What techniques do the authors of My Sister's Keeper and Frankenstein use to explore the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists?
Both Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister's Keeper and Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, use an array of literary techniques, to explore the impact of power and control on the lives of their protagonists. My Sister's Keeper is a compelling text revolving around thirteen year-old Anna Fitzgerald, who decides to sue her parents for the right to her own body. Anna was conceived as an allogeneic donor for her sister Kate, who is sixteen and suffering with leukemia. After many donations of genetic material throughout Anna's life, she is called upon to give Kate one of kidneys. Winning the lawsuit, would bring to an end the demand on Anna's genetic material. Anna's parents, Brian and Sara Fitzgerald, have differing reactions to the suit, which will have a considerable impact on Anna. Frankenstein is a chilling Gothic text about a young student born in Naples, Victor Frankenstein, who takes it upon himself to re-create life in a gruesome, yet naÃ¯ve form. Both Picoult's and Shelley's texts unravel the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists, through a distinct style of writing, by utilizing a variety of techniques such as recurring motifs, compelling characterisation, narrative perspective, setting and symbolism.
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One striking feature similar to both texts, is the way Picoult and Shelley use multiple narrators to tell their stories, in order to create depth and explore the impact of overarching power and control on the lives of the protagonists. Picoult's use of multiple first-person narrators tells the story from a character's perspective in his or her own voice. Each section in the novel is made up of parts designated by the name of the character whose voice and perspective is being revealed. Picoult emphasizes the differences in these voices through the use of different fonts for different characters. The use of multiple voices allows the readers the ability to comprehend the situations from different standpoints. This illustrates the way in which each protagonists deals with power and control. Sara, for example, sees Kate's cancer and Anna's lawsuit quite differently from Anna's viewpoint, choosing to handle her power very differently to Anna. Likewise, Shelley's use of multiple narrators creates a greater depth to the text. Instead of beginning with Victor's point of view, Shelley first introduces the reader to Robert Walton, an indirect narrator. Using a frame device Shelley invites readers to believe Victor's story through an objective person. Secondly, the reader is introduced to Victor's point of view, which entails information about his childhood and the hectic moments leading up to his studies at the University. Finally, the voice of the creature interrupts Victor, and the reader learns of all the significant moments leading up to his demand for a partner. Shelley incorporates three different narrators in order for the reader to perceive all three perspectives of the story and gain a better understanding of the effect of power and control on the lives of the protagonists.
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The diverse settings of both Picoult's and Shelley's texts emphasise the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists. My Sister's Keeper is set in contemporary times in the town of Providence, Rhode Island and mainly focuses on the medical setting. This includes both Kate's hospital room and Dr. Chance's office, which are located in Providence Hospital. It is in Dr. Chance's office that Sara develops the idea of having another child. His suggestions of how Anna can donate to Kate start there. Sara's idea of having an allogeneic donor child, initiates both power and control. The medical setting also serves as place that saves the characters; it saves Kate's life, through the creation of Anna, yet destroys Sara's power and control when she discovers Anna has died, ultimately saving her character from losing the family bond. Frankenstein is set in the 19th Century; the novel begins in the Swiss Alps and both Victor and Henry, a fellow student who studies the moral relations of things, travel to additional places, such as London, England, Switzerland north, the Netherlands, Scotland and the Arctic. Aside from the dark Arctic Ocean, Shelley's setting is unusually beautiful; as the Swiss Alps juxtapose strongly with the creature's repulsive physical form. In addition to the unusual Gothic setting, Shelley sets her story in contemporary times, making the creature and the story's events much more realistic and lifelike, whilst exploring the impact of power and control.
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A technique common to both Picoult's and Shelley's texts is the heralding action, which exemplifies the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists. Picoult's use of the recurring motif, namely neglect, epitomizes Anna's thoughts on how she was conceived and the impact of power and control on the lives of others. Anna expresses her concern to her lawyer in their initial meeting: I wouldn't even be alive, if it wasn't for Kate being sick. Shelley's use of the recurring motif, that is abortion, symbolises Victor's and the creature's thoughts on the creature's repulsive appearance. Upon first seeing his creation, Victor states: When I thought of him, I gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly made. Likewise, the creature feels a similar hatred for himself: I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on. This implies both Victor and the creature mourn the existence of the creature and despise of Victor's operation of creation. Recurring motifs, throughout My Sister's Keeper and Frankenstein, explore and develop the notion of impact of power and control as it relates to the lives of the protagonists.
