LitLink

This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

“It was a dark and stormy night”
Everyone, including Snoopy, knows that the dark and stormy night has a very significant role in the great novel. This is especially true in Frankenstein, but it’s not just the dark and night that are significant. It’s the contrasts in Nature - the night and day, winter and spring, warm and cold, that form a general feeling for the reader and also help to shape the characters of the novel.
Mary shelly often uses the stormy night to create suspense and foreshadow events. “It was on a dreary night of November” that Frankenstein brings his monster to life. It is during a stormy night that Frankenstein spies his monster upon his return home from Ingolstadt. It is a storm that brings Frankenstein to the Ireland where he is accused of the murder of Clerval.
On the opposite side of the spectrum from the dark and stormy night is the warm spring day, and the beauties of nature in the sunshine which seems to revive both Frankenstein and the monster. When Clerval visits Frankenstein in Ingolstadt , they go on a two week hike, after which Frankenstein “became the same happy creature who, a few years ago, loved and beloved by all, had no sorrow or care.” Nature is in fact the only thing that can relieve Frankenstein as he wondered through the Chamounix valley. He says “The very winds whispered in soothing accents, and maternal Nature bade me weep no more.
What about the monster? He also benefits from the sun and spring. He spent his first spring in the hovel watching the cottagers. He says of the spring “ My senses were gratified and refreshed by a thousand scents of delight and a thousand sights of beauty.” It was probably the happiest time of his life. After he is rejected by the cottagers, the warm of one of the first days of the next spring is the only thing that can cheer him. The day filled him pleasure and he said “ I raised my humid eyes with such thankfulness towards the blessed sun, which bestowed such joy upon me.” Unfortunately for our young monster, very seldom does he get to enjoy that blessed sunshine. While living in the hovel, he only goes out at night, and while he’s traveling, he must sleep during the day so as not to be seen. When he does venture out in the sunlight, something bad happens. Such was the case when a man shot him after he saved the man’s daughter’s life. So, not only must the monster spend his life rejected by humans and in utter loneliness, he must also be deprived of the one last thing that makes him happy.

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