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Frankenstein Dialectical Journals

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“I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation… and diffusing a perpetual splendour” (7, 8). It is interesting to see how this person describes the North Pole because in reality the North pole is a place full of ice where few things have adapted to live. This person is speaking of finding beautiful things there and doing something great but it just doesn’t make sense because the North Pole is more of a barren wasteland than a place of dreams. “…I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven; for nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose…” (9). I think this line is absolutely brilliant. The way Shelly manages to word this is just beautiful because it’s so true! I can connect this to my life because with a steady purpose I can get things done and be successful. People have no drive without a purpose. “But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy… I have not friend” (12). This shows what the character of Walton is like. It seems like he is more antisocial and only looks to his sister as his deep friend. Now as he gets older he realizes how alone he is in life and wants for a friend. He is very particular in who he would take as a friend also so it’s like he has pretty high standards.

I couldn’t imagine living a life with no friends, it would be very sad and lonely. “We perceived a low carriage, fixed on a sled, and drawn by dogs… had the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature, sat in the sled, and guided the dogs” (19). I predict that the figure that Walton and his crew saw was that of Victor Frankenstein’s monster. I think that the beginning of the book takes place after everything has happened with Frankenstein. Even though it’s the beginning of the book it is the end of Frankenstein’s life. “Only one dog remained alive; But there was a human being within it, whom the sailors were persuading to enter the vessel” (19). This person I predict to be Victor Frankenstein himself. He must have been trying to follow his creation but failed along the way as his human body is much weaker and susceptible to cold than that of the monster. “I said in one of my letters, my dear Margaret, that I should find no friend on the wide ocean; yet I have found a man…the brother of my heart” (22). This shows that Walton has grown as a character now that he has not only a friend but a near brother.

He seems to be happier and livelier now that his greatest want has been granted to him. I think that Walton and Mr. Frankenstein will continue to grow close as the story continues. “He came like a protecting spirit to the poor girl…” (29). This simile within the story shows the character of Frankenstein’s father and it shows the relationship between Caroline and the father. The relationship as of now is one of almost a father and a daughter as Frankenstein’s father is protecting Caroline, but the relationship itself has potential to grow into a more romantic kind of relationship. “My father became a husband and a parent…devoted himself to the education of his children” (29). It is interesting to see the differences between Walton and Frankenstein and how despite their differences they have become almost like brothers. Frankenstein is a well-educated, older gentleman while Walton is a poorly educated middle aged man. “From this time Elizabeth Lavenza became my playfellow… her hazel eyes, although as lively as a bird’s possessed an attractive softness. Her figure was light and airy…” (30).

Elizabeth is described in such a way that makes her seem like the epitome of good. Everyone loves her, she is like an angel and will one day be Frankenstein’s wife. It is like Elizabeth is the light in Frankenstein’s life, she symbolizes good and purity. “If, instead of this remark, my father my father had taken the pains to explain to me, that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded… I should have certainly thrown Agrippa aside…” (33). Now I understand where Frankenstein originated his ideas for the monster from! It is interesting that all along it was his own father that strayed him onto his path of misery. His parents who he describes to be the most caring creatures in the end are the very reason he leads such a miserable life. Had his father properly guided him Frankenstein would have never continued to read through the crazy theories of Agrippa and other scientists and get the idea to create the monster. “My dreams were therefore undisturbed by reality; and I entered with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life” (34).

I can connect this to Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone because the main villain of the story, Voldemort spent the whole book in the search for the great philosopher’s stone which is supposed to supply the beholder with eternal life if used properly. The philosopher’s stone is also known as the elixir of life. “She died calmly; and her countenance expressed affection even after death. I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil, the void that presents itself to the soul, and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance…” (39). I can connect this to the real world and how the death of a loved one affects people. I remember when my grandmother died when I was six and how sad my whole family was, at the time I hadn’t understood what had happened but the aura that clouded my family for the months preceding the death was very present. “Elizabeth endeavored to renew the spirit of cheerfulness in our little society. Since the death of her aunt her mind had acquired new firmness and vigour…” (40). This shows the development of Elizabeth’s character.

