Frankenstein
by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Discussed September 2005

Frankenstein is considered the first Science Fiction Book

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 

Overview
by Brenda Krekeler


Frankenstein
by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

As a child Victor Frankenstein was raised by adoring wealthy parents. His first five years he traveled in Europe and abroad with his parents. When Victor was five years old, his mother found a four year old girl who was under the care of a good but impoverished family. The Frankensteins took the child into their family. Elizabeth. A second son was born. Victor had a very happy childhood. When Victor Frankenstein was about to leave for school Elizabeth took sick with a fever. Against the Doctor’s advice her Mother cared for her. With her Mother’s care, Elizabeth survived. Soon, her Mother fell ill and died. Elizabeth became the woman of the house and Frankenstein went off to school. At school Victor found that one of his professors supported his research. Frankenstein spent years perfecting his skill to bring life to inanimate things. He was obsessed to the point of illness of which he was not aware. His obsession drove him through months and years of research and labor.
Chapter Five
Frankenstein succeeded with bringing life to a monster with yellow eyes. He was petrified of the monster and ran to his bedroom but the monster found him. Frankenstein ran from his apartment and roamed the streets. He happened upon a Swiss carriage that delivered his best friend Clerval. Frankenstein took Clerval to his apartment. Upon finding his apartment unoccupied by the monster, Frankenstein became excited, exaggerated with excitement and fell into a nervous break-health and mind. Clerval nursed him all fall and winter and into the spring. Clerval did not attend school but listened to the crazy ranting of Frankenstein. When Frankenstein recovered that spring he had a letter waiting for him from his cousin.
Chapter Six
In Ingolstandt he read the letter from Elizabeth. Ernst, Victor Frankenstein’s brother wanted to join an army. William the youngest Frankenstein was healthy and blue eyed. And their Father was active. Elizabeth’s message was clear – write home. Clerval nursed Victor back to health and they spent the summer taking Asian language classes. Victor was supposed to return to Geneva in the fall but winter set in and prevented travel. Victor enjoyed the winter with Clerval and planned to go home in the spring which arrived late. Clerval was comfortable with his classes and knew many people now. Due to Victor’s impending departure, Clerval took Victor on a vacation for many days around Ingolstandt. Upon arriving home from their vacation, Victor was so very happy.
Chapter Seven
Victor received a letter from his Father announcing the death and murder of his youngest brother William. The entire family was in mourning. Elizabeth blamed herself because she let William wear a valuable picture necklace of his Mother. William was strangled. Victor rushed home. Depressed, Victor didn’t really want to return home, he stayed over two days at an interim town. When he arrived at home he walked the long way home around the lake during a terrible lightening and rain storm. During this electrical storm Victor saw the monster he had created near the lake. Victor was convinced that William was killed by his monster. At home his family welcomed him, cried and told him that today Justin was to be tried for Williams’s murder. All hoped for an acquittal.
Chapter Eight
Justine told them of her innocence but yet she was found guilty and hung to death the following day. The family lived in grief and after two months Victor left for the Alps. Mont Blanc was his destination. The trip was long. He had no sleep and suffered extreme depression. Upon arrival Victor slept.
Chapter Ten
Victor rested in the mountains and climbed the trails. It was beautiful and he could feel himself being restored and regenerated. The next day he awoke to a valley full of clouds and mist but he was not deterred. He climbed up the mountain and crossed a glacier to the other side of another mountain about one league but due to the crevices it took two hours. He peered at the mountain stream and rising mist and the clouded peaks. He was happy, but only for a moment. He saw the monster jumping across the glacier. The monster talked to him and wanted Victor to listen to his story and then Victor could decide if the monster should live or die. They retreated to a hut and the monster began his story.
Chapter Eleven
The monster tells of his first memories, how he ate berries and nuts to survive and cupped water from the stream with his hands. Very confused, the monster followed the light sources through the forest and eventually began to see and understand things better. He found a hut which provided shelter. He came upon a fire and he cooked food and took warmth and protected it. He decided to leave and came upon a town. When he showed himself to the townspeople he was beaten and driven out of town. He came to a cottage where there was a hovel attached to it. He could see the occupants of the cottage through cracks from the hovel and he witnessed a great sadness in an old man, his son and daughter.
Chapter Twelve
The monster got to know the occupants of the cottage and discovered that one of the reasons they were sad was because of their abject poverty. The monster was stealing their food but once he realized they couldn’t afford food he took to gathering nuts and berries again. The monster helped the family out by gathering wood from the forest and shoveling a walkway to the barn. Finally spring came.
Chapter Thirteen
Agatha, the daughter, Felix, the son and De-Lacey the old man and Safie an Arabian Girl occupied the cottage. Felix taught Safie his language and the monster learned the French language with her through the cracks in the wall. The monster realized that he was much better at imitating the sounds than Safie.
Chapter Fourteen
The monster tells Victor the sad story of the cottage dwellers and why Felix was so happy to see Safie. The cottagers were a wealthy family when they lived in Paris France. They were French. Safie’s father was arrested and sentenced to death. Felix saw this as an injustice and broke Safie’s Father, who was a Turk, from jail. Felix hid them in Italy. The French government got information on what happened and had Felix’s father De Lacey and Felix’s sister Agatha arrested. Upon this news, Felix left Safie and her Father. He thought once he turned himself in, that his Father and sister would be released but they all sat in jail in a dungeon for six months. Their fortune gone in legal fees, they fled to Germany to the cottage where the monster found them. Safie took some money and gems and quitted her Father, since he wanted her to marry in the Islam religion. Safie found her way to the cottage where Felix taught her French and they were happy lovers.
