Explore the Theme of Questionable Motives in ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘in Cold Blood’ Essay
The non-fiction novel ‘In Cold Blood’ reconstructs the murder of a Kansas family in 1959,murderers Perry Smith and Richard Hitchcock soon become the center of Capote’s novel,which pioneered the new journalism movement. The Gothic novel ‘Frankenstein’ is the disturbing story of an unnatural creation which was highly controversial when published,in 1818. The creature represents the consequences of meddling with God’s creations. Because of the scientific advancements at the time,Frankenstein would have been viewed as a frightening tale.
The extract i have used from In Cold Blood is a letter Perry has written describing his childhood;flashbacks are used by Capote in his book to build character development and therefore increase the readers interest in the novel-urging them to read on. Capote is selecting when he give information as he doesn’t want to give away all the secrets. We find out perry was ‘ very severely beaten’ ,the climax of the novel was when the killers where caught and described the clutters murder.
However, through Capotes clever use of an un-chronological narrative,the reader discovers Perry’s abusive past, intensifying per-modifiers such as ‘severely’ stress the brutality of abuse. interest shifts to Perry’s mentality leading the reader wanting to discover Perry’s fate. Authority is created through my extract as the letter is primary information therefore reliable. Full dialogue and strong declarative sentences-‘Then,because Dr Jones had told him he must have the statement that very afternoon,Smith skipped forward’.
Capote uses information and declaratives to make his novel seem authentic and highly factual,the reader is reminded the murders are a true event. ‘Then’ marks a tense shift Capote cleverly uses to construct his story, giving away information when he wants. Mary Shelley uses multiple narrative , so that the reader can shape their own opinion of the protagonists. Additionally, the reader can see the parallel between the characters lives. Shelley’s use of first person – ‘Miserable ,unhappy wretch! ‘ is effective in conveying character emotion and allowing the reader to emphasize to the character.
Mary Shelley’s father believed that all people where born good and that their experiences, shape their personalities. The creature is represented as innocent and naive towards the beginning of the novel,he could not ‘conceive how man could go forth to murder his fellow’,’i turned away with loathing and disgust’. Shelley uses doublets of negative nouns ‘loathing’ and ‘disgust’ to emphasize the creatures initial repulsion of violence ,’conceive’ connotes that murder was inconceivable to the creature.
However ‘all men fled’ when the creature attempted to be part of society,’fled’ suggests that mankind did not give the creature a chance which contributes to the creatures increasingly bitter temperament. Shelley presents the creature as fundamentally good before being exposed fully to society,Shelley appears to have been influenced by reading ,Rousseau’s Emile (1818)-‘God makes all things good;man meddles with them and they become evil’. Perry also had negative experiences growing up in society,he was ‘severely beaten’ by the cottage mistress,’furiously beat me with a large black leather belt’.
Pre modifiers such as ‘severely’ and ‘furiously’ emphasize the seriousness of Perry’s abuse and are of the lexical field of the extreme. The triplets ‘large black leather’ convey the strong effect the beatings had on perry as he can still remember the item in detail. The creatures motives are found to be questionable as he certainly knew right from wrong,like perry his mistreatment was used as an excuse for acts of vengeance. Perry never had a stable parental figure to show him right from wrong;the creature had an even smaller chance of learning morals, as he has been completely void of human interaction.
Perry explained his mother was ‘never in a fit condition to properly provide and care for us. I run as free ;wild as a coyote;there was no rule or discipline,or anyone to show me right from wrong’. This similie contains words such as ‘wild’ which hold connotations of the uncivilized and uncontrollable,while ‘coyote’ connotes a danger, which is what Perry becomes. The doublet ‘rule’? and ‘discipline’ adds emphasize to his lack of direction. The absense of the creatures parents clearly affects him,’was i then a monster,a blot upon the earth,from which all men fled,and whom all men disowned? . This shows a turn in the creatures attitude;he feels angry by his abandonment. The use of rhetorical question expresses the creatures confusion anger and many questions. The creature becomes isolated this is shown through his absence of a name and epithets which dehumanize him, such as :’wretch’ and ‘monster’. Both the creature and Perry blame their lack of direction from a parental figure, for their crimes, their feelings of injustice are ironically took out on innocent victims.
Both Perry and the creature become capable of murder as they become isolated from society, the creature was-‘shut out from intercourse with them’ and wandered,’where were my friends and relations? No father watched my infant days;no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses’. The creature uses formal lexis with words such as ‘intercourse’,Shelley uses this to show the creature is intelligent,his speech is reminiscent of victors,Shelley conveys the creatures emotions and intelligence to highlight her opinion that social injustice will lead to revolutionary violence.
The creature presents himself as vulnerable in an attempt to invoke sympathy-his repetition of ‘no’ emphasizes his loneliness and his use of lexis ‘blessed’ conveys how highly the creature desired to be loved, by constantly impressing his misfortune on the reader the creature is manipulating the reader into feeling sorry for him in an attempt to justify his vengeful actions. Questions are used to show the creatures confusion and potential with the correct guidance to be good.
The creature uses plural to refer to others-‘theirs’ and always addresses himself using first person singular – we realize the creature is beginning to see all mankind negatively,’i’,contrasts with plural and show the creatures feeling of alienation. Perry,also began to view himself as an outsider during his childhood,due to hiss experiences-‘made fun of me in front of all the boys’,we see here Perry feels he was a victim as a child,isolated from other children and abused.
Perrys actions in later life suggest he never wants to be a victim again,wrongly Perry uses his past experiences to justify his violence. Both of the protagonists are self-centered,they present themselves and unfortunate in an attempt to produce some kind of explanation for the murders of innocent people. Both Perry and the creature are presented as emotional characters;Perry was ,’so mad i started to cry’,’my anger mounted again’,while serving in korea he had ,’violent outburst of anger’. Lexis such as ‘outburst’ connotes perry had a short uncontrollable and unpredictable temper.
The word ‘anger’ is echoed which shows the reader the dominant side of Perrys emotions. The creature is also presented as emotional,’I can not describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted on me’. Shelleys use of first person lexis and personal lexis such as ‘you’ make it easier for the reader to emphasize to the creature. The creature uses strong declarative sentences – ‘miserable unhappy wretch’ to express his sadness,the qualitative adjectives ‘miserable’ and ‘unhappy’ are used to further indicate the creatures complete unhappiness.
The creatures self pity is reminiscent Victors,both characters blame their circumstances on their own misfortune and never blame themselves. A lexical field of the monstrous/supernatural , ‘wretch’ is used to show the creature is adhering to what society believes him to be. Ultimately both characters main fault is their inability to control their own emotions, however,instead they focus blame on unfortunate incidents from their past.