April 12th, 1999Mr. LoefflerEnglish 12Lack Of Verisimilitude in FrankensteinIn 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.