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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTERS 11 - 13
The monster now begins to narrate his tale. In the beginning he tries to familiarize himself with his surroundings. He begins to understand his senses and gets used to the idea of being a human. At first he only wanders around looking for shelter. He is surrounded by nature. He enjoys the sights and sounds and tries to imitate the latter, but the sound of his own voice discourages him.
He comes across fire and uses it to roast nuts and roots. He starts to wander again, and early one morning, he finds a small hut "meant for a shepherd." As he enters it, the old man who occupies the hut runs out, terrified. The monster has some food and falls asleep.
The next morning he sets out again and arrives at a village at sunset. The children shriek and the women faint on seeing him. The villagers begin to attack him until he is forced to leave, all bruised and battered. He seeks refuge in a low hovel, which is close to a cottage. The next day he creeps out and sees a man outside but decides to stay there. He then sees a young girl with a pail on her head and a young man who takes the pail from her and carries it to the cottage. The monster finds a place in the cottage and remains there, unseen by any of the inhabitants. He observes them: there is an old blind man who plays the guitar excellently, a young girl who is busy cleaning the cottage and a young man who does the outdoor tasks. Later he reads aloud to the old man. But the monster cannot understand, as he is not yet familiar with language.
The next day the monster finds them at their daily chores. But he sees they are unhappy and later attributes it to their poverty. The monster steals some of their food, but he stops himself when he sees that they are hungry. Moreover, the monster also chops wood and, unseen, performs other tasks for them. He learns a few words, like "bread," "fire," "milk" and "wood," as well as the names of the boy and the girl: Felix and Agatha. He spends the winter and the beginning of spring there.
Chapter 13 marks the arrival of Safie, a friend of the family's. She is apparently a foreigner, an Arabian, who does not speak their language. So Felix's attempts to teach her their language prove to be useful to the monster, too.
As the nights grow shorter, the monster cannot ramble about much in the dark. He is still afraid of meeting humans.
The monster gains knowledge in the meanwhile from Volney's Ruins of Empires, from which Felix reads to Safie. He learns a great deal about being a human.
The monster awakens to his existence. He is confused, having already been rejected by his master and creator. This leads to loneliness, a sense of desolation and fear. He is like a lost child, but the pleasant sight of the moon comforts him. He draws strength from nature's wonders, the moon and the bubbling stream; in this he is quite similar to Victor.
He begins to explore things for himself and experiments with food. His plight is similar to that of a primitive man. He is fascinated by the sight of a hut and on walking in frightens a shepherd away. This is the beginning of his rejection by other humans. It is sad that although he means no harm, the people around him drive him away with sticks and stones, as if he were an animal. He receives the same treatment every time he encounters a human. These incidents leave an indelible impression on his mind. His hatred for mankind starts off as an intense fear of people.
It is not until he reaches the cottage that he understands the emotion of love. His experiences observing this family show that he is capable of sympathy. He comes across as more humane than any other human.
The gentle manners of the girl win him over. The love shared by the members of the family leads to feelings of pain and pleasure, such as he has never before experienced, and he finds that he is not able to bear these emotions. However, the feeling of concern for this family grows in him, and he longs to share their lives. But again, the treatment he had received from the unkind villagers deters him from reaching out. He displays an almost phobic reaction towards socializing.
The monster is touched by the actions of the two young people, who go without food in order to feed their father. The monster is definitely a sensitive being. He does his share for the family by bringing them firewood, and he refuses to steal from them. Moreover, he is shown to be curious and eager to learn.
This chapter also presents the characters of Felix and Agatha. The family is rather unhappy under the present circumstances. They are living in poverty, and are barely able to sustain themselves. Yet they try their best to rise above their sorrow and to be cheerful. They need each other, and it shows in the way they love each other. The entry of Safie further heightens their spirits, and they now lead a fuller life, no matter how poor they are.
The most touching episodes are those when they all sit together and sing. The life of the monster is now greatly enriched by the life of the family, and the situation seems almost perfect for him to introduce himself to this family. However, something holds him back.