Before the death of her aunt she was innocent and now her innocence has been shattered with the death of her aunt and it has initiated her into the role of the women of the house. Now it is Elizabeth’s job to be like a mother to everyone. I think that Elizabeth may even feel guilty for the death of her aunt because she is the one who gave her aunt the sickness she died from. “I was alone. In the university, whither I was going, I must form my own friends, and be my own protector” (41). I can connect this to how many seniors feel when going off to college in a new place without any friends. I know that when I go to college I will be completely alone without my parents or my friends. I will have to be independent, make the right choices, and find the right friends that will not stray me off my path of success. “… how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believe his town to be the world…” (50). This follows the saying ignorance is bliss. Frankenstein wishes that he had now acquired all the knowledge he had, and that he would have just stayed home and been happy with his native town. Had he not obtained all the knowledge he had at the university he would have not known enough to create the monster and ruin his life.

“But my enthusiasm was checked by my anxiety, and I appeared rather like one doomed in slavery… than an artist occupied by his favorite employment” (54). Frankenstein’s character has become really selfish and almost crazy. He spends every waking moment thinking about this monster he is creating and doesn’t even take the time to speak with the family he has left behind. It is interesting that he would compare his actions to that of a slave rather than a devoted scientist because even he is realizing that his obsession is becoming unhealthy. “…although wetted by the rain, which poured from a black and comfortless sky” (58). It makes sense that it would be a dark and rainy day on the day that Frankenstein was escaping his monster. Rain symbolizes sadness and dark symbolizes badness as well as sadness. “When I was otherwise quite restored to health, the sight of a chemical instrument would renew all the agony of my nervous symptoms. Henry saw this, and had removed all apparatus from view…” (69).

Henry is such a great friend to Frankenstein. He truly cares about his friend and this section of the book really represents the relationship they hold with one another. It’s more than just merely friendship it’s a sort of brotherhood. I wish that Frankenstein would just relay to Henry what he did and why he is so sick. It would make things so much better. “When you read their writings, life appears to consist in a warm sun and garden of roses – in the smiles and frowns of a fair enemy, and the fire that consumes your own heart” (71). The imagery used by Shelley in this line of Frankenstein is absolutely beautiful. It allows the reader to really see and feel what Frankenstein is trying to say. I know how Frankenstein feels too. I love reading and some authors can really take you to another place while you are reading their story! “‘Oh God! I have murdered my darling infant!’ “ (76). I don’t quite understand where William came from. According to this line he was Elizabeth’s son but then Frankenstein’s father refers to William as Frankenstein’s brother. When Elizabeth is Frankenstein’s cousin not mother so it makes no sense. Not to mention that Elizabeth is supposed to be Frankenstein’s bride so why would she have a child with someone else?! “She told me, that this evening William had teased her to let him wear a very valuable miniature that she possessed of your mother.

This picture is gone, and was doubtless the temptation which urged the murderer to the deed” (76). It’s sad that Elizabeth blames herself for William’s death. Even if the locket is gone that doesn’t mean that the locket was the reason William was murdered. It could just be something that the murderer took as a kind of trophy after killing poor William. I’m getting the feeling that Frankenstein’s monster had something to do with this. He probably killed William out of bitterness. “That dear child; he now sleeps with his angel mother” (77). This answers my previous question being who William is. William is in fact Frankenstein’s brother and I supposed that after Frankenstein’s mother passed away Elizabeth took the role as his mother. So Elizabeth isn’t really his mother just his motherly figure. “He is no longer a fit subject for pit; the survivors are the greatest sufferers, and for them time is the only consolation” (77). This, said by Henry is a very interesting thought. I would never before have thought that the person dead would not be a suitable one for pity. Now that I think about it, it makes sense because they are already dead and no longer need the pity of others. The people who need help and pity are the ones who are grieving from the loss of their loved one.

