Detailed Chapter Breakdown Including Quotes and Themes

A table of each chapter and essential quotes followed by a paragraph on each important theme. 

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  • Created on: 16-04-14 10:00
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Letter I Walton writes from St Petersburg to Mrs Saville, his sister, who
lives in England.
Walton tells of his pursuit of `icy climes' in the pole.
Quest into the unknown in order to discover knowledge and
power is established ­ `I may discover the wondrous power
which attracts the needle'.
Walton's narrative is the frame in which the other narratives are
The reader discovers that Walton wishes to conquer `all fear of
danger or death' ­ possibly a foreshadowing of Victor's wish to
conquer death and create life.
Reader discovers a little of Walton's early life. He was
`passionately fond of reading' and was basically self-educated,
very similar to Victor's early life. Perhaps Shelley uses Walton as
the young Victor, already on the path to destruction, but like the
Rime of the ancient Mariner, a conveniently placed stranger
puts him on the right path.
`I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst and want of sleep'
`Do not I deserve to accomplish some great purpose?'
`A point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.'
Letter II Walton writes of his progress to Archangel; he has hired a ship
and started to collect his crew.
He finds a lieutenant who is, like him (and Victor), `madly
desirous of glory'.
`I am twenty-eight and am in reality more illiterate than many
schoolboys of fifteen.'- Walton is constantly on a quest for
knowledge and this pursuit has left him alienated from his
family and friends: `I shall certainly find no friend on the wide
`My best years spent under your gentle and feminine fosterage'
­ a hint at a possible confused sexuality, mirroring the sexual
frustration and confusion facing Victor, heightening the concept
of Walton being a double for Victor.
`There is something at work in my soul which I do not understand.'
`Unallied to the dross of human nature'
Letter III Walton is confident about his quest: `success shall crown my
He doesn't seem to be able to comprehend failing his quest to the
`Southern gales, which blow us speedily towards those shores
which I so ardently desire to attain'
`The very stars themselves being witnesses and testimonies of my
Letter IV This letter is written in three parts over a period of two weeks

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Walton and his crew find themselves trapped in ice.
Walton catches his first glimpse of the monster: `the shape of a
man, but apparently of gigantic stature', `a savage inhabitant of
some undiscovered island'.
Victor is discovered and the crew take him on board, he appears
to Walton as `a man on the brink of destruction'.…read more

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Introduction of Clerval and the birth of Victor's brother, Ernest.
Fascination with lightning leaving only a `blasted stump'. Link to
the Prometheus myth ­ potential animating source; possibly
what Victor uses to animate monster.
Division between male and female roles are emphasised by
Elizabeth's interest in the beauty of the world and poetry whilst
Victor and Clerval seek scientific knowledge.
`I was...…read more

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I must absent myself from all I love while thus employed'
Chapter Victor infuses the creature with life, gives birth to it, and as `the
Five dull yellow eye of the creature open[s]', Victor realises (weird
that he hasn't noticed this before) how ugly and terrible his
`wretch' looks, he announces that the whole thing is a
`catastrophe', and is filled with horror at the creature's `watery
eyes' and `shrivelled complexion and straight black lips'.…read more

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A frightful fiend/Doth close behind him tread.' - ROAM
Chapter The First half of the chapter is a transcript of Elizabeth's letter to
Six Victor, she provides news of the family and offers sympathy.
She tells Victor of Justine Moritz, who has become a servant of
the family but is treated like one of them.…read more

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Justine was condemned'. She had confessed to the murder.
Justine requests to see Elizabeth, who goes to the prison with
Victor; they discover that the confession was made to `obtain
`Elizabeth's heart-rending eloquence failed to move the judges'
and Justine dies on the scaffold.
Justine's trial and death allows Shelley to comment on the social
injustice of the corrupt church and legal system. Elizabeth's
speech to the jury serves to demonstrate how unable she is to
deal with the outside world.…read more

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Augmented and rendered sublime by the mighty Alps'
`I had been the author of unalterable evils'
Chapter Victor gains some comfort from the `sublime and magnificent
Ten scenes', which gave him `the greatest consolation that [he] was
capable of receiving.' He decides to climb to the summit of
As he gazes on Mont Blanc he feels its l `awful majesty' and is
filled with joy.…read more

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He eventually `took refuge in a low hovel' adjacent to the cottage
of the DeLacey's and makes it his home.
The novel has now reached its innermost narrative, and despite
him being a savage, he is essentially benevolent and we see how
he looses innocence after contact with the world.
The chapter also raises questions about how far physical
appearance affects one's reception in the civilised world ­
Shelley seems to be commenting on the unfair nature of society
where attractiveness affects reception.…read more

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The family teaches Safie English, monster also profits from
these lessons. Felix uses Volney's Ruins of Emipires to teach Safie
which also teachers the monster basic history, politics, religion.
He wonders at the dual nature of man, who is all at once
`powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base'
(very gothic feature). This description blurs the line between
man and monster ­ humans are portrayed as both, even leaning
towards monster in comparison with the actual monster.…read more

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From Plutarch he learns `high thoughts' and is `elevated' `above
the wretched sphere of [his] own reflections'. He gains an
`ardour for virtue'.
`Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions' the
monster links his existence to that of Adam but also sees how
different they are ­ Adam was loved by his creator and ended
up happy. The monster has been thrown out of Eden, unloved
and neglected.…read more



superb resource, thanks a lot!

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