Walton raises for the first time a major concern of the novel, the aims,
uses, and potential limitations of writing. Although he affirms the
importance here of a human presence that will guarantee unmediated
sympathy, still he does so in the form of a written letter that in the
previous sentence names his correspondent ("Margaret") and in the sentence
to follow strongly links her to him by a charged term of endearment ("my
dear sister"). The logic of this letter, indeed, suggests the actual
limitations of the unmediated exchange. Although he admires the officers
of his ship, for instance, Walton cannot expect their sympathy in the
refined emotions he here transmits to his distant sister.
At the same time, Victor Frankenstein's retreat into obsessive study and
his Creature's enforced isolation will show the consequences of trying to
fall back upon one's own singular resources. That Mary Shelley regards the
communication of emotion as fundamental to human need and experience seems
implicit in her choice of an epistolary form in
which to frame her novel.