I believe Mary Shelley purposely used a method called “epistolary form” to begin her novel. We see it reflected through journal entries, and this is where we get to know Walton as he corresponds with his sister over several months. From what I know, writers use this approach to bring more realism to their work. This especially helpful when reading a story that is non-traditional, such as Frankenstein. It’s a great transitional approach to the adventure we will embark on.
I also found Walton to be very reminiscent of a young Victor. In the letters, Walton expresses that Victor sees himself in Walton, and that is part of the reason he decides to share his story. I think Walton is used as a tool to give the readers more depth as to what Victor has learned over the years, and this is expressed very well in the final letter. Victor sees so much of himself in Walton that he admires, but he is also fearful, and does not seem to want to watch another go down the same path. The parallels between them seem endless; for example, they both have an exploring side and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
I love the approach Shelley used to introduce us to her story. Walton, in my opinion, is a relatively easy character to connect with. I appreciate his passion for life and his persevering spirit; both qualities I see in myself. He also has a undeniable bond with his sibling, a relationship that many people can relate to. My brothers are my best friends, and much like Walton, I can picture myself writing them about my crazy dreams and pursuits. As I became attached to Walton, it made the transition to Victor seamless. Without the connection between the two characters, Victor would have seemed more rough and unapproachable. So for me, the narrator was key to bringing me into the story. As I start the first chapter, I will be more intently concerned about Victor and his well-being, all because of the initial connection I felt to Walton.
As far as connecting with narrators in general, it varies quite a bit. I’d say more often than not, I find some way to connect with narrators. Though there are exceptions, narrators tend to be very honest and decipherable from the start. You feel as though you are a close friend, one lucky enough to behold the every detail of a story. I think this transparency is what makes them so likable to me, and it is what makes them easier to connect with.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. Charlottesville, Va.: U of Virginia Library, 1996. Print.