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Free Study Guide-Frankenstein by Mary Shelley-Free Chapter Summary Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 9

Summary

The recent events have taken their toll on the family members, and particularly on Victor, who admits that he had never fully recovered from the first shock. He chooses to be alone all the time. However, his father mistakes his wish for solitude as excessive sorrow at William's death. He urges him to come to terms with it.

The family moves to Belrive for a change in atmosphere. The gates of the Geneva house are shut by ten o'clock every night, which makes it impossible for Victor to go out. He sometimes takes the boat out on the lake and sails for hours. At other times, he just lets the wind lead him. He even contemplates suicide, but the thought of further distressing his family discourages him. His desire to take revenge on the monster intensifies.

The father, too, is shaken by events, and his health suffers. Elizabeth has changed tremendously. She is no longer the "happy creature" that Victor once knew. She keeps reiterating Justine's innocence, and she continually refers to the crimes perpetrated by the murderer. This makes Victor uneasy.


He finds that since he cannot bear the anxiety any more, it would be a good idea to go for a visit to the alpine valleys. He particularly wants to visit the valley of Chamounix, which he used to frequent in his boyhood.

It is August, nearly two months since the death of Justine. He travels deep into the Alpine ravine and soon enters the village of Chamounix. He gazes at Mont Blanc for a long while.

Notes

This chapter concentrates on the emotional anarchy let loose in the house of the Frankensteins. Victor's emotions of vengeance, malice and despair can be contrasted to those of Elizabeth and their father, who give in to resignation and sorrow. Victor tries desperately to lead a good life, yet he finds no solace in it. The horrifying memories of his past life do not let him rest.

His mental and physical health deteriorate. He is interested only in a death-like solitude as a kind of consolation. His going to sail all alone in the night reveals his loneliness. He even contemplates suicide. Again, the themes of isolation, despair and suicide are typical of Romantic literature. A feeling of concern for his family, and for Elizabeth in particular, stops him. He realizes that it would not be right to leave them unprotected when his sworn enemy, the monster he has created, runs loose. Victor is constantly on edge worrying about what the monster will do next. He makes vengeance the sole aim of his life.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, is more resigned to her fate. She requests Victor to abandon any notion of despair, or of revenge over the murderer. Yet she finds it unbelievable that anyone could be so brutal to an innocent child. She unintentionally reminds Victor of his past actions. The chapter shows a steady development in the Victor-Elizabeth relationship. Both of them are more concerned about each other than ever before. Both are also highly protective of each other.

The scene also shifts back to nature, with Victor exploring the mountains on his own. There is a distinct sense of nostalgia as Victor relives his boyhood experiences. At the same time, Victor's escape into the mountains seems to be a deliberate attempt at escaping from his feelings, his memories and his past. He definitely feels more at ease in the mountains. The fact that he is able to sleep soundly is proof enough. This recalls the Romantic tradition of seeking solace in nature.

The author chooses to emphasize Mount Blanc, a towering mountain, which is remarkable for its size and power. It is an important landmark in the novel as Victor looks up to it and gains some amount of courage from it.

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