Kristin McOlvin



April 12th, 1999



Mr. Loeffler



English 12



Lack Of Verisimilitude in Frankenstein



In Mary Shelly's gothic novel Frankenstein, the reader must



suspend disbelief during many crucial points in the plot. There are



also many inconsistencies in the minor details of the story. This lack



of verisimilitude may be noticed by readers today, but in the ninteenth



century, when this novel was written, readers were too terrified with



the story line to notice the unlikelihood of many of the happenings.



For example, the moment that Frankenstein gave life to the



previously inanimate form of the being he made, he remains fixed to



the spot while the gigantic monster walks away. Than Frankenstein



never hears any more from him for nearly two years. The author



supposed that Frankenstein has the power to communicate life to



dead matter, but how do we suppose this creature learns habits? If



Frankenstein could have endowed his creature with the vital principle



of a hundred beings, it would have not have been able to walk without



previously having done so, just as it would not be able to talk, reason,



or judge. Victor does not pretend that he could endow it with faculties



as well as life, and yet when it is about a year old we find it reading



Werter, and Plutarch and Volney. The whole detail of the



development of the creature's mind and faculties is full of these



inconsistencies. After the creature leaves Frankenstein, on the night



it came to life, it wanders for sometime in the woods, and than takes



up residence in a kind of shed adjoining to a cottage. Here it remains



for many months without the inhabitants knowing, and learns



to talk and read by watching them through a whole in the wall.



As you can see from my examples, Mary Shelly's novel



Frankenstein lacks much verisimilitude. I have given you examples



of the monster alone, but these unlikihoods go on throughout the plot



as well. This is not unfamiliar for a science fiction, as well as a gothic



novel, where many times belief must be suspend in order to get the



effect to author is trying to put out.