Mary Shelley, the author of Frankincense, views nature as being both sublime and beautiful, but lives that the latter is a more powerful emotional tool and thus Uses it accordingly in her book to influence the mood and emotions of characters. Mary Shelley uses incredibly detailed and expressive language to paint realistic portraits for the reader of the elegance of the setting behind the novel. Ruined castles hanging on the precipices of piney mountains; the impetuous Rave, and cottages every here and there peeping forth from among the trees, formed a scene of singular beauty” (68). Victor makes this observation of his surroundings, and it is quite easy to see through the secretive language, that Shelley wants us to fully understand and behold the beauty of nature. Notice she does not use adjectives like “astounding’ or “daunting” implying that this particular locale is more aesthetically pleasing than it is awe inspiring. In one spot you view rugged hills, ruined castles overlooking tremendous precipices, with the dark Rhine rushing beneath; and, on the sudden turn of a promontory, flourishing vineyards, with green slopping banks, and a meandering river, and populous towns, occupy the scene” (120). In this example Shelley has painted an easily imaginable strictures vista, one that could easily be plucked out of any fairy tale. While we can easily see through her description that the landscape is so striking it might cause a mix of awe and fear, she chooses to focus on the more artful aspects that lends it lens of elegance.
While it is easy to find example of Shelley conviction that nature is beautiful, it is just as easy to notice that she does include the properties that imply she also thinks of nature as being sublime. A prime example of this is on page 1 20 where Henry Cleaver describes a storm he has seen in such vivid detail that the reader can actually eel the tension and dread of the moment when it was experienced, despite the fact that it was being recounted in a story. Where the snowy mountains descend almost perpendicularly to the water, casting black and impenetrable shades, which could cause a gloomy and mournful appearance, were it not for the most verdant islands that relieve the eye by their gay appearance; I have seen this lake agitated by a tempest, when the wind tore up whirlwinds of water, and gave you an idea of what the water-spout must be on the great ocean, and the waves dash with fury the base of the mountain, where the priest and his mistress were overwhelmed by an avalanche, and where their dying voices are still said to be heard amid the pauses of the nightly wind. As dictated in is writing On the Sublime and the Beautiful, Edmund Burke says that something in nature that is sublime causes”… Astonishment; and astonishment is that state of the soul, in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror. In this case the mind is so entirely filled with its object, that it cannot entertain any other” Here Edmund states that in order for something to be sublime it must cause certain amount of dread, a sentiment mirrored by the fearful manner in which Shelley has Cleaver describe the forces of nature.
This notion of equivalency between apprehension and sublimity is echoed many times throughout the book, most commonly when describing mountains. ” But it was augmented and rendered sublime by the mighty Alps, whose white and shining pyramids and domes towered above all, as belonging to another earth, the habitations of another race of beginnings” (68). In this quote Shelley implies that the Alps are so incredibly imposing and sublime that they eave the ability to impart a level of sublimity to the wilderness surrounding them, just through association.
Overall Selfless definition of sublimity is the same as Edmund Burke’s and she reflects this in the way she evokes a sense of dread with her depictions of scenery. Victor Frankincense, the main character, is a man whose mood swings from one extreme to the other rapidly. When a pivotal moment in the plot has stemmed from Victors emotions that emotion almost always was initially caused by his observations of the intrinsic beauty of nature. This is reflective of Shelley faith that evicting the beauty of nature is more stirring to the reader than depicting it as sublime.
While examples of this can be found almost every few pages, there are some in particular that illustrate the power of Mother Nature’s beauty particularly well. “The present season was indeed divine: the flowers of spring bloomed in the hedges, while those of summer were already in bud: was undisturbed by thoughts which during the preceding year had pressed upon me, notwithstanding my endeavors to throw them off, with an invincible burden” (48).
This is a thought Victor has when reflecting on how markedly his lath and disposition has improved. Here one can notice that Shelley rather than having Victor comment on the awe-inspiring properties of the wilderness around him, has him explain how its aesthetic value has improved his demeanor. The previous quote was an excerpt taken from the beginning of a hiking trip that Victor and his best friend embarked on, and this quote is from a short period of time later on the same trip. L remained two days at Lausanne, in this painful state of mind. I contemplated the lake: the waters were placid; all around was calm, and the snoopy mountains, wherein Victor ascribes the restorative effects that the scenery has on him “the palaces of nature,” were not changed. By degrees the calm and heavenly scene restored me, and I continued my journey towards Geneva. ” (Shelley, 51) Here Victor clearly states that the allure of the nature that engulfs him has had a direct effect on his emotions, by allowing him to regain his happiness.
