors that question Walton's reliability as a narrator is his subjectivity and bias. Throughout the novel, Walton expresses a strong desire for companionship and recognition for his achievements. This desire influences his perception of events and characters, potentially distorting the truth. For example, when describing Victor Frankenstein, Walton portrays him as a hero and genius, completely overlooking the destructive consequences of his actions.

According to literary scholar Susan J. Wolfson, Walton's bias is evident in his letters to his sister. Wolfson argues that Walton's admiration for Frankenstein leads him to sympathize with him and view his creation, the monster, in a more positive light. This bias can be seen in Walton's descriptions of the monster's appearance and actions, which are often downplayed or excused.

Therefore, Walton's subjectivity and bias call into question his reliability as a narrator. His personal opinions and desires may cloud his judgment and lead to an incomplete or inaccurate portrayal of events.

In addition to his subjectivity, Walton's limited perspective also raises doubts about his reliability as a narrator. As an outsider to the main events of the story, Walton relies on secondhand accounts provided by Frankenstein. He is not present for the majority of the narrative and must rely on Frankenstein's retelling, which may be biased or incomplete.

Literary critic Harold Bloom argues that Walton's limited perspective prevents him from fully understanding the complexities of the story. Bloom suggests that Walton's desire for a companion and his isolation on the Arctic expedition may lead him to idealize and romanticize Frankenstein's tale. This romanticized view may result in a distorted retelling of events, further questioning Walton's reliability as a narrator.

Therefore, Walton's limited perspective casts doubt on the accuracy and completeness of his narration. His reliance on secondhand information and potential idealization of the events may lead to a biased and unreliable account.

Another aspect that challenges Walton's reliability as a narrator is his emotional investment in the story. Throughout the novel, Walton becomes emotionally intertwined with Frankenstein and his tragic fate. This emotional involvement may cloud his judgment and influence his narration.

Professor John K. Smith argues that Walton's emotional investment in the story is evident in his correspondence with his sister. Smith suggests that Walton's emotional reactions to Frankenstein's tale, such as his empathy for the monster, may affect his ability to provide an objective and unbiased account of events.

Therefore, Walton's emotional investment raises concerns about his reliability as a narrator. His personal connection to the characters and events may lead to a biased and subjective retelling of the story.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the reliability of Captain Robert Walton as a narrator in Frankenstein is called into question due to his subjectivity and bias, limited perspective, and emotional investment. His personal opinions, reliance on secondhand information, and emotional involvement may lead to an incomplete or distorted portrayal of events. Understanding Walton's potential unreliability as a narrator is crucial for interpreting the story and its themes accurately.

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By critically examining Walton's narration, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the complex narrative structure and the implications it has on the interpretation of the novel. Further exploration of Walton's role as a narrator can shed light on the themes of ambition, creation, and the consequences of unchecked pursuit.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Narration in Frankenstein: Exploring the Reliability of Walton as a Narrator. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/narration-in-frankenstein-exploring-the-reliability-of-walton-as-a-narrator/
“Narration in Frankenstein: Exploring the Reliability of Walton as a Narrator.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/narration-in-frankenstein-exploring-the-reliability-of-walton-as-a-narrator/
Narration in Frankenstein: Exploring the Reliability of Walton as a Narrator. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/narration-in-frankenstein-exploring-the-reliability-of-walton-as-a-narrator/> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Narration in Frankenstein: Exploring the Reliability of Walton as a Narrator [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/narration-in-frankenstein-exploring-the-reliability-of-walton-as-a-narrator/
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