AP English IV – 2nd period
24 January 2013
Frankenstein Annotations: Chapters 1-10
“I was their plaything and their idol, and something better- their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by Heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me. With this deep consciousness of what they owed towards the being to which they had given life.” This quote expresses Victor Frankenstein’s beliefs that it was up to this parents to make him happy and to succeed in life. The last line expresses a belief that any parent owed it to their child happiness and love by bringing them to life. Frankenstein is being hypocritical, putting so much responsibility and pressure on his parents when he, himself will not take on the same responsibilities when it is laid out in front of him. “They consulted their village priest, and the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents' house--my more than sister--the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures.”
Elizabeth’s beauty is a sign of her inner goodness. (Halo Effect in Psych) “Everyone loved Elizabeth. The passionate and almost reverential attachment with which all regarded her became, while I shared it, my pride and my delight. On the evening previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had said playfully, ‘I have a pretty present for my Victor--tomorrow he shall have it.’ And when, on the morrow, she presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift, I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her words literally and looked upon Elizabeth as mine--mine to protect, love, and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own. We called each other familiarly by the name of cousin. No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me--my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only.”
Victor sees that Elizabeth’s beauty is the reason people love her. Yet this seems to be the reason he loves her himself. “When my father returned from Milan, he found playing with me in the hall of our villa a child fairer than pictured cherub… They were fond of the sweet orphan. Her presence had seemed a blessing to them… the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents’ house--my more than sister--the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures.”
Although Elizabeth is welcomed into Victor’s family, her being an orphan reminds us that family that can be destroyed at any moment. Chapter 2
“Destiny was too potent, and her immutable law had decreed my utter and terrible destruction.” Dr. Frankenstein cannot take blame for his immoral actions in life. First he gives his parents the sole responsibility for how he turns out and if he is happy or not, now he is blaming destiny for the actions that are out of his parents control. “Wealth was an inferior object; but what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death!”
Dr. Frankenstein says that he did not start this for the money but for the pure purpose of the glory for being the first man to discover something. Similar to Walton in the beginning of the book, he wants to make a mark in the world for himself. “Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate... A new light seemed to dawn upon my mind, and bounding with joy, I communicated my discovery to my father. My father looked carelessly at the title page of my book and said, ‘Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.’"
Victor learns that his interest in alchemy is useless and that such a field is outdated. Instead, science and natural philosophy are the accepted forms of thought. “As I stood at the door, on a sudden I...