At one point Shelley attempts to use sublimity to solve Victor’s emotional degradation, but one can easily see that this, “These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving. (69)”, is not very elated nor interesting. These examples quite clearly illustrate Shelley belief that nature is mostly beautiful rather than sublime and because of this uses it to realistically influence characters moods.
In conclusion Mary Shelley uses the same definition of sublimity as author Edmund Burke in his work On the Sublime and the Beautiful, that in regards to nature, sublimity means that it instills a measurable degree of fear in those who behold it. That being said Shelley acknowledges that nature can be beautiful as well, and when she depicts it as such, it allows the reader to become more emotionally invested n the moment and to greater identify with any character.
Rubric for Analytical Writing: Essay pursuing an interpretation of a text or texts Exceeds Expectations (A) Meets Expectations (B) Meets Some Expectations (C) Fails to Meet Most Expectations (D or F) Thesis/ Ideas: The core assertion of an analytical essay, the organizing principle of the Inquiry. The thesis is clear, insightful, specific, arguable, significant, and overall intellectually demanding. It may require a reader to consider whole new and interesting view of the text. The thesis is clearly stated at the end of the introductory paragraph.
Fulfills demands of the assignment. 18-20 The thesis goes beyond the observational and makes a claim, but fails to be fully coherent, or stretch beyond familiar readings. Or, thesis makes claims that are difficult to fully support. The thesis may be buried, or slightly out of synch with argument. 16-17. 9 The thesis goes beyond observation to make an argument, but the argument is one with which disagreement is impossible. The thesis does not follow logically from the rest of the introductory paragraph. The thesis may be in pieces that do not fully connect. 14-15. 9
There may be a statement of the essay’s topic, but it presents a list of subtopics rather than a unified claim. Thesis remains observational, general, factual, or is not useful for understanding the text. A reader asks, “So what? ” The thesis is not stated, or does not correspond to the argument. 0-13. 9 Argument/ Organization: The case in support of the thesis, including an introduction and conclusion. The essay has a clear organizational plan reflected through effective transition phrases. The argument satisfies demands of the thesis; topic sentences are clearly expressed corollaries of the thesis.
The argument is based on focused paragraphs that each develop a singular claim. 27-30 The argument is well-sequenced, solid, and builds a compelling case. The argument is substantial in both range and relevance. The argument may not fully explore the implications of the thesis, but fleshes out most of its requirements. Separate points may seem inconsistently connected, so that at times a reader must wait to see their value until another Step in the argument. 24-26. 9 The argument has an intentional sequence, but does not make a compelling case.
The argument does not explore the implications of the thesis but lashes out some of its requirements. Separate points are disconnected; even upon further reading the reader is left to guess as to their connection to the argument. The argument contains some generalizations that fail to engage with specifics of the text. 21-23. 9 Argument contains logical gaps or organizational defects. The argument may seem to be pursuing separate observational points whose relationships are not clear. The argument lacks clearly stated corollaries or topic sentences that link back to the thesis.
The argument relies on vague generalizations hat fail to engage with the specifics of the text. 0-22. 9 Evidence: Direct quotation, factual and us Mary detail to be examined in support of the argument. Relevant textual evidence supports the argument and is placed in context. The author artfully incorporates direct quotation and provides ample analysis of that evidence. The author has carefully selected and edited the essential evidence, preserving the intention of passages. Evidence supports interpretation, not observation. Plot supports specific points. 640 Evidence fully supports some points, but may be unevenly conceptualized, incorporated, or analyzed. Occasionally, analysis of the evidence appears redundant The author may provide slightly more than the essentials of a quoted passage, or has edited quotation down too far to preserve its original meaning. Evidence primarily works to support interpretation. Some extraneous plot summary may slow the argument. 32-35. 9 Evidence partially supports some points but does so leaving gaps so that the reader must supply connections between evidence and argument. Often analysis of the evidence appears either redundant or insufficient.
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