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"Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters 
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Post "Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters
There are several letters which form a prologue in Mary Shelley's, "Frankenstein". These letters, written by Robert Walton to his sister explains a quest for exploration and knowledge but also glory. He tries to reassure his sister that his efforts will be successful, however, he realizes this dream of his could mean his doom.

He states to his sister that he would like nothing better on this quest through Russia than to have a friend. Walton finds his friend when he rescues Victor Frankenstein from the ice packed sea. Walton is fascinated by the story Victor has to tell, and chapter one of "Frankenstein" begins Walton's narration of Victor's story.



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Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:39 am
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Post Re: "Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters
Robert Walton, the 'narrator' of "Frankenstein," is the 'gentleman adventurer' so prevalent in 19th century fiction. Considering the date of publication, it makes me wonder if perhaps Mary Shelly may have invented the prototype. Will have to check this one out.


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Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:13 am
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Post Re: "Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters
In letter 1, I'm amused by Robert Walton's almost ecstatic visions of the pole region long before he even arrives. Then this:
Quote:
I also became a poet and for one year lived in a paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated. You are well acquainted with my failure and how heavily I bore the disappointment.

This reinforces his imagination and arrogant ambition. However there is a dichotomy between his distraction in this endeavor - giving himself only a year to enter the Pantheon of Poetry - and his gritty determination to find the NorthWest passage. I fear this split does not bode well for his adventure.



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Cattleman, Suzanne, youkrst
Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:09 pm
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Post Re: "Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters
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How slowly the time passes here, encompassed as I am by frost and snow!

At the beginning of Letter 2, his expectations for the beauty of the North are already wearing thin. :lol: He seems so lonely, a wealthy man amongst the 99%.



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Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:58 pm
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Post Re: "Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters
LanDroid wrote:
In letter 1, I'm amused by Robert Walton's almost ecstatic visions of the pole region long before he even arrives. Then this:Quote: I also became a poet and for one year lived in a paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated. You are well acquainted with my failure and how heavily I bore the disappointment. This reinforces his imagination and arrogant ambition. However there is a dichotomy between his distraction in this endeavor - giving himself only a year to enter the Pantheon of Poetry - and his gritty determination to find the NorthWest passage. I fear this split does not bode well for his adventure.


I bolded lines in LanDroid's post. The quote that LanDroid has pointed out within Walton's letters is very significant. Walton wants to be a poet, he sees himself as a rival to Homer and Shakespeare. How crazy is that, right? "This reinforces his imagination and arrogant ambition", notes LanDroid, remember, Walton is the narrator of "Frankenstein". Walton listens to Victor, Victor tells Walton the story, after it has happened, and then Walton narrates "Frankenstein". Is there imagination and arrogant ambition in the narration of "Frankenstein" due to the narrator?

How much of Walton and his, "imagination and arrogant ambition" is contained in the narration of "Frankenstein"? What does Walton mean when he says, "[I] lived in a paradise of my own creation"?

Who is Walton? And what do his letters mean to the story?



Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:46 pm
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Post Re: "Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters
LanDroid wrote:
In letter 1, I'm amused by Robert Walton's almost ecstatic visions of the pole region long before he even arrives. Then this:
Quote:
I also became a poet and for one year lived in a paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated. You are well acquainted with my failure and how heavily I bore the disappointment.

This reinforces his imagination and arrogant ambition. However there is a dichotomy between his distraction in this endeavor - giving himself only a year to enter the Pantheon of Poetry - and his gritty determination to find the NorthWest passage. I fear this split does not bode well for his adventure.


Perhaps this is Shelley's youthful ambition showing through.



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Suzanne
Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:43 pm
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Post Re: "Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters
It’s funny, but even though Frankenstein is a very iconic image in our culture, it’s odd to discover that I really don’t know much about the story itself. I have a vague recollection of a few scenes from the movie when I was a kid, but not much.

The device of the would-be arctic explorer to get the story going intrigued me. I like polar exploration tales--Shackleton, Amundsen, Scott and so forth. It could have been that I am expecting a monster tale, but the setting in preface 4 also reminded me of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, albeit it's the wastes of northern Russia instead of Antarctica.

I went back over the part where Walton and the crew see (what I presume at this point to be the monster?) passing by on the sledge, and it’s pretty creepy. Even without knowing anything about the monster, what in the world is this strange man “apparently of gigantic stature” doing all alone in the arctic wastes? I think that would be very unsettling, almost like an astronaut on the moon encountering someone out for a jog. I wonder where he is headed on the sledge, and why.


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Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:37 am
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Post Re: "Frankenstein", Robert Walton's letters
I will admit to a bit of 'cheating' here, in that I have peeked at the end fo the book. Won't reveal any plot (I was careful not to read too much), but Walton resumes his role a narrator at that point. Maybe something more of his character will be revealed then.


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Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:46 pm
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