HBL: Frankenstein Chapters 11-17

Summary of Chapter 11 Sitting by the fire in his hut, the monster tells Victor of the confusion that he experienced upon being created. He describes his flight from Victor’s apartment into the wilderness and his gradual acclimation to the world through his discovery of the sensations of light, dark, hunger, thirst, and cold. According to his story, one day he finds a fire and is pleased at the warmth it creates, but he becomes dismayed when he burns himself on the hot embers. He realizes that he can keep the fire alive by adding wood, and that the fire is good not only for heat and warmth but also for making food more palatable.In search of food, the monster finds a hut and enters it. His presence causes an old man inside to shriek and run away in fear. The monster proceeds to a village, where more people flee at the sight of him. As a result of these incidents, he resolves to stay away from humans. One night he takes refuge in a small hovel adjacent to a cottage. In the morning, he discovers that he can see into the cottage through a crack in the wall and observes that the occupants are a young man, a young woman, and an old man.
Summary of Chapter 12 Observing his neighbors for an extended period of time, the monster notices that they often seem unhappy, though he is unsure why. He eventually realizes, however, that their despair results from their poverty, to which he has been contributing by surreptitiously stealing their food. Torn by his guilty conscience, he stops stealing their food and does what he can to reduce their hardship, gathering wood at night to leave at the door for their use.The monster becomes aware that his neighbors are able to communicate with each other using strange sounds. Vowing to learn their language, he tries to match the sounds they make with the actions they perform. He acquires a basic knowledge of the language, including the names of the young man and woman, Felix and Agatha. He admires their graceful forms and is shocked by his ugliness when he catches sight of his reflection in a pool of water. He spends the whole winter in the hovel, unobserved and well protected from the elements, and grows increasingly affectionate toward his unwitting hosts.
Summary of Chapter 13 As winter thaws into spring, the monster notices that the cottagers, particularly Felix, seem unhappy. A beautiful woman in a dark dress and veil arrives at the cottage on horseback and asks to see Felix. Felix becomes ecstatic the moment he sees her. The woman, who does not speak the language of the cottagers, is named Safie. She moves into the cottage, and the mood of the household immediately brightens. As Safie learns the language of the cottagers, so does the monster. He also learns to read, and, since Felix uses Constantin-François de Volney’s Ruins of Empires to instruct Safie, he learns a bit of world history in the process. Now able to speak and understand the language perfectly, the monster learns about human society by listening to the cottagers’ conversations. Reflecting on his own situation, he realizes that he is deformed and alone. “Was I then a monster,” he asks, “a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?” He also learns about the pleasures and obligations of the family and of human relations in general, which deepens the agony of his own isolation.
Summary of Chapter 14 After some time, the monster’s constant eavesdropping allows him to reconstruct the history of the cottagers. The old man, De Lacey, was once an affluent and successful citizen in Paris; his children, Agatha and Felix, were well-respected members of the community. Safie’s father, a Turk, was falsely accused of a crime and sentenced to death. Felix visited the Turk in prison and met his daughter, with whom he immediately fell in love. Safie sent Felix letters thanking him for his intention to help her father and recounting the circumstances of her plight (the monster tells Victor that he copied some of these letters and offers them as proof that his tale is true). The letters relate that Safie’s mother was a Christian Arab who had been enslaved by the Turks before marrying her father. She inculcated in Safie an independence and intelligence that Islam prevented Turkish women from cultivating. Safie was eager to marry a European man and thereby escape the near-slavery that awaited her in Turkey. Felix successfully coordinated her father’s escape from prison, but when the plot was discovered, Felix, Agatha, and De Lacey were exiled from France and stripped of their wealth. They then moved into the cottage in Germany upon which the monster has stumbled. Meanwhile, the Turk tried to force Safie to return to Constantinople with him, but she managed to escape with some money and the knowledge of Felix’s whereabouts.
Summary of Chapter 15 While foraging for food in the woods around the cottage one night, the monster finds an abandoned leather satchel containing some clothes and books. Eager to learn more about the world than he can discover through the chink in the cottage wall, he brings the books back to his hovel and begins to read. The books include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Sorrows of Werter, a volume of Plutarch’s Lives, and John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the last of which has the most profound effect on the monster. Unaware that Paradise Lost is a work of imagination, he reads it as a factual history and finds much similarity between the story and his own situation. Rifling through the pockets of his own clothes, stolen long ago from Victor’s apartment, he finds some papers from Victor’s journal. With his newfound ability to read, he soon understands the horrific manner of his own creation and the disgust with which his creator regarded him.Dismayed by these discoveries, the monster wishes to reveal himself to the cottagers in the hope that they will see past his hideous exterior and befriend him. He decides to approach the blind De Lacey first, hoping to win him over while Felix, Agatha, and Safie are away. He believes that De Lacey, unprejudiced against his hideous exterior, may be able to convince the others of his gentle nature.The perfect opportunity soon presents itself, as Felix, Agatha, and Safie depart one day for a long walk. The monster nervously enters the cottage and begins to speak to the old man. Just as he begins to explain his situation, however, the other three return unexpectedly. Felix drives the monster away, horrified by his appearance.
