In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the author chooses to use Dr. Frankenstein and his creation to relate the scene where Frankenstein’s younger brother is killed by the monster. Dr. Frankenstein portrays the killing as a cold blooded murder done by a heartless fiend. The monster describes it as more of an accident. He felt William was not complying with coming along so he needed to use more force. In using more force, he inadvertently killed him and in retelling the event, the reader can see the regret he feels.
By double narrating this scene, the reader has more insight to what is going on in each of the two character’s minds. We can see that the creature has feelings other than hatred, as he becomes upset after killing William. Frankenstein, on the other hand, has mixed feelings about his monster. He steadfastly remains convinced that the creature is a heartless murderer, but he is also the one telling the creature’s side of the story. Victor could have chosen to leave out any part of the creature’s dialect that he saw fit, but he chose to keep the fact that the creature had a conscience and felt bad. Walton would have never known the difference whether the monster had compassion or not, so Frankenstein had full say over how the story would be told.
At the end of Frankenstein’s story, Walton informs his sister that Frankenstein edited the narrative and was sure to liven up the dialect between him and his monster. Frankenstein, although he may not have liked his monster, knew that this was his creation so it was up to him to make it look good. This could be compared to a parent and a child, even if someone’s child has become a disappointment, the parent still wants others to see the child in the best light because the child is a reflection of the parent.
The use of double narratives impacts the novel as a whole because it adds depth to the meaning of the story. If the reader only heard Dr. Frankenstein’s version, the monster would have been portrayed completely different. We would have only seen his disgust and disappointment in the monster. The reasoning behind each murder would have been simplistic and more barbaric. By relaying the monster’s true intentions behind doing what he did, we can see there is more to him than meets the eye. The monster had, while not justified, logical reasoning behind all of his actions. He was just a misunderstood being that had become jaded and cynical after previous attempts toward kindness had blown up in his face, eliciting the theme that people are sometimes unable to accept what is different. Without knowing the monster’s early background, he would have seemed like an entirely different creature, which is why using double narratives gives more meaning and depth to the novel as a whole.