These images could depict some of the main plot points of Chapters 1-4 illustrating some main events in young Victor's life and development: his idyllic childhood and introduction to Elizabeth Lavenza, his mother's death, and his entrance into university. While these are moments are important, they are by no means the only significant points in these four chapters.
After having read these chapters, select a single passage (this may be a single paragraph or several) that you feel best typifies the action and Shelley's authorial intent in this section of Frankenstein.
Explain the action and context of the quoted passage (you must cite the passage) and then explain how your understanding of this passage supports your understanding, deepens the character development, and/or builds a central message that aligns with one of the unit's essential questions.
Your blog post must be 250 - 300 words, minimal errors in grammar and usage, thoughtful and thorough writing. Please use the assigned scientist given to you in class as your nom de plume.
10/11/2015 11:59:56 am
“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I preserve theirs. Pursuing these reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, might in process of time (although I now find it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.” (Shelley 48) In chapter four, Victor expresses his desire to take a life that is already gone and bring it back. He is not sure if it is actually possible to bring a dead individual back to life, but he would like to try it. This quote goes with the essential question of how scientific exploration and advancement could be both good and bad. It would be good to bring some back to life because their life may have ended before they got the opportunity to reach their goals. Another chance at life would return this opportunity to them. On the other hand, death can be a thing that is not meant to be “messed with”. In other words, some things were just meant to be left alone. Bringing a person back to life after they died can dramatically alter what their future. They may not be the same as they were before they died which could lead to a lot of conflict once they are brought back from the dead.
10/11/2015 11:17:22 pm
Of all four chapters, chapter 3 stood out the most to me. At the age of seventeen, Victor leaves his family in Geneva to attend the university at Ingolstadt. Arriving at the university, he finds quarters in the town and sets up a meeting with a professor of natural philosophy, M. Krempe. Krempe tells Victor that all the time that Victor has spent studying the alchemists has been wasted, further souring Victor on the study of natural philosophy. He attends a lecture in chemistry by a professor named Waldman. This lecture, along with a subsequent meeting with the professor, convinces Victor to pursue his studies in the sciences. In chapter 3, Victor utters some very important words as he relates to Walton how his chemistry professor, M. Waldman, ignited in him an irrepressible desire to gain knowledge of the secret of life. Victor says “So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation” (Shelley 42). Victor’s reference to himself in the third person illustrates his sense of fatalism. He is driven by his passion, unable to control it. The assertive quality of his statement foreshadows the fact that Victor’s passion will not be tempered by any consideration of the possible consequences of his search for knowledge. This statement furthers the coordination between Walton’s explorations and Frankenstein’s entrance into unknown knowledge, as both men seek to “pioneer a new way,” to make progress beyond established limit.
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps
10/12/2015 01:06:33 pm
In the first 4 chapters of Frankenstein, a crucial passage was "I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life... I was surprised, that among so many men of genius who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret" (Shelley 46-47). This part is important because it gives insight into the mind of Frankenstein and he plans to the thing we know he is going to do- create life. Especially in this time period, that kind of science was not popular and not appreciated, as shown through Frankenstein's professor who tried to persuade him out of his studies. This also shows something about Frankenstein's character- that he is determined and passionate to find the answers to the questions he asks and won't let someone else deter him from what he (at the time) believes is right. Another important passage was "I see by your eagerness, and the wonder and hope which your eyes express, my friend, that you expect to be informed of the secret with which I am acquainted... than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow" (Shelley 47). This shows a huge character change because at first, Frankenstein regarded this knowledge as something world changing; as something no one else (surprisingly) dared to explore in such depth. You would assume that as soon as he accomplished his goals, he would share his knowledge with the world as his idols did. This shows that Frankenstein was able to realize his own mistakes and prevent anyone from making that same mistake, he decides to keep his phenomenal discovery to hums and sacrifice the glory he once dreamed of.
10/12/2015 03:13:34 pm
In the second chapter of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Victor recounts a time when his fifteen year old self “witnessed a most violent and terrible thunderstorm. It advanced from behind the mountains of Jura; and the thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens. On this occasion a man of great research in natural philosophy…entered on the explanation of a theory which he had formed on the subject of electricity and galvanism, which was at once new and astonishing…” (Shelley 36). I think at this moment Victor “learned” something new, which is ultimately something he hopes to do. This experience enhanced his appreciation for the natural sciences, or “philosophies”, and started his fascination with studying the sciences. He goes on to say how “strangely are our souls constructed, and by such slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity or ruin” (Shelley 37), which foreshadowed Victor’s creation of his monster in chapter four. Shelley’s purpose in this passage was to demonstrate Victor’s absorbance in a field that is still relatively vague in his time, and to foreshadow a downfall. In chapter four, Victor was overly absorbed and fixated on his experiment, and he remained hidden from all social stimuli; he didn’t visit his family and he spent the majority of his time in his isolated laboratory in his apartment. His time spent trying to answer questions about our existence ultimately led to his distraught self. The purpose of this passage, and the first four chapters, was to set the mood for the rest of the novel, and give readers certain expectations in the future.
