By Mary Shelly
The stranger who is written about in the letters is revealed to be Victor Frankenstein. He then begins his narration of the tale that brought him onto the ice floe where he was rescued by Walton. He provides his background and tells the reader about his family. That includes information about his birth and what life was like in his early childhood years. He also tells Walton about his mother and father. He talks of how his mother met his father and how she came to live with the Frankenstein family when her father died. Victor's father and Caroline's father were long-time friends. Alphonse took Caroline in and protected her when her father died. Eventually they married, and it was not long until Victor was born. Victor then talks about Elizabeth Lavenza, his childhood companion. She entered the family in one of two ways depending on the version of the book the reader has.
In the original version, published in 1818, Elizabeth is the daughter of Alphonse's sister and a cousin to Victor. Elizabeth loses her mother when Victor is four and Elizabeth is adopted by Alphonse. In the revised version, published in 1831, Elizabeth is found on a trip to Italy. Caroline discovers her. Victor is approximately five years old when this happens, and Elizabeth stands out from the crowd because she is fair-haired. Most of the Italian children have dark hair. Elizabeth is said to be an orphan, and the daughter of a German woman and a nobleman from Milan. The Italian family that is caring for her is having trouble, and is scarcely able to provide her enough food. Caroline decides that she will adopt Elizabeth and take her back to Geneva with her. At the time of adoption, Caroline also wants to see Elizabeth and Victor get married someday.
The friendships that are highlighted in this chapter are very important, because friendship is such a significant theme that runs through the entire novel. The friendship between Victor and Elizabeth is particularly interesting because it indicates that Victor looks after her and cherishes her as if...Sign up to continue reading Chapter 1 to Chapter 6 >