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

CHAPTER 24

Summary

Victor decides to leave Geneva to look for the monster. He goes to the cemetery where his loved ones are buried. He vows to avenge their unnatural deaths. Just then, the monster whispers that he is satisfied that Victor has decided to remain alive.

Victor now follows the monster everywhere he goes, to the Rhône, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, but the monster always escapes. In the wilds of Tartary and Russia, he follows him. Sometimes the peasants inform him of the monster's tracks, which are found on the snow. Victor endures all kinds of hardships to remain in pursuit of the monster.

Victor often dreams of his loved ones, and this comforts him. Sometimes the monster leaves inscriptions on the bark of trees. This further provokes Victor to seek revenge. He pursues the monster northward and procures a sled and dogs to cross the snow. He arrives in a village in two days where he hopes to intercept the monster. The monster has stolen his food supply and disappeared. They think he is probably dead.

Victor gets himself a new sled and stocks up with provisions for his journey. Then he sees the monster before him at barely a mile's distance. Unfortunately, he loses track of the monster once again, and now the sea itself separates him from his enemy. Several of his dogs die during the journey, and he becomes intensely depressed. It is at this point that he encounters Robert Walton's vessel. Victor now pleads with Robert to kill the monster, since he has been unsuccessful in his attempt.

The chapter concludes with a return to the epistolary form. There are five more short letters that Robert Walton writes to his sister, and these convey to the reader the end of Frankenstein's story. Robert writes that he believes that the monster really exists. He has even tried to acquire the secret of his creation, but Victor has discouraged him in this matter.

Victor himself corrects or adds to the notes that Robert has been making regarding the former's history. Robert, who has so far longed to have a friend, is now afraid of losing Victor. Victor has realized the value of his loved ones and teaches Robert a few lessons in companionship.


Robert is still rather enthusiastic about his voyage despite the perils involved. But his sailors demand that they return home once they can break free from the ice. Victor reprimands them and scoffs at their "manliness." But all efforts to continue are useless, and they are obliged to return to England. Victor finally dies, requesting that they destroy the monster. Then, Robert is witness to the monster's repenting for his evil deeds.

He hears something in Victor's cabin, and he discovers the monster standing over his creator's dead body. The monster confesses that he did feel pity for Victor, especially after he had killed Henry Clerval. But his envy and outrage always got the better of him. Nevertheless, the monster insists that he was naturally good, but that Victor's rejection and man's unkindness made him evil. He decides that he will kill himself with fire. The monster, regretful and repentant, is soon lost "in darkness and distance."

Notes

The concluding chapter of the book ends on a tragic note with Victor's death. For a long time, his only aim in life has been the destruction of the monster. What one finds striking in the novel is that the monster does not have a name. Victor had created him and given him life, but he never gave him an identity through a name. This shows the alienation and anonymity that oppress the monster.

The mood becomes distinctly eerie as Victor enters the cemetery where his loved ones are buried. He talks about the solemnity of the atmosphere. He says the "spirits of the departed seemed to flit around and cast a shadow, which was felt but not seen, around the head of the mourner." He feels only deep grief, which is later replaced by rage and despair. As if to strengthen his motivation, he vows to find the killer. Even at the grave, he does not find peace but is carried away by vengeance. In this mission of destruction he believes that the spirits guarded him and gave him strength so that he could fulfill his "pilgrimage."

Every time he comes close to the monster, he loses track of him almost as quickly as he sees him. Once, he is actually separated from the creature by the sea. Destiny seems to have a hand in preventing Victor from killing his creation. Victor knows that he may not be successful in his attempt, and he therefore leaves Robert in charge, assuming that Robert, too, believes the monster is evil and must die.

Victor fails to realize until his death that the monster, too, had taken a vow of vengeance: he vowed to destroy Victor by isolating him from his loved ones, and he has succeeded. Now that the monster has destroyed his family, he has destroyed Victor. Therefore, one could conclude that Victor's fears of the monster's killing other humans are unfounded, since the monster does not go on a killing spree. It is Victor's desire for vengeance that spurs him to track him down and destroy him.

It is interesting to note that Robert wants to learn the secret of creating a human being, even after hearing this cautionary tale. Victor's saga has proven that human curiosity knows no bounds; the need to probe into the forbidden, the unknown and the supernatural is human.

Victor still retains his idea of "manliness" and cannot tolerate the sailors' request to return home. He reproaches them for not being man enough to overcome obstacles. Victor's ambition is to live through these young sailors. At the end of his life, Victor remains essentially unchanged. He has been destroyed mentally, he has been wrecked emotionally, but at the core, he is still the bright, ambitious and immature Victor, whom the readers first encounter in the laboratory. He dies unfulfilled, repeating his cherished request to Robert. He feels he is justified in this desire for vengeance because he is backed by "reason and virtue."

On encountering the monster, Robert reprimands him and tries to take charge. He is evidently influenced by Victor's words. But the monster himself admits his remorse at Victor's death and declares that he will destroy himself. He talks about having fallen prey to feelings yet unsatisfied, but the meaning is left ambiguous by the author. It is unclear whether his unquenched desire--for love, or for murder and destruction--lies dormant within him.

Nevertheless, he chooses to kill himself, repenting his evil deeds, and is lost in darkness and distance, like a fading memory. The author leaves the book open-ended and this further evokes a sense of horror. One does not know if the monster will return again to haunt mankind.

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