Compare and Contrast "Frankenstein" and "The Dead" the same? or different?

Essay by zombat00College, Undergraduate May 2004

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Reading contemporary novels and stories has been one of my passions since childhood, i read up to this day alomst every day. Throughout the years, I have changed the genre considerably, yet never ventured into classical authors until this semester. Unlike the contemporary books I've read, these classical works demand much more reader participation and involvement. Two examples of such demands of their readers can be found in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and "The Dead" by James Joyce. The beginning of both works misguide the reader. The main characters in each story begin as the hero, but soon become the villain. Shelley and Joyce require the reader to look deeper into each character and come to an understanding of their shortfalls, in order to fully appreciate the complexity of the story.

Shelley begins "Frankenstein" with letters from Walton to his sister, stating, "How slowly the time passes here, encompassed as I am by frost and snow; yet a second step is taken towards my enterprise" (Shelley 9).

These letters were hard to follow initially, because there was so little background work for the reader to follow or utilize in order to complete the process of filling in the gaps. It was like beginning in the middle of a story and wondering what the references were referring to, or what lead up to that point. This causes the reader to question what has been happening and what is currently taking place. Not until later in the book did I realize that the beginning letters from Walton to his sister were necessary to give background into why and how Victor got to the ship via the dog sledge trapped on an ice cap. The letters help the reader understand the reason Walton listened so intently to Victor; he was looking for...