Frankenstein Volume 3

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Slide 1 - Tekstslide

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Frankenstein. Volume  III, chapter 1
Frankenstein describes Henry Clerval as “alive to every new scene, joyful when he saw the beauties of the setting sun, and more happy when he beheld it rise and recommence a new day.” Henry Clerval and Victor Frankenstein are complete opposites. He is not scientifically inclined. He’s naturally joyful. What does Clerval add to the story? What is his purpose?

Start reading from ' 'After some days spent in listless indolence, during which I traversed many leagues, .... And where does he now exist?' (pp 159 - 161)

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Frankenstein: Volume III, chapter 1 (18), p.161

Clerval! Beloved friend! Even now it delights me to record your words and to dwell on the praise of which you are so eminently deserving. He was a being formed in the ‘very poetry of nature.’ His wild and enthusiastic imagination was chastened by the sensibility of his heart. His soul overflowed with ardent affections, and his friendship was of that devoted and wondrous nature that the world-minded teach us to look
for only in the imagination. But even human sympathies
were not sufficient to satisfy his eager mind. The scenery of
external nature, which others regard only with admiration,
he loved with ardour:

The sounding cataract
Haunted him like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to him
An appetite; a feeling, and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, or any interest
Unborrow’d from the eye.*
[*Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey”.]

' But in Clerval I saw the image of my former self, and anxious to gain experience and instruction.  ... .' (Volume III, chapter 2)
Why does Shelley include Wordwoth's extract from Tintern Abbey in her novel? 
Shelley’s purpose in including this passage from “Tintern Abbey” is to highlight the contrasting personalities of Henry and Victor, and to tie in the theme of Man/Science versus Nature.
What does Clerval add to the story? What is his purpose?

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At its core, “Tintern Abbey” is a recollection of Wordsworth’s connection with nature, and, on a greater scale, man’s connection with nature; however, it is also a recollection of his change in attitude towards nature. The excerpt used by Shelley is surrounded with Victor’s description of Henry, and more particularly, how close he is with nature. “The scenery of external nature, which others regard only with admiration, he loved with ardour.” (Shelley, 161) Much like Wordsworth’s younger self (as exhibited in the first section of his poem), Henry loves nature for what it is. He embraces the “external” beauty of nature, but has “no need for a remoter charm.” Victor, on the other hand, is more representative of Wordsworth’s later self, seeking solitude, refuge, and meditation in nature. Victor can therefore be considered a foil* of Henry through his connection with nature. Similarly, Wordsworth’s present self serves as a foil to his past visit to the grassy slopes of Tintern Abbey. One could assume that in addition of simply being foils, Henry could also symbolize Victor’s younger self, at a time when he admired nature and the Alps simply for their beauty, and not the solitude and refuge they provide. 

foil: setback counter; opposite
Frankenstein: Volume III, chapter 2
Isolation is a common theme in Frankenstein. The creature is isolated because of its appearance. Victor is isolated because of his knowledge. How is this theme being furthered in this chapter? What are some other examples of isolation in the novel?

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Loneliness in Frankenstein manifests itself through the alienation of characters, whether by choice or forced upon them. From the beginning of the novel, Victor chooses isolation in order to further his studies. When Victor pursues his path toward knowledge, he leaves school and alienates himself from his loved ones. To assemble the creation, he robs graves and works in a far removed room in his house. His ambition drives him to build the creature from a mix of body parts and chemicals, but he never questions the morbidity of what he is attempting to achieve out of his selfish drive toward greatness. Once he gives the creature life, Victor is overwhelmed with disappointment and horror at the monstrosity he made. Upon seeing him, Victor immediately leaves the room to try and forget what he views to be a failure. The creature tries to speak to his creator, but once again, Victor flees, separating himself from his responsibility.
What does Victor's reminiscence about his childhood re-emphasize? Chapter 2, volume III, p.165

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ennui: a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement
blasted: damned; bleeding
bolt: a bar that slides into a socket to fasten a door or window.
Frankenstein: Volume III, chapter 3
Frankenstein destroys his second creation out of fear of her capabilities in this chapter. He feared that she would procreate, that she would be even more malevolent than her mate, and that she would not want to leave Europe. What do you think of his recognition of this second creature as a being with her own thoughts and feelings?


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 'I was now about to form another being of whose dispositions I was alike ignorant; she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate and delight, for its own sake, in murder and wretchedness. He had sworn to quit the neighborhood of man and hide himself in deserts, but she had not; and she, who in all probability was to become a thinking and reasoning animal, might refuse to comply with a compact made before her creation. They might even hate each other; the creature who already lived loathed his own deformity, and might he not conceive a greater abhorrence for it when it came before his eyes in the female form? She also might turn with disgust from him to the superior beauty of man; she might quit him, and he be again alone, exasperated by the fresh provocation of being deserted by one of his own species. ...... Had I right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting generations? ' 
Frankenstein, Volume III, chapter 3, pp 172, 173
What does Frankenstein make of the creature threat that he will ' be with [him] on [his] wedding night? Re-read specifically what he worries about. Do you think this is exactly what will happen?