In the end I think in modern day society people need to spend more time comforting one another over the loss of a loved one rather than grieving and dwelling over their loved one being dead. “I passed through familiar scenes to my youth. But which I had not seen for nearly six years. How altered everything might be during that time? One sudden and desolating change had taken place; but a thousand little circumstances might have by degrees worked other alterations which … might not be the less decisive” (78). This reminds me of how it will feel like when visiting home after being away at college. You have memories and you expect things to be the same but you’ve been away for so long that you have no idea what things are like anymore. Everything could be different and go against everything you remember. But then there is always the chance that things could remain the same. The fear of things being different though, will always stay with you while you make your slow journey back. “The figure passed me quickly, and I lost it in the gloom. Nothing in human shape could have destroyed that fair child. He was the murderer!” (80).

I was right in thinking that Frankenstein’s monster was the murderer of William. Frankenstein has now found his monster and is convinced that the monster has done the crime even though he has no solid proof of it yet. “I did confess… ever since I was condemned, my confessor has besieged me; he threatened and menaced, until I almost began to think that I was the monster that he said I was…” (94). This can be connected to the way people can be interrogated today just to pull a confession out of them. After being up for days and interrogated for hours on end people tend to give a confession even if it is not true just to get out of the torture they have been put through. It is illegal now to keep people up for days and not feed them or allow them to use the restroom just for a confession but in some cases police will still perform those kinds of interrogations unlawfully and get false confessions. “We retired early to our apartments, but not to sleep; at least I did not. I remained many hours at the window watching the pallid lightning that played above Mont Blanc, and listening to the rushing of the Arve, which ran below my window” (108). This part makes me wonder where the monster is.

I understand that the story is supposedly being told by Victor to Walton but I feel that the book should also give insight to the monster’s activities. This book lacks in that aspect I feel as if I’m missing a whole half of the story because I have no idea where the monster is and what he has gone through ever since he was given life. “The rain depressed me; my old feelings recurred, and I was miserable” (110). Rain is a common thing authors use to symbolize sadness and bad. It is like the dark in light vs. dark. This being said, it is interesting that Shelley would use the rain to symbolize Victor’s grief coming back to him because in this aspect I would think that rain should wash away the grief rather than bring it back. Then again it makes sense because the monster was created on a rainy, lightening filled night. “‘Be calm! I entreat you to hear me, before you give vent to your hatred on my devoted head. Have I not suffered enough that you seek to increase my misery?” (113). Finally the monster has appeared! It is interesting to me that the monster and Victor have both lived miserable lives since the monster’s birth. Both of them blame one another for their miserable lives, in the end I blame Victor.

Had he not made the creature his life would be fine and the creature would not be alive to have a miserable live, everyone would be happier. “‘Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other, and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection is most due” (114). When the monster was given life his brain would have contained little knowledge on how to properly speak or communicate with others, so my question remains where on earth the monster learned how to properly speak. I wonder if even with his horrid features some kind fellow taught him and gave him knowledge. “Hear my tale; it is long and strange, and the temperature of this place is not fitting to your fine sensations…” (116). This answers my previous question on if we would hear the monster’s side of the story. Now I can be happy that a whole half of the book was not left out and that I will get to read about how the poor monster lived his life without anyone to care for him or teach him right from wrong. In the end Victor should not hate the monster it is his own fault that he did not teach him right and guide him to a positive path of life. “Finding the door open, I entered.

An old man sat in it…he turned on hearing a noise; and perceiving me shrieked loudly and, quitting the hut ran across the fields… his flight somewhat surprised me” (121). It is interesting that the monster does not understand why the old man ran. He hasn’t really encountered any other human other than Victor but the monster has to have some idea why Victor ran from him in fright. The monster is still in its stage of innocence. I can feel that, that innocence will be broken soon however, as soon as he encounters more humans. “The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me… I retreated and lay down happy to have found a shelter however miserable, from the inclemency of the season, and still more from the barbarity of man” (122). This is where the monster’s innocence is broken. He now realizes that the people are all scared by him and because of fright will attack him. No one will treat him with kindness because of his appearance but if they would just go past that they would find that he actually has a good heart. Now the monster hides from humanity and the longer he lives that way the more his heart will be eaten away by bitterness. “I saw no cause for their unhappiness…They possessed a delightful house (for such it was in my eyes), and every luxury; they had a fire to warm them when chill, and delicious viands when hungry…” (128).

