Frankenstein – Chapter Summaries

Preface Signed by Shelley, this part of the novel mentions the context of Frankenstein – the Alps and telling ghost stories.
Letter 1 Walton informs his sister, Margaret Saville, of his preparations for his journey to the N.P and his ambition to achieve “some great purpose”.
Letters 2-3 Walton is feeling lonely, the crew of the ship being no comfort to him. Walton talks of his “belief in the marvellous”. Letter 3 marks the start of the voyage.
Letter 4 The ship becomes stuck in ice. Walton and the crew spot a large figure in a sledge crossing the ice. The next morning, another sledder is picked up by the crew and taken aboard. It’s Victor, and Walton befriends him so that Victor will tell him his story.
Chapter 1 Victor talks about his childhood, growing up in Geneva and finding Elizabeth who is to “protect, love and cherish.”
Chapter 2 Victor grows up happy, with Elizabeth and Clerval as his closest friends. He gains an interest in science from the “utterly destroyed” electrocuted oak tree and the alchemist that stays with Alphonse and the family for a while.
Chapter 3 As Victor turns 17, his mother Caroline dies of fever after nursing Elizabeth. It is her dying wish that the couple marry. Victor goes to uni shortly after in Ingolstadt – where some lectures are pro and others anti Victors interest in alchemy.
Chapter 4 Very studious, Victor becomes isolated from social and family life. He becomes more interested in anatomy, death and decay. He begins his harrowing work on the Creature.
Chapter 5 The creature is bought to life. Victor soon realises his mistake in creating such a thing. He tries and fails to sleep, the Creature lurking over him. He runs into the city, meeting Clerval there. They return to Victors flat, the Creature gone – Victor falls ill.
Chapter 6 Victor receives a letter from Elizabeth. He shows Clerval around the uni, but Victor is getting worse and worse. The pair return to Geneva for a while to take a break.
Chapter 7 Returning to uni, Victor finds a letter from his father telling him his little brother William is dead. Victor rushes home, but gets stuck outside Geneva’s gates. Wondering the woods, Victor comes face to face with the Creature – who he immediately knows is responsible for Williams death. In the morning, they find out Justine has been charged with the murder.
Chapter 8 Justine confesses, hoping for mercy, despite telling Victor and Elizabeth that she is innocent. Justine is executed. Full of guilt, Victor falls into despair, knowing his Creature has killed two members of his family.
Chapter 9 Elizabeth and Alphonse try to pull Victor out of his sadness. Alphonse takes the family to the family retreat of Belrive to lift their spirits. There, Victor wanders through the Valley of Chamounix, happier but still grieving.
Chapter 10 Victor travels to the top of Montavert, taking in the sublime sight of nature. But then he spots the Creature who he angrily chases into a cave so they can “talk”.
Chapter 11 The Creature begins his narrative – from the initial confusion of his being, then discovering light/dark/hunger/thirst/warmth and burning, then being shunned by various groups and villages, before hiding in the hovel opposite the DeLacey’s house.
Chapter 12 The Creature observes the DeLacey family and begins to understand poverty. After realising he was stealing their food, he tries to make amends by gathering wood for them. He learns some language and their names – Felix and Agatha. The creature sees his ugliness in a pool of water. He spends the winter in this hovel.
Chapter 13 Continuing his observations, he concludes the family is unhappy. When Safie arrives, he notices how happy everyone becomes. Safie’s learning of the language helps the creature learn as well using Volney’s Ruins of Empires. From this, Creature learns about society, humanity, relationships, which only adds to the Creatures isolation.
Chapter 14 Some backstory to the DeLacey’s. Felix/Agatha and DeLacey = Paris. Safie = Turkish with a Christian Arab mother. Safie’s father got into trouble with the law.
Chapter 15 Scavenging for food, Creature comes across some books: The Sorrows of Werter, Lives and Paradise Lost – however, Creature believed these to be fact not fiction. This reading allows the Creature to read Victors journals, causing him sadness. After this, Creature tries to approach DeLacey, but Felix chases him off.
Chapter 16 Rejected, the Creature vows revenge on all humanity. In Geneva, the Creature saves the drowning girl, only to be shot. Then explains finding William and framing Justine. At this point, he asks Victor to create a female to keep him company.
Chapter 17 Appealing to Victor, the creature believes it is his right to have a partner, that his actions were born from loneliness. The Creature says he and his mate would hide in S. America away from man. Victor says yes, the Creature says he will follow Victor but cause him no problems.
Chapter 18 Victor doubts his decision. He says marrying Elizabeth is his only joy. Alphonse wants the pair to marry, but Victor wants to take 2 years leave in England – secretly he wants to go away to create the female creature. They reach London.
Chapter 19 Travelling through England and Scotland, Victor becomes impatient to create the female. Leaving Clerval with friends in Scotland, Victor continues north to a shack to build the female – but he hates everything he does.
Chapter 20 Thinking about the consequences of his actions, Victor looks up to see the Creature grinning down at him. He then destroys whatever there is of the female. The Creature, infuriated, vows to be with Victor on his wedding night. Victor takes his tools out onto a lake and dumps them. In rough weather, Victor is moored the next morning in a random town – where he is promptly accused of a murder.
Chapter 21 Mr Kirwin, the town magistrate takes Victor to see the victim. It’s Henry Clerval – killed by the Creature. In prison, Victor falls ill for 2 months. Then his father turns up to console him. The court finds only coincidental evidence and frees Victor back to Geneva.
Chapter 22 In Paris on the way home, Victor finds some letters from Elizabeth who fears he has fallen for another woman. He reassures her and when he arrives home, they begin planning the wedding. Victor reveals that he has a secret, but will tell it to Elizabeth when they are married. After the wedding, the couple head to the family cottage for their wedding night.
Chapter 23 Whilst walking the grounds together the same night, Victor becomes worried and sends Elizabeth back home to retire for the night. Whilst out searching, Victor hears Elizabeth scream – and realises that the Creature always intended to kill her and not him. Going back to his father, the added grief is too much for Alphonse and the head of the family dies. In a final attempt to warn someone, Victor goes to the town magistrate, but he doesn’t believe Victor. Victor goes onto to swear to destroy the Creature.
Chapter 24 Everyone’s dead, so Victor leaves Geneva. He tracks the Creature from a load of clues and letters the Creature left to taunt and tease Victor. The pursuit goes North towards the N.Pole . Here is where the narrative goes circular and we meet back with Walton – who Victor tries to persuade to continue his quest of revenge.
Walton’s Continuation The crew repeatedly try to convince Walton to go back to England – despite Victor encouraging them to go on and find glory. Walton eventually decides that when they’re freed from the ice that they will go home to England. Victor dies just days later. A few days after that, the Creature goes to see Victor’s body. The Creature then realises he has been an instrument of evil and regrets his actions. The Creature how says he is ready to die and heads off into the darkness.

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