The Impact of Isolation
science fiction novel
Mary Shelley uses the theme of
isolation to portray how physical and emotional seclusion takes a negative toll on human beings.
Throughout the text there is evidence that shows that this motif affects many characters.. In
particular, the theme of isolation is found most prominent in Robert Walton, Victor
Frankenstein, and the creature.
Shelly expresses the theme of isolation through Robert Walton’s character.At the start of
Walton’s tremendous voyage to the North Pole he feels “increasing confidence”. (15) However,
that confidence begins to develop into emotions of loneliness when he realizes he needs a
companion and his sister’s support while is out at sea. As soon as his journey carries on he “
bitterly feel[s] the want of a friend."(18)
Though there are other men aboard the ship he gets the
impression that they don’t share the same interest as him. So he decides to “to commit [his]
thoughts to paper” (18). Even though he feels that it is a “poor medium to communicate feelings”
(18) Another reason he feels so alone is that without a friend “ there will be [no one] to
participate in his joy.”(18) and no one to help him through his struggles. Lastly, not only he
without a companion, he is also detached from his sister Margaret . Walton and sister both share
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strong bond. Walton trusts her with his emotions and that is why he writes to her instead of
someone else. However, since she isn’t physically with him on the ship it makes him feel even
Throughout the text Victor Frankenstein’s also suffers from his selfprescribed seclusion
causing him to “neglect the scenes around [him]”(53). While he is off studying at University of
Ingolstadt he feels much loneliness. He feels so isolated because, he has completely absorbed in
his studies. After devoting himself in his profession he doesn’t get to see his friends and family..
On top of being isolated from his loved ones, his isolation has deprived himself of “rest and
health”(56). While he worked hard “for nearly two years” (56) trying to create the creature his
debt to his health started to increase. By the time he has completed the creature his “
become emaciated with confinement.”
. Overall Frankenstein's isolation hasn’t helped him
at all. Instead it has weakened his body and his heart.