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

CHAPTER 16

Summary

At night he leaves the hovel to start wandering. The next morning he cannot proceed because he hears a few men close by. So he settles down in some thick woods to reflect on the events of the day. He decides to take the old man into his confidence again and returns to the cottage. He finds two strangers talking to Felix and later learns that the family is leaving the cottage because they fear for the life of the old man. The creature sets fire to the cottage and moves on towards Geneva, a destination he finds in Victor's papers.

He usually travels only at night, but once he goes out in the daytime. He comes across a young girl who falls into a rapid stream. The monster rushes to rescue her and saves her. But her guardian is terrified to see her with him and tries to shoot him down.

For a few weeks he stays in the woods to let the wound heal and continues in the direction of Geneva. On reaching Geneva, he meets a beautiful child whom he wants to keep as his own. But on learning that the child is of the Frankenstein family, and on being insulted by him, he strangles him to death. He then takes the miniature of the beautiful lady and plants it in the dress of another young lady, whom he finds sleeping nearby. In this manner, the facts surrounding William's murder are finally revealed.


The monster concludes by demanding that Victor should create another creature, a female, to keep him company.

Notes

The creature curses his creator as the one responsible for his miserable existence. Besides, when the very people whom he cares for reject him, it only serves to provoke him further. He no longer remains the weak, timid monster who bore the blows of the villagers and traveled only at night for the fear of being discovered. He has now realized that he is powerful and is prepared to misuse his power to give vent to his frustration and anger. He declares "ever lasting war against the species" and naturally, also, against his creator.

But the monster still had hope, even after he was rejected by the family. He decides to return to the cottage. He should have become acquainted with De Lacey, won his confidence and then gradually revealed himself to the other family members. This observation reveals his capacity for rational thinking. This reasonable proposition appeals to him, and comforted, he lies down. But the nightmare of the assault against him continues to haunt him, and so he can have no rest.

Unfortunately, he is not to be united with the family, and despair sets in. His only link to the world has been cut-off. Now he is truly provoked into hatred and vengeance. His activities become more devilish. He lights a dry tree branch and dances with fury around the cottage, destroys the habitation around it and retreats into the woods.

He only has one mission in life: to destroy his creator. His thirst for vengeance is enormous, but he never becomes completely consumed by it. The spring is still able to cheer him up. He is still sensitive enough to be touched by the sweet sounds of the birds. He declares that he "dared to be happy" under such circumstances. His suffering makes him wonder if he could ever manage to be happy. He is aware of the fact that his happiness is always viciously snatched away. For instance, he is punished for having saved a little girl's life. He is always misunderstood due to his enormous size. One cannot help but think about Victor's overambitious plans of creating an eight-foot monster.

The thought of murdering William seems to give him great pleasure because he belongs to the Frankenstein family, which the creature by now detests. The biggest irony of the novel is that Victor's own creation is out to destroy him and his loved ones.

The monster's wish for another being, as deformed and horrible as himself, is therefore inevitable, and somehow justifiable.

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