Tuesday, March 10, 2020

It's Alive! It's Alive!

Read the following passage taken from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:

It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

The author wrote these words for a purpose.  What is the most likely reason she wrote the opening to chapter 5 this way?

a. to foreshadow the monster's coming to life
b. to set the mood
c. to demonstrate verbal irony
d. to create an allusion to one of her earlier works

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is incorrect.  The monster is already coming to life.  Foreshadowing hints at what will happen later.
b. is correct.  She is trying to set your mood with words like, "dreary," "anxiety," and "dismally."  What other words can you find that set the mood here?
c. is incorrect.  Verbal irony is when something is said that is not meant.  Nothing is said in this passage.
d. is incorrect.  Not only has she not written anything before this, there is no reference to anything else.


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