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Free Study Guide-Frankenstein by Mary Shelley-Free Chapter Summary Notes
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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

The author has taken great care in structuring this novel. It starts with letters from the sea captain, Robert, to his sister, Margaret (Mrs. Saville). The story of Frankenstein, as well as that of the monster, is covered in his letters. In other words, Robert meets Victor, who then tells his story. Victor meets the monster, who also tells a story, and finally, the novel concludes with another set of Robert's letters. The plot is presented in a structure of concentric circles, with Robert in the outermost circle, Victor in the second circle, and the monster in the innermost circle.


In the twenty-four chapters of the novel, the monster's story is placed in the center, from Chapters 11-16. The first four letters are to be taken individually; the content of each differs from the others. The first ten chapters then tell the story of Victor, to which the readers return at the end of the book. Robert also concludes his letters to Margaret at that point.

The author never leaves a loose thread in the novel and sees to it that every character is fully developed. Ernest is probably an exception to this, but usually, the other minor characters get their due. Each character is representative of some particular quality.

The pace of the book is carefully controlled. The killings, while horrific, occur at regular intervals. Events generally seem to follow a natural (or supernatural) course, and almost nothing seems out of place. In the end, the author brings everything together to show Victor's desolation and frustration at the disappearance of his loved ones.

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