This can be connected to the real world in that, people who have everything they need to survive are still sad because they yearn for more. Homeless people would love to have a house over their heads and food in their tummies but they are not given that fortune such is the same with the monster. To him the family has no reason to be sad and he is greatly confused by their sadness but to the family they are poor and in their minds they have every right to be sad about it. Instead of being happy with what they do have they choose to be sad over what they don’t, such is the human nature. “I discovered another means through which I was enabled to assist their labours… brought home firing sufficient for the consumption of several days…” (129). This is definitely my favorite part by far. It is beautiful to see the monster interacting with the humans who have no idea of his existence in such a kind way. Even after being so horribly mistreated by the humans before he still holds a kind heart. That is a beautiful thing in some ways the monster is till so child-like and forgiving.

It is hard to imagine that this kind creature could turn into one that would murder such an innocent little boy later in his life. “I found that these people possessed a method of communicating their experience and feelings to one another by articulate sounds…this was indeed a godlike science and I ardently desired to become acquainted with it” (129). This must be how Frankenstein learns how to speak he must watch the little family and learn from them. I questioned before how he could speak so fluidly to Victor but now I see that it was because of all the knowledge he gained from watching the family. I wonder if the monster will ever confront the family and if they will accept him. He has helped them with various things they need to look past appearances and see the goodness within. “I formed in my imagination a thousand pictures of presenting myself to them and their reception of me. I imagined that they would be disgusted, until, my gentle demeanor and conciliating words, I should first win their favour and then afterwards, their love” (132). It is sad that the monster has put so much hope in these people. I don’t feel like the family will be able to look past his appearance I think that they will run and scream just at the sight of him and they definitely will not listen to what he has to say.

I dearly hope that my prediction is wrong but as he went on to kill poor William I doubt it. Something had to make the monster go from this loving state to the bitter state he is in now telling Victor the story. I think that this family whom he feels a part of, their rejection, is going to be the thing that breaks the camel’s back and turns the monster bad. “’Felix seemed ravished with delight when he saw her, every trait of sorrow vanished from his face, and it instantly expressed a degree of ecstatic joy, of which I could hardly believe it capable…” (136). It is truly amazing what the power of love can do. Felix obviously truly loves this girl and it’s almost as if her being gone or them being separated is why he was sad all along. It is beautiful that they can be reunited once more. Love is a powerful force that can alter the whole disposition of a person this remains true not only in stories but in the real world as well. “She sang and her voice flowed in a rich cadence, swelling or dying away, like a nightingale of the woods” (138). Even if this portion of the story isn’t important I feel inclined to not it simply because of the beautiful use of figurative language here.

Shelley uses amazing imagery in this simile and it really allows the reader to see what she means when describing Safie’s singing. “For a long time I could not conceive how one man can go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments…” (140). The difference between the state of the monster in the story and his present state telling the story is immense. During this time he couldn’t imagine how people could bare to even murder another but in the present he himself murdered a young child! What is it that caused him to go from so innocent and kind to so bitter and evil! I continue to think that it will be rejection of the people that he has been watching that will change him but I still do not know if he will ever even show himself to them. “’Of what a strange nature knowledge is! It clings to the mind, when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on the rock” (141). The monster is upset that he has gained knowledge now and wishes that he had just remained in the woods only understanding the feelings necessary for survival.

This enforces the idea, ignorance is bliss, the monster was happier not knowing much and just observing the family when he was ignorant but now he yearns to be one and the more knowledge he gains the unhappier he grows hiding in the shadows and merely watching the family. He wants a family to call his own and he wants friends of his own. “The government of France were greatly enraged at the escape of their victim, and spared no pains to detect and punish the deliverer. The plot of Felix was quickly discovered, and De Lacey and Agatha were thrown into prison” (147). It is absolutely awful that Felix’s family took the punishment for Felix when he is the one who thought and committed the crime. It is even worse that Felix caused his whole family to lose all their fortune. This part of the story makes me wonder if France is really that harsh and would do that sort of thing in the modern world. I believe that the person who committed the crime should be punished, not anyone else. “Felix soon learned that the treacherous Turk, for whom he and his family endured such unheard-of oppression, on discovering that his deliverer was thus reduced to poverty…had quitted Italy with his daughter, insultingly sending Felix a pittance of money to aid him…” (147, 148).