Chapter Fifteen
The monster found a brief case in the woods that had some clothes and three books. He read these books and they taught him of life in a town, life in the world and life of religion with a creator God and an evil Satan. The monster decided to tell his cottagers about his presence. He knocked on the door when only De Lacy was home by himself. De Lacy was civil to the monster but when Felix got home the monster was beaten and Agatha fainted and Safie ran from the house. The monster retreated to his hovel.
Chapter Sixteen
The monster went into the woods and howled from grief. Upon his return, he saw Felix and understood that Felix had told the land owner that he no longer wanted to rent. The monster was furious and set about the cottage to burn it. At nighttime he set it on fire and it was completely destroyed. He departed the cottage ashes and made his way to Frankenstein’s home to seek his creator. In Geneva, he came across a child and discovered he was a Frankenstein and in his furry he killed the boy. He took Willaim’s necklace with his Mother’s picture and placed it with Justine as a mean prank on the family Frankenstein. He had read about such evil.
Chapter Seventeen
Frankenstein was requested by the Monster to create a female just like him and they would leave man’s world and go to South America and live in the Amazon with other wild animals and eat berries and nuts. Frankenstein agreed and returned to the village the following morning.
Chapter Eighteen
Frankenstein’s Father told him that he was pleased to see him in better spirits and that he wanted Victor to marry Elizabeth to bring happiness back to the family. Victor was not ready for this due to the impending burden of having to create a female monster. Victor contrived a story where he would go to England for one year and return and marry Elizabeth. Clerval was to accompany him. They had a scenic and happy trip. Victor procrastinated and wasted time visiting all kinds of historical sites. He wanted to do anything other than work on the female monster.
Chapter Nineteen
Upon Victor’s and Clerval’s arrival in London, they met with all the philosophers for Victor’s business. Clerval and Frankenstein received an invitation to Scotland. Victor left Clerval with the others in Scotland. Frankenstein found an island that had a few huts and a remote castle on a hill where he could work. Victor was sure the monster followed him. He fixed up his hut of two rooms. He found it difficult to stay with his labor and walked the beaches. When he worked he found it to be filled with horror. His worked progressed but it made him sick.
Chapter Twenty
The monster/demon showed himself to Victor and Victor decided to end his labor and destroyed the new monster. The demon screamed and shrieked. Later the demon returned and promised Victor death on the night of his wedding and despair. Victor did not care. He cleaned his laboratory and gathered the human body parts and weighted them with stone. He took a boat four miles off the coast and dropped the evidence. He fell asleep and awoke to a storm. Hungry and thirsty he spotted an isle and went to it. An Irish population received him rudely and he was taken to the magistrate to prove he did not murder someone on the island the previous night. Victor expresses pain at having to recall the next chapter. Here is where we learn Victor is relating his life’s story to someone.
Chapter Twenty One
Victor saw the magistrate and the magistrate showed Victor the body of the dead man. It was Clerval. A man in a boat was seen leaving the area about 10:30 p.m. – when Victor was with the isle people. Upon seeing Clerval Victor became sick with fever for two months. Starting to recover, his Father came to visit him and it helped. Victor was skin and bones. The magistrate had cleared Victor of the murder charge. Victor and his Father traveled home but had to stop in Paris because of Victor’s illness.
Chapter Twenty Two
Victor and his father traveled home and he and Elizabeth married. She was depressed because Victor had told her he would tell her about his horror the day after they were wed. She was depressed because he was depressed. Victor and Elizabeth traveled to an isle that now belonged to Elizabeth for their wedding night.
Chapter Twenty Three
They walked the beach. Later Victor was agitated and asked Elizabeth to retire while he paced the living room. He heard two screams and found Elizabeth strangled on her bed. Victor made a feeble attempt to chase the attacker but fell ill. He hired row men to take Victor to his Father. Upon the news of Elizabeth’s death his Father faltered and died three days later. Victor was arrested and became semi-conscience for months in a dungeon. Victor was identified as mad. Upon his release he went to the magistrate and told him every detail of the horror. The magistrate refused to help him hunt the monster.
Chapter Twenty Four
Revenge ruled Victor. He took money and jewels and went to the graveyard. Here Victor called upon all spirits to help him kill the demon. He followed the monster for months. Sick by the day, Victor dreamed of his friends and family at night, and it sustained him. The monster left notes on trees for Victor to find. The monster was headed north. The monster had a sledge and a team of dogs, stolen winter food and many pistols. He was headed for the beach. Victor ventured out on the ice and became ill and thought he would die. He saw the monster only one mile ahead of him. But then the monster disappeared and Victor was about to die when he saw a ship. Captain Walton continues the story at this point. Frankenstein told him every detail of his horror of an existence but Victor spoke eloquently of his love for his family and friends. The ship became lodged in ice for many days. The ice broke and the ship headed south. Victor had died on the ship. That night Captain Walton heard a hoarse voice in Victor’s room. Captain Walton found the monster grieving over Frankenstein’s dead body. The monster lamented his sorrows for all the murders and grief he caused expressing that all his soul really wanted was love and honor. The monster cried saying that Victor was his last victim and now he would take the iceberg he came on back to the north. There in the land of ice the monster would build a pyre and happily end his sorrowful existence. The monster jumped out of the window in Victor’s room and disappeared into the black waters.