Jodi Picoult and Mary Shelley both develop strong characterisation, in order to reveal the characters of the protagonists in My Sister's Keeper and Frankenstein, and to explore the impact of power and control. Picoult's Sara is a lawyer turned housewife, who is totally focused on
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Kate's illness and wants to try every treatment possible. It is her idea to fall pregnant with Anna and for Anna to make donations. Sara outlines her desire for her daughter: "Through some miracle, these stem cells of Anna's will go into Kate's bloodstream in her chest. Picoult positions Sara as the main decision maker in the Fitzgerald household. She is the character who embraces both power and control in the hope she can save her first born child. However, the impact of power and control, for which Sara yearns, divides her family and results in a law-suit. Likewise, Shelley's Victor, a sensitive, passionate and intelligent man, becomes fascinated in the search to find the secret to creating life. Victor's creation constructed from foraged corpse parts, gives life to a creature. His immediate response is one of repulsion and thus he neglects his creation. The creature reacts to Victor's neglect by killing his loved ones and destroying his life, effectively demonstrating the negative impact of power and control.
Furthermore, both Picoult's and Shelley's texts, My Sister's Keeper and Frankenstein, have an outstanding ability to enchant and captivate the reader. Skilful characterisation allows the reader to explore the major themes and ultimately confirms the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists. A frequent theme in both texts is responsibility and control. Several major characters in My Sister's Keeper are looking for control over some part of their existence in the face of disease. Anna, for example, seems to want to control her body and what is taken from it as indicated by her lawsuit. While it is later revealed that she actually filed the suit at Kate's request, Anna is still looking to control the situation to provide her sister with what she wants. Anna knows she cannot control her mother, her family, or her sister's illness, but she seeks control of her own destiny. Kate and Sara would like control of the opposite sides of the same coin. Kate wants to control both her existence and the toll she puts on her family. Kate yearns for autonomy: I always wanted to be a ballerina, She believes they have complete control over their bodies. Sara has spent her life since the diagnosis of Kate's cancer trying to control the disease as well as Kate's life. She has done everything in her power, including creating Anna, in an attempt to control Kate's destiny. Sara has done all she could to keep Kate alive, without truly examining the consequences to herself and her family. Frankenstein's Victor, demonstrates the inability to know his creature through a direct lack of responsibility for the creature's welfare or actions. It is only after his creature states, "How dare you sport thus with life? when Victor only feels responsible. Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind." The creature compares Victor to a powerful God, as he refers to himself as Adam and claims that Victor is obligated to give the creature a certain amount of happiness. The virtues of parental or ethical responsibility, is something Victor never really learns, even though the creature momentarily persuades him to grant the creature his rights. The utilization of characterisation to develop fascinating themes in both Picoult's and Shelley's texts, explores the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists.
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A technique, which is frequent to both Picoult's and Shelley's texts, is the use of symbolism to effectively illustrate the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists. Throughout My Sister's Keeper, fire is a common symbol seen throughout the text, and it ties much of the plot together. Kate's sickness can be compared to a fire because it is uncontrollable and destroys everything in its way. Anna also compares her instigating the lawsuit to fire and Brian states, a fire should be allowed to burn unchecked. As he refers to Kate's illness in that they should let it run its path with no interfering. Likewise, Frankenstein's employs the symbol of fire, to illustrate and explore the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists. Smoldering flames exposes the dual temperament of fire, as the creature first experiences the harm which fire brings when he touches it, yet the beautiful light it creates in the shadows of the night. The recurrent use of symbolism in both My Sister's Keeper and Frankenstein, explores the impact of power and control throughout each text.
In conclusion, both Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister's Keeper and Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, use an array of literary techniques, to explore the impact of power and control on the lives of their protagonists. Picoult's and Shelley's texts both unravel the impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists, through a distinct style of writing, by utilizing a variety of techniques such as recurring motifs, compelling characterisation, narrative perspective, setting and symbolism. Multiple narrators to tell their stories creates depth, whilst the diverse settings of both Picoult's and Shelley's texts emphasises on the impact of power and control. Recurring motifs and a strong use of characterisation, exemplify themes, whilst symbolism effectively illustrates impact of power and control on the lives of the protagonists. My Sister's Keeper and Frankenstein together illustrate that, this life is yours, take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well.
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