As Edward Said remarked in 'On Repetition' in The World, The Text and The Critic (1984), 'the realist novel is concerned with seeing people as peculiarly individual beings facing an individual destiny' (The Realist Novel, p. 68); we can certainly see this is evident in both Great Expectations and Frankenstein . In both novels we, as readers, are faced with tumultuous happenings concerning the quest for identity. Through using the, occasionally very loose, framework of the realist novel both seek to explore other genres to illustrate the wider psychological impact of the search for one's origin.
In Great Expectations we are introduced to the significant theme of origins immediately as we witness young Pip at the graveyard, lamenting over the appearance of his parents.
From here, we are thrown into the dangerous world of the criminal as 'a fearful man' (p. 6) accosts Pip and threatens that his accompanying friend will have his 'liver tore out, roasted and ate' (p.
8). Although we are in the throws of melodrama here, there is a hint of the gothic element, which exemplifies Pips fear and apprehension, and also, the foreboding of the elements of the plot through the setting of the 'black horizontal line' (p. 9) of the marshes and the overbearing sky which was 'just a row of angry red lines and dense black intermixed' (p. 9). With this is mind we can perhaps sympathise with the older Pip when he learns that this man is his benefactor - or more precisely the second father. However,although this is written within the framework of the gothic genre we do not feel the dread, fear or surrealism that is comparable with the function as we have a dual narrative. The older Pip is the narrator seeing through the eyes of the...