Frankenstein opens as a series of letters from Robert Walton to his sister, Margaret Saville. Walton has determined to find a sailing passage through the north pole, and the letters detail his travels to St. Petersburg, Russia, and then on to the coast before finding a boat and a crew. The story begins on a note of impossibility and doom. Even as the sailors set out in clear water, it’s autumn, and Walton notes that winter is coming on; he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to find a clear passage through the north pole. This sets up the setting for the whole story: a mission of doom, striving against nature, trying to accomplish the impossible. The story begins in autumn; it begins just as everything is about to freeze, as everything is about to die.