Frankenstein Readalong, Part Two: Consequences?

In Part Two of the Frankenstein Readalong, Victor faces the consequences...sort of, more like other people suffer consequences for him and then he feels bad about it. 

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

In one moment Victor's life gets turned upside down. A letter from home arrives. It's from his Dad. Little brother William is dead. Murdered! It seems someone killed him for a necklace he wore. Victor heads home but not directly, he has to stare off into the distance at mountains and lakes first. 
Sad mountain staring

It's then that he sees his creation climbing up some cliffs. Instantly he believes the creature is the murderer. Okay...maybe, but why would he think this? I see this as some kind of transference of guilt for totally abandoning his creation to the world. He hasn't actually spoken to him, so he doesn't know anything about how he turned out. He just assumes he must be terrible. (Because you're terrible, Victor?)

When Victor gets home he learns that they've already found the murderer, that girl Elizabeth couldn't say enough good things about in her letter, Justine. (Told you she would be important). She was found acting suspiciously and with the necklace in her pocket. Poor Justine goes to trial and everything hinges on whether or not enough people tell the court what a nice girl she is. They don't and Justine is sentenced to death. Also she ends up confessing. 

Elizabeth wants to know why and visits Justine in jail. It turns out Justine was badgered into a confession by her Confessor who told her she would go to hell if she didn't. Great job, guy. Meanwhile, Victor just gnashes his teeth in the corner. He does a lot of this. Do people really gnash their teeth in real life? 

I'm imagining this

He says he can't do anything about all this because if he told the truth everyone would think he's crazy. Sure, but do something? He's from a prominent family. Bribe someone. Stand up and say, "I'm a doctor and although I have no idea who did this, Justine couldn't because of her tiny hands." He's done nothing and it's just not working. Also, he makes Justine's situation all about him. "The poor victim, who on the morrow was to pass the dreary boundary between life and death, felt not as I did, such deep and bitter agony."


So Justine dies. Victor sits around feeling sorry for himself. His Dad makes the family go off to the mountains to get away from it all. There Victor is confronted by his creation.

A Story Within a Story

The creature (let's call him that for now) wants to talk. Trying to talk to Victor after killing his brother seems like a bad idea. "Hey, let's talk before things get really out of hand." He's surprisingly well spoken. Lots of thees and thines. At first, Victor doesn't want to hear it, but curiosity gets the better of him. 

The creature begins his story. It's a story within a story within a letter. Very Inception. Anyway, at first the creature hides in the woods and quickly learns a few things: 1) people freak out when they see him, and 2) FIRE BURNS! (ok, he doesn't say this). He takes shelter in a wood shed/ lean-to next to a cottage of a family of three, a father and two grown children, Agatha and Felix. 

The family is very poor but also quite genteel and kind. This is good for the creature; who better to learn from? He keeps hidden from them and creeps on them, but also tries to help them out. One day a beautiful girl shows up. Felix calls her his Arabian. Her name is actually Safie. The family starts teaching her their language, both written and spoken. The creature wants to learn that too, how convenient! Everyone is happy even though they have another mouth to feed and no extra money, assuming that Safie doesn't have the ability to spin straw into gold. The more the creature learns and understands, the more he questions. He gets very existential. Who am I? Where did I come from? 

Yes, indeed, where? I guess he'll figure that out in Part Three since he's talking to Victor. 

3 comments:

  1. I cannot COPE with how much Victor is making everything about him. He feels sooooooooo much worse than Justine, he feels soooooooooo much worse than Elizabeth, like for God's sake, dude, get a damn grip. I hope after he finishes telling this story to Walton, the creature shows up in a jump scare and super-murders him.

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  2. Victor is a trial upon humanity, for real. If he was alive today he’d probably be in Congress *badumtish*

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  3. If I remember correctly, the rest of the story follows much the same path as what you have already read - a lot of existentialist thinking on the part of the creature, Victor thinking no one has it as bad as him, and so on. There is a purpose to this, as I am sure you have guessed, but it does make you wonder why screenwriters felt the need to completely change who the actual monster is in this story when they decided to make a movie out of it.

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