Start reading from: ' You have destroyed the work which you began; .... In a few moments I saw him in his boat, which shot across the waters with an arrowy swiftness, and was soon lost amidst the waves.'  

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Frankenstein, French Revolution (1789), The Jacobins
Frankenstein is distinctly related to a particular period of crisis in humanism: the failure of the French Revolution. The dangers of radicalism and abstract idealism, ensued by brutal reality, are the impetuses that led Marry Shelley to put life in Frankenstein. .... Victor Frankenstein is the personification of the ideology that later caused the French Revolution to turn into barbarities and it is perceived through his seeking education at the University of Ingolstadt where Jacobinism flourished. Victor Frankenstein uses dead bodies to build new body, a better humanity – a new life and this proves that Marry Shelley thinks that the revolutionary zeal is already corrupted. ... The Jacobins, the unreliable generators of the democratic vision of liberty, turned into the selfish thirst for power, and thus, only usurped the previous political and economic leadership of the aristocracy and the church for themselves. Observing this, various revolutionary forces that opposed to so called the revolutionary government (mainly under Jacobins control) took action.
 Mary Shelley created a metaphor for the revolutionary French nation by the vision of a gigantic body, the Creature that, abandoned by its creator, turns its aggression against him. Mary Shelley seems to support her parents‟ legacy as she finds the negative effect of the French Revolution. However, she also felt that the Revolution was necessary to cast a new society. The tyrannical rule of the upper class had to be overthrown so that the oppressed can be freed. But it becomes evident through her writing that Mary Shelley never forgot the legacy of her parents. The French Revolution turned to be a movement which led the way to anarchy and destruction of human society, not one which supported constitutional democracy. This very idea stimulates Mary Shelley to paint the metaphor – the „monster‟, which is built for the good, but turns to be evil. (Sarker, 2013)


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The Jacobin Club was one of several organizations that grew out of the French Revolution and it was distinguished for its left-wing, revolutionary politics. 

The Jacobins were known for creating a strong government that could deal with the needs of war, economic chaos, and internal rebellion (such as the War in the Vendée). This included establishing the world's first universal military draft as a solution to filling army ranks to put down civil unrest and prosecute war. The Jacobin dictatorship was known for enacting the Reign of Terror, which targeted speculators and monarchists,  and led to many beheadings.

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Frankenstein: Volume III, chapter 6
After Elizabeth’s death, Victor complains that “A fiend had snatched from me every hope of future happiness; no creature had ever been so miserable as I was; so frightful an event is single in the history of man.” (p. 201) Victor and his creature both assert that they are the lonely ones. Victor, however, once had friends and family; the creature never did. How are Victor and his creature now alike? Since Victor is now experiencing a similar emotion as his creature, why doesn’t he feel sympathy for it?  Is it different to have had something and lost it compared to never having had something at all?

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Frankenstein: Volume III, chapter 7
Just before dying, Frankenstein says, “Seek happiness in tranquillity, and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries. Yet why do I say this? I myself have been blasted in these hopes, yet another may succeed.”

Has Frankenstein learned anything from the catastrophic outcomes of his experiments? What lesson are we to take from these equivocal last words? 

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equivocal: open to more than one interpretation; ambiguous.
Frankenstein: Volume III, chapter 7
The creature appears after Frankenstein’s death and speaks to the stunned Walton, explaining that even as it killed, it desired human companionship: “Still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned. Was there no injustice in this? Am I to be thought the only criminal, when all humankind sinned against me?” 

Now that you have finished the novel, who do you sympathize with? Who do you think is in the wrong?

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spurn: reject with disdain or contempt.

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malignant, malevolent: having or showing a wish to do evil to others
spurned: reject with disdain or contempt
Frankenstein: final questions
  1. Frankenstein is often used as an example of ethical vs. non-ethical scientific/medical procedure. Do you think that the way that Victor created his creature was ethical? Non-ethical? Should Victor have made his creature at all? Explain. 
  2. What is the role of fate in the novel? Victor Frankenstein regularly bemoans that fate contributes to the outcome of his experiences. Is fate really involved, or is Victor avoiding taking the blame for his own actions? To what extent are we responsible for our own lives and actions?

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In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a motif very commonly used is ice and cold. Ice and cold can be used to represent the mental instability and inhumane activities throughout the story. Ice and cold can also be symbolized as lack of love and death throughout the story

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PATERNALISM: the policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates' supposed best interest.

What are the associations made with Shelley's Frankenstein (novel & monster)?

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  • philosophical investigation into personal identity 
  • exploration of deeply embedded antisocial impulses
  • novel celebrating technology of writing
  • Frankenstein: technological marvel that runs around killing people 

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