It makes sense to me now why Felix was always so sad. My prior prediction that it was because his love Safie was not with him was correct but that was not the only thing causing him to be in such gloom. The fact that he was betrayed by someone that he lost all his family wealth and fortune trying to help was a big part of it also. The life of the family the monster is watching is a sad tale and it makes sense that most of the family normally seems to be in a sad disposition. “I revolved many projects; but that on which I finally fixed was, to enter the dwelling when the blind old man should be alone” (156). This is a very smart idea of the monster. His image is what initially scares away the people so he might have a chance of being successful if going to the old man first. I still feel as if his plan will go wrong though because the question on how he became so bitter still remains prevalent. “’At that instant the cottage door was opened, and Felix, Safie, and Agatha entered. Who can describe their horror and consternation on beholding me?” (160). I was right in thinking that the family would not accept him.

The old man was close to being convinced if only the monster had been given some more time, he may have been able to get the old man fully on his side. It is sad that the monster was shunned by the only people he really felt were family. This is what turned the monster bitter and I would say that this is what made the monster proceed to the next step of his journey, that being chaos. “’It is utterly useless,’ replied Felix, ‘we can never inhabit your cottage. The life of my father is in the greatest danger, owing to the dreadful circumstances that I have related” (164). The monster did not harm his father in any way! Why on earth did they need to leave the cottage and leave the monster of its only friends, I understand that it only human nature to want to run from a monster but the creature is not like any monster a person would normally run away from. This monster was made to resemble a human even if its features are way off and it is articulate and did not come across threatening. The only thing that made it a monster was its features, its insides were pure and loving. “The wind fanned the fire, and the cottage was quickly enveloped by the flames, which clung to it and licked it with their forked and destroying tongues” (165). Shelley uses amazing imagery in this line of the monster’s tale!

The personification used to give the fire life really allows the reader to fully see how the fire enveloped the quaint cottage. It allows us to feel how the monster felt watching the flames kill the cottage that once hosted people he thought to be friends and fuel his hatred towards humans. “”She continued her course along the precipitous sides of the river, when suddenly her foot slipped and she fell into the rapid stream. I rushed from my hiding place, and, with extreme labour from the force of the current, saved her…” (167). It is beautiful that even after all the injustices that the monster has faced he is still willing to help a human being that is in trouble. I do hope that this young girl does not run from him in horror after being saved. Maybe the innocence of her will allow her to give the monster a chance and make him feel welcome. As he killed William soon after this I doubt that a good thing will result after but maybe just maybe it will. “’ This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and, as a recompence, I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound, which scattered the flesh and bone” (168).

It is absolutely awful that the father, I assume, to this young girl would shoot at the monster who just saved his daughter. Does he not realize that it is because of the creature that his daughter still breathes life into her lungs! People really can be awful when in fear but if only someone would give the poor monster a chance. He still has a good heart and disposition. “’The child still struggled, and loaded me with epithets which carried despair to my heart: I grasped his throat to silence him, and in a moment he lay dead at my feet” (170). No amount of vengeance can justify what the monster did to poor William. He was such a young and beautiful child. He wasn’t even able to live out life yet! No matter how much hatred the monster had towards Frankenstein what he did just simply cannot be forgiven. All the kindness I saw in the monster is now gone. Especially now that it is certain that he killed William, before I did hold some doubt but now I hold none.

The monster is indeed a horrid monster after all. “I approached her unperceived, and placed the portrait securely in one of the folds of her dress” (171). Poor Justine! Why did the monster decide to do that to her! He did not know that she was of Frankenstein’s household. This monster is only full of hate now! Nothing can turn him back to the kind creature that he once was. It is dreadfully sad that Justine had to take the fall for the murder she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. “But one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me” (171). That is it! The power of love could turn the monster back to the goodness he once was. It is back upon the shoulders of Frankenstein! Victor caused this mess and it is his chance to get himself out of it. He must create the monster a playmate one that is just like him, and then the monster can live out his life happily with his new wife. It would be a lovely thing for the monster to have finally received companionship.

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