Saturday, September 10, 2011

Robert Walton vs. Frankenstein

Having prior knowledge about the story of Frankenstein, I was thrown off when I opened the book and began to read. Robert Walton is a new, unknown character that shares stories and confessions to his sister through a sequence of letters while he is away at sea. Walton possesses undeniable intelligence, a never-ending thirst for knowledge, a desire to be loved. Through his letters, Walton foreshadows major themes that appear in the story of Frankenstein such as the danger of knowledge and the search for companionship.

When the stranger warns Walton that great intelligence does not come without a price he says, “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.” (Shelley) Upon reading this I immediately think about Dr. Frankenstein. Dr. Frankenstein, Walton and the stranger are three extremely intelligent men, but their stories prove that 'bad knowledge' or 'destructive knowledge' does exist. Knowledge has the potential to be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a very dangerous one.

Another theme that appears in Walton's letters is his search for companionship or the desire to be loved. He vividly describes his loneliness in life and especially when he is out at sea. He so badly wants a person to confide in and share his feelings and thoughts with. Parallel to Walton, Frankenstein so badly wants to befriend the little girl by the pond. He just wants a companion to spend time with and learn from. Frankenstein and Walton are the same in this way. Everyone is the same in this way. I always say that family and friends are the most important people in my life. Without them, I would go...crazy.

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