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Polar Expeditions and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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by

Taylor Humin

on 30 January 2013

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Transcript of Polar Expeditions and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

a movement to the poles Polar Expeditions of 1800s What was Walton doing? Captain Walton is a character seeking adventure. He "prefer[s] glory to every enticement that wealth placed in [his] path" (3). And so, Walton joins in with the polar hysteria of the time. What was it like at the North Pole? When we first meet Walton he has found himself in Russia, one of the four countries (also the U.S. [Alaska], Canada, and Greenland) that surround the Artic. Walton is on his way to the North Pole. He becomes trapped between ice, and it is during his wait for melting that Frankenstein's tale is told. Who made it? The Captain's of Walton's time did so much for our understanding of the Artic and the North Pole, but their larger goals were not reached. By the late 1800s the frenzy to reach the pole would increase, but it would not be until the 1900s that actual claims to reaching the North Pole would begin. Polar exploration in Frankenstein The expedition of Captain Robert Walton Polar Expeditions and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Grace Biamonte and Taylor Humin (told in a tip-of-the iceberg format, pun intended) The novel Frankenstein is an epistolary novel, framed by the story of Captain Robert Walton, who is on his own expedition to the North Pole. On this journey, Captain Walton meets our true protagonist, Dr. Frankenstein. It is Walton's letters to his sister and his transcript of Frankenstein's tale that make the novel. The early 1800s led to a huge amount of polar expeditions as countries and captains alike sought to be the one to reach the farthest. All ships were pointed towards the Artic, and the race for the poles had begun. In the year 1819 (a year after Frankenstein's publication) FIVE notable polar expeditions took place: the Smith, Bransfield, Timblon, and Sheffield expeditions that served to discover and map the South Shetlands, and the (Russian) expedition of Bellinghausen, who circumnavigated Antartica and was the first to see the continent's land. an image of the 1820-1821 Palmer expedition In his letters he explains that it is summertime, and the weather is as fine is as to be expected. In the summer, Artic temperatures reach nearly 0 degrees Celsius (so, nearly our 32 degrees Farenheit, or, freezing). Also, as it is summer, Walton would be experiencing light. In the winter months, the temperature is usually -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Farenheit).
Note: These are modern averages. In Walton's time this data was not well documented. Due to global warming, we can assume that the Artic was even colder when Walton was meant to be sailing it. Brrr! The North Pole, where it's winter all year round. The earliest, and heavily disputed, claims include American Frederick A. Cook by dogsled in 1908, and American Robert E. Peary (heavily credited in textbooks) by dogsled in 1909. By 1968, the American expedition of Ralph Plaisted using snowmobiles would still be disputed of its accuracy of having "reached the North Pole". Captain Walton's polar expedition may have given us the story of Frankenstein, but his many real life counterparts helped to shape our scientific knowledge of the North Pole. THE END!!! Works Cited

"Antarctic Explorers Timeline: Early 1800s." Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements. National Science Foundation University of Kansas, NASA, KTEC, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://ku-prism.org/polarscientist/timeline/antarcticexplorers1800.html>.

"Farthest Norths." Chronology of North Polar Exploration. N.p., 2001. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://norpolar.tripod.com/chron.html>.

"Frequently Asked Questions about the Arctic." Artic Theme Page. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/faq.html>.

"Palmer Station Timeline: The Beginning Through 1975." Palmer Station. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.palmerstation.com/history/6575/6575.html>.

"Pole to Pole Cross Curriculum Project." Knowledge Banks. Teaching Times, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. <http://www.teachingtimes.com/kb/57/pole-to-pole-cross-curriculum-project.htm>.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, n.d. Print.
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