English Philology: 2008/09
ENGLISH LITERATURE: ENGLISH PROSE AND FICTION TO 1900 – EXAM PAPER
The authors of the four novels we had to read, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Mary Shelley and Charles Dickens, lived a tough and complicated time where society suffered from many changes as democracy and of industry. These problems apart from affecting their own society alsoaffected the themes they wrote about.
Robinson Crusoe is the story of an Englishman that in his desire to go on a ship adventure disobeys his father´s wish to study law. On the second journey the ship is captured by pirates and Crusoe is taken as a prisoner. He manages to escape with another prisoner and they are both picked up by a sailor, Crusoe sells the other prisoner to the sailor and he istaken to Brazil as in exchange. When he arrives to Brazil he decides to make business by selling slaves. When returning to Africa to seek for slaves he is shipwrecked alone in an island. He is the only survivor, so he seeks for apparatus to survive while he is on the island. One day he finds footprints and thinks they belong to the cannibals that live on the island, but instead they belong toFriday. Friday is taken as a slave. They both share their intelligence, Robinson teaches Friday some English and some Christian concepts and Friday tells him about the cannibals that live on the island. One day the saw a ship and finally the ship is brought up to the shore and on the 19th of December they return back to England. When returning to England he discovers that his money has been saved andthat his plantations in Brazil have been giving him loads of money.
The themes in Robinson Crusoe are various, but the most important ones are loneliness, gaining authority in the island and survival. Crusoe is alone in the island until he meets Friday. While he is alone in the island he records everything he does and gives us all the details of all the things he does during the day. Time isalso a very important fact and is recorded throughout the whole story. When he meets Friday he feels the necessity to gain power over him and converts him as his own slave, this shows an unfair relationship between them. Apart from considering him Friday´s master, he is also called himself king over the people of the island and the Europeans.
These similar themes can be seen in Frankenstein. Thestory of Frankenstein is narrated in a group of letters Robert Walton sends to his sister. Robert collects the story from Victor Frankenstein who tells his secret to Robert, who is the captain of ship that’s willing to reach the North Pole.
Victor, in his eagerness to gain knowledge and create life, he puts together different parts of bodies from dead people and create life. This new life he hascreated, called Frankenstein, is soon abandoned by his mentor. Frankenstein is left by his own and feels lonely and abandoned. Victor decides to go back to his home when he receives a letter from his father telling him that his brother has been murdered and finds out that the monster has been the one that has snatched his brother´s life. Victor feels guilty because he knows that his creation hasbecome his downfall.
Victor decides to go on a vacation to the mountains where he, one day, finds the monster. Frankenstein admits the murder but asks for forgiveness and understanding. Frankenstein asks for a companion so he does not feel lonely so as to leave his mentor on his own. In the end Victor accepts the monster´s requests and goes back to London to create the female Frankenstein hasasked for. One night, feeling remorse and guilt he decides not to continue with his project and destroys the new creation. When the monster saw this he promised to take revenge. When Victor goes back to Geneva, he marries Elisabeth and he is worried that Frankenstein would kill him, but instead he kills his wife. After this, Victor promises himself he would find the monster and make him pay all the...