Summary of Chapter 16 In the wake of this rejection, the monster swears to revenge himself against all human beings, his creator in particular. Journeying for months out of sight of others, he makes his way toward Geneva. On the way, he spots a young girl, seemingly alone; the girl slips into a stream and appears to be on the verge of drowning. When the monster rescues the girl from the water, the man accompanying her, suspecting him of having attacked her, shoots him.As he nears Geneva, the monster runs across Victor’s younger brother, William, in the woods. When William mentions that his father is Alphonse Frankenstein, the monster erupts in a rage of vengeance and strangles the boy to death with his bare hands. He takes a picture of Caroline Frankenstein that the boy has been holding and places it in the folds of the dress of a girl sleeping in a barn—Justine Moritz, who is later executed for William’s murder.Having explained to Victor the circumstances behind William’s murder and Justine’s conviction, the monster implores Victor to create another monster to accompany him and be his mate.
Summary of Chapter 17 The monster tells Victor that it is his right to have a female monster companion. Victor refuses at first, but the monster appeals to Victor’s sense of responsibility as his creator. He tells Victor that all of his evil actions have been the result of a desperate loneliness. He promises to take his new mate to South America to hide in the jungle far from human contact. With the sympathy of a fellow monster, he argues, he will no longer be compelled to kill. Convinced by these arguments, Victor finally agrees to create a female monster. Overjoyed but still skeptical, the monster tells Victor that he will monitor Victor’s progress and that Victor need not worry about contacting him when his work is done.
What is the “godlike science” that the creature observes? (100) Language
How does the creature read Paradise Lost? (118) Why is this important and how does he connect to it inother unknowing ways? (93, 101/2-the mirror, 120, 125, & 128 highlight references) He reads it as true history. He uses it to understand his own situation and identifies himself as Satan and Victor as God.
What impact does reading Ruins of Empires have on the creature? (107) What are his observations abouthumanity following this? How does this lead into the following pages where he questions what he himself is? He learns more about the world. He observes the complexities of human nature and how people can be both good and evil. He feels unlike humans because he lacks material goods and feels distant from humanity.
Although the creature initially declares war against humanity, what makes him give his “protectors” a secondchance? (126) What is the end result of the situation? (126-128) He realized that he should not have shown himself so soon to the kids and should have developed a relationship with the father first. The protectors flee the house so the creature never gets the chance to redeem himself.
What does the situation with the drowning girl demonstrate about the creature? (130) Why does he try torestore “animation” (130)—why use that word? The creature is capable of being compassionate but is greatly affected by rejection and wants positive recognition from humans. The creature wants to imitate the actions of Victor by restoring animation to the girl.
What is the creature’s initial intent with William? After the creature finds out who William is, do you think itwas his true intention to kill him? (131) Why or why not? (look very closely at his choice of words) He wants to take William and befriend him. It wasn’t the creature intention to kill him but he was overwhelmed with rage.
What is ironic about the creature’s statement that he “too can create desolation” (132)? How does thisconnect to other themes/motifs of the novel? The creature wants to inflict the pain he experienced from Victor abandoning him and make people feel the pain he has felt. It fits with the theme of parenthood.
How does the creature’s interaction with Justine set up his request? (132—think PL) Why does Victoreventually agree to build him a companion? (134-137) How does the creature describe their future lifetogether? (136) What is this a reference to? The creature sees the beauty of Justine and that makes him want love. Victor eventually agrees to build him a companion because he feels a responsibility for the creature’s happiness as well as the promised safety of man. He describes as an exile in South America. It is a reference to the evil of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost.
Given what the creature generally represents (an outward manifestation of something within Victor), why is itperhaps symbolic that Victor says “my promise fulfilled, the monster would depart forever” (141)? Alsothink about “the monstrous image” (173). Along with the physical monster leaving, so would the part of Victor that is overly ambitious without considering the cost of his endeavors. The creation of the monster has drained the humanity from Victor and has rendered him with a monstrous image since a created such a horrid being.

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