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Frankenstein chapter by chapter reading, continued. Confused? Read my introduction post; chapters I to III; chapters IV to VII.
“Justine died.” Poor Justine!
Meanwhile, the father is being the voice of reason and cautions all against “immoderate grief.”
They are in the house in Belrive; Victor spends his days on the lake. He’s emo boy, all right.
Elizabeth is upset about Justine’s death, especially that an innocent person was convicted. I guess before this, she thought the system always works. “Now misery has come home, and men appear to me as monsters thirsting for each other’s blood.”
And now to Chamounix. Victor continues to feel things, deeply. He continues to feel guilty. He continues to do nothing about his deep feelings. To be honest, I’m not sure what Victor could be doing right now. Any time for action was in the days after the creature was made, and he was ill then.
And now Victor climbs Montanvert, and it doesn’t really matter why, because this, the first time he’s been alone for weeks, guess what happens? Why yes, his stalker, er, his creation, shows up!
The creature talks, sounding oddly like Elizabeth when speaking about social order: “I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king.” That natural lord and king being Victor.
At this point, I’ll go on record saying that while I like Victor (really!) I have more sympathy for the creature than for Victor, because the creature did not ask to be made, did not choose his appearance, did not ask to be abandoned. Though, arguably, the monster could have stayed in Victor’s student apartments and it wasn’t so much as Victor abandoning the monster, rather, Victor chose not to pursue him. However you want to characterize Victor’s action, I’m disappointed in him. His running away and avoidance seems both shallow and weak.
Anyway, a lot of ice. Just like at the beginning of the book.
And thus the creature’s tale begins.
The creature’s birth and infancy, as it were, is remembered by him, but not well. Pretty much, he’s a blank slate and begins teaching himself, well, pretty much everything. At this point, the creature is much more admirable because look at all he was doing while, basically, Victor ran away, fell asleep, ran again, and then had a “nervous fever.”
Much as I’m sounding Team Creature, I’m not, totally. Because wow, the creature kind of has it easy, or as easy as a hideous eight foot monster who has just come into existence can have it. He conveniently finds fire, food, etc.
Aw, the villagers see him and drive him out because he’s so ugly. Sad!
The creature hides in a hovel by a cottage, something so low he cannot even really sit up. He steals bread, he steals a cup, he reinforces his little dwelling, puts some straw on the floor, and is close enough to the chimney in the adjoining cottage to be warm. He’s so happy with so little! It just so happens that there is a boarded up window in the cottage, in the shared wall, so the creature creates a tiny chink in it so he can observe the inhabitants of the cottage.
The creature doesn’t have TV, so instead he watches the inhabitants of the cottage.
Even though the creature is new born, and has no knowledge of anything, he instinctively is impressed by the “gentle manners” of the three people in the cottage. The creature watches and learns; he even tries to help out with little chores. He begins to learn words. In a way, the creature is a Renesmee. Oh, he doesn’t instagrow because he’s born this size, but he’s learning by leaps and bounds. His learning is especially impressive because it’s self-taught under some pretty dire circumstances. Either he’s highly motivated, or maybe it’s because an adult brain (I assume) was used?
The family next door is a father and two grown children, Felix and Agatha.
And much as I admire the creature’s learning, his observing this family is, well, kinda creepy. Sort of stalkery. A bit obsessive.
Filed under: Reviews
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 email@example.com.
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