AP Literature Summer Homework
“How many things are we upon the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries”. Page 41
Victor Frankenstein really feels like God in this quote. He believes the entire world, excluding himself, are cowards because they do not ravage through piles of dead flesh and attempt to reanimate it the way he is undertaking. The ridiculous follies of his actions have not yet occurred to him in this quote. It reminds me of an article I read once about medical experiments being conducted on Nazi concentration camp victims. The Germans, in an attempt to further science, conducted thousands of experiments over many years, often without anesthesia, on helpless prisoners. Just like Victor Frankenstein, the doctors would argue that medical science would be advanced by their actions. Victor Frankenstein did not regard the creature he was creating as “human”, so his feelings simply did not matter. The Nazi doctors felt the same way about the concentration camp Jewish population, they were not real human beings anyway so why not experiment on them? Victor Frankenstein is the careless coward in this novel just like the Nazi doctors.
“The tortures of the accused did not equal mine; she was sustained by innocence, but the fangs of remorse or my bosom and would not forego their hold”. Page 79
This quote is one of my favorites in the book because the words are so descriptive you almost feel the pain of them. The “fangs of remorse” verbiage is so descriptive and exemplifies the Gothic horror novel this is. You forget when reading it that it was written in the 1800s. This quote reminds readers that Victor Frankenstein knows exactly who the monster is in this book, and it is him. There are at least 100 pages of him feeling burdened, but this quote wraps up his guilt as well. Victor really believes that Justine is better off than he is even though she is going to die on the next page, because death is easier than living when your crimes are as heinous as Victor Frankenstein's. You almost want to scream at his arrogance! He is so self-involved that he can't see that everything that's happened to him is his own fault. Mary Shelley really understands human nature. You have to wonder if she modeled Frankenstein on anyone she knew. It must have been hard to be a female writer in the early 1800s. I imagine there were a lot of megalomaniacs telling her that her thoughts and ideas meant nothing because she was not a man.
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change”. Page 205
At this point in the book, directly after Elizabeth's death, Frankenstein is feeling very sorry for himself. He must literally be the most self-absorbed man in the world not to understand the connection between this quote that he makes about his own life and what he has done to the creature. Talk about a “great and sudden change”, the creature woke up and was abandoned by his Creator almost instantly. The creature was forced to live for years figuring out what sunlight was, fire, how to feed himself, where to sleep, how do exist. Frankenstein lost his wife and considers himself the sorriest man on the planet. He may in fact be the saddest man on the planet, but he is not the saddest creature on the planet, his own creation is. Perhaps the part about the human mind is where of Victor Frankenstein separates himself from the monster. The monster does not have a human mind in Victor Frankenstein's thoughts. I feel this quote is a direct parallel between Victor and the creature because they both had a great and sudden change and neither were prepared for the pain it cost their very “human” minds.