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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Frankenstein

Frankenstein chapter by chapter reading, continued. Confused? Read my introduction post; chapters I to III; chapters IV to VII; chapters I to IV; chapters V to IX.

Volume III

Chapter I

Victor, having agreed to Bride of Frankenstein, is now back in Geneva. He’s being Victor, in that he is avoiding what he agreed to do. Dad thinks that Victor’s odd behavior is all about Elizabeth, and that Victor may love another and regret his engagement. Victor does want to marry Elizabeth, but decides he cannot marry her with the promise to the creature unfulfilled.

Of course, the only way to make Bride is to go to England to learn more about the latest discoveries “material to my success.” (So, just how do you find out that England is the hotbed of reanimation? Secret scholarly journals?)

The cunning plan: go to Strasburgh to pick up Clerval as a traveling companion, head to Holland, then England, then France, then home, all in about two years.

Damn, but I wish I could travel like that! Without, of course, the monster making and death.

Aw, Elizabeth wants to go, but can’t, what with her being a girl and all. She “only regretted that she had not the same opportunities of enlarging her experience, and cultivating her understanding.” Best sister/cousin/girlfriend/fiance EVER, to put up with all of Victor’s travelling and absences.

Oh, spoiler! Victor just let us know not to get to attached to Henry: “And where does he now exist? Is  this gentle and lovely being lost for ever? . . . . your form . . . has decayed.”

Chapter II

Of course, Victor will need letters of introduction. To people working on reanimation. How do those conversations go? I know, I know — they are really not Reanimators. Just people studying areas that Victor will use for his own unique purposes. Still, I am amused bu such things.

Victor and Henry travel, we get mini travelogues, enjoy the scenery, learn a bit about Charles II, and then Victor heads off alone to the most remote, miserable, isolated place in the world to work. Has he really been travelling all this time with body parts? And has Henry not noticed, or just been too polite to mention them? ”It was indeed a filthy process in which I was engaged.” Not smelly? Oh, that’s right, his science includes eliminating the smell of rot. Still, I can quite imagine what the people who did his washing thought of all this. (Note to self: interesting area for fanfiction.)

Chapter III

For those of us, like me, who care about timelines, Victor is in his early twenties and the monster is about three years old.

Victor begins to realize some fatal flaws in the creature’s cunning plan of how to find a lifetime of happiness and never kill anyone or burn their house again: what if they don’t like each other? What if they have kids? (Good to know that Victor didn’t omit any aspects of the creature’s anatomy and that it was all in working order AND I DON’T WANT TO KNOW HOW VICTOR KNOWS THAT, OK?. But if he was worried about offspring, couldn’t he have just omitted a few internal bits for Bride?)

And of course, this is the moment where the monster is there, following him, spying on him, because that is what the monster does, lurk and spy and only get seen by Victor, and this is the moment when Victor doesn’t just have second thoughts but he also “tore to pieces the thing on which I was engaged.”

The next day the two have a confrontation, and the monster threatens Victor: “I shall be with you on your wedding day.”

Victor has a bit of a boating adventure (a bit reminiscent of This Dark Endeavor), when he dumps the body parts of his abandoned experiment, runs into bad weather, and ends up in Ireland.

Victor gets a cold reception and is accused of murder!

Chapter IV

At first, I wondered if the body parts had been found and that was what Victor was accused of. But nope, it’s not that, it’s the body of a young man, about twenty five, found strangled.

Guess who it is? If you guessed Henry Clerval, you guessed right. The monster is so brilliant that not only did he murder Henry, he figured out that Victor would have troubles on the water and get blown ashore in Ireland and so worked out where to dump the body to either frame Victor or to leave it as a message. Dude understands weather patterns, wind, and water currents.

Let’s see, Victor is facing a crisis, so what does he do? He gets sick. For two months Victor is ill with fever, but he recovers: “I was doomed to live.”

Victor describes the old woman who was hired to be his nurse: “her countenance expressed all those bad qualities which often characterize that class.” That class, indeed,

The magistrate has contacted Victor’s father during Victor’s illness, not because Victor gave him that information but because, of course, Victor had his letters with him when he went body-dumping in the ocean. This is actually a consistent character trait of Victor, to keep his writings in his jacket pocket.

And his father is there! I don’t remember any of this from the illustrated comics!

Victor is held in prison for three months, then travels 100 miles to trial, but the grand jury doesn’t find a cause of action against him because Victor had an alibi; he was in Orkney when the body was found. (So the Monster killed & dumped Henry before Victor even took to the sea to dump the Bride’s parts.) Victor is released from prison! The moral of the story: be thankful for modern American criminal law, the bail system, and police who figure this stuff out before grand jury time.

Oh, no. All of this trial and tribulation has led Victor to the habit of taking a small quantity of laudanum.

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Sondy says:

    Liz, I finally finished the book. I was avoiding reading your entry until I did. I think it’s funny — I picked up on some of the exact things you did. So much coincidence! Such a clever monster! And, oh, the weaknesses of the lower classes. Aren’t we glad we’re so much more refined than they are?

    Of course, as I tweeted to you, my favorite part was where Clerval rhapsodized on the beauties of the Rhein between Mainz and Koblenz. Yes! It hasn’t changed in 100 years. Still one of the prettiest places in the world.

    And can you believe how Victor gets sick every time anything upsetting happens? How convenient. Now, while I did lose weight like crazy & had a bad cold when some devastating events in my life happened, why did I not think of taking to my bed for two months and forcing others to care for me?

    Oh, and the monster says “I’ll be with you on your wedding night,” and it never enters Victor’s head that Elizabeth is the target, not himself? What’s up with that?

  2. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Sondy, Victor and his getting sick — I KNOW. And I loved your post with photos of that section1

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