Vera Yevsts Fievna Popova
10/12/2015 05:32:32 pm
The first four chapters, we are introduced to Victor and his family’s background and almost as to how he ended up where he is. In chapter 3, we are introduced to a very tragic experience, which is the death of his mother. “She died calmly; and her countenance expressed affection even in death. I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil; the void that presents itself to the soul; and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance. It is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she, whom we saw every day, and whose very existence appeared a part of our own, can have departed for ever—that the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished, and the sound of a voice so familiar, and dear to the ear, can be hushed, never more to be heard” (Shelley 39). The quote is talking about how it was such a difficult time to basically accept the death of his mom because everything was complicated, he was going to college and things didn’t seem the best. I find this to have a large relation with the creation of the monster which occurs in chapter four. I almost feel as experiencing death, and not only that, but also the having to see Elizabeth affected by the lost. Victor cares a lot about Elizabeth, and he was already very upset to have to leave her for college, but now, it’s become worse because he has to leave her when she isn’t even in a good state of mind. His and her pain combine, encourage him to create some kind of a deeper interest on the death and the living. I also feel as though the creation of the monster were a coping mechanism after experiencing a lot.
10/12/2015 09:03:44 pm
In Chapter two of Frankenstein young Frankenstein's insatiable need to learn about the metaphysical, supernatural, and the science behind a human's very existence is highlighted. Throughout the chapter Shelley describes his thirst for knowledge through his observations of the world around him and his constant readings from the books of Agrippa, Magnus, and Paracelsus. The most important part of the text however was is towards the end when Frankenstein thoughts " Thus strangely are our souls constructed, and by such ligaments we are bound to prosperity or ruin […]It was a strong effort of the spirit of good; but it was ineffectual. Destiny was too potent, her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction" (Shelley 37). In these passages Frankenstein is foreshadowing his fate. He suggests our lives follow paths that directly lead to our success or to our complete annihilation. In the last sentences he states which one it is his soul led him on. In the passage he states that destiny is too strong a force and therefore no matter what good he did it did not change the course he was headed. In the end he will be led to his own destruction and Frankenstein knows this. This fate that Frankenstein is to face cannot even be averted by the outside forces he mentions in the passage. Here in these two paragraphs Mary Shelley is trying to point out that are lives are meant to be the way they are and that there is nothing that could have been done to make things anymore different.
Jane Ellen Harrison
10/12/2015 09:30:29 pm
In the first section of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor is telling this story to the reader, or Walton, and as he describes his mindset, he pinpoints certain parts where his destiny was chosen for him. He has these hopes and aspirations of “enter[ing] with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life…” (35). Personally this sets him up for disaster from the moment he had this thought. Man cannot hope to play God without dealing with consequences of them. That’s not something that humans are allowed to have unless they can sacrifice something great and even then it can turn horribly wrong. Victor doesn’t think of consequences like that, he just believes that this is his meaning in life, to find things to stop Death. This depicts Mary Shelley’s authorial intent for the section, by showing Victor’s slow rise into the God that he is trying to become, by attempting to control Life and Death. Victor doesn’t care how it’s found, or what’s done wit it after, he doesn’t consider the repercussions of what he’s hoping to discover, he’s just thinking of “what glory would attend this discovery” (35). This passage also aligns with the essential questions of ‘what consequences do we face when we don’t take responsibility for our actions?’, in that he has set himself upon a destructive path that he will choose time and time again not to get off of. He creates his own destruction because he doesn’t take responsibility for his choice to search for a way to play God.
10/12/2015 09:44:14 pm
Chapters one through four is where we start to get to know Victor Frankenstein and how exactly the creature he made came into play with his mind. We also learn about his family and friends, his overall background. Out of the four chapters, chapter three was the one that intrigued me the most. Victor has this real passion for nature and how to manipulate nature to find new observations. “I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation”(Shelly 42). This opens up to show that Frankenstein mind is very abstract and different. We can now see where his idea to make a dead creature alive again with electricity. These four chapters is where the story begins. He becomes so engaged with all this research that he became alone. He became distant with his family back home. I think the reason for Shelly to include all this information is the story is to help build the images and let the reader kind of see the inside of Frankenstein’s brain. I also think that Shelly wanted to use the role of family and how his mother died to help further stretch the reasons for the way he acts and thinks.
10/12/2015 11:10:14 pm
In chapter two of Frankenstein, we are introduced to Victor’s fascination with natural sciences and his beliefs in destiny. He described the first incident of natural disaster he sees and how it changes him. “When I was about fifteen years old we had retired to our house near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent and terrible thunderstorm…the thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens…while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight… beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon the dazzling light vanished and the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump…we found the tree shattered…entirely reduced to thin ribands… I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed ” (Shelley 36). Victor becomes totally entranced by how the storm annihilates the tree, something so big and sturdy. He wants to learn as much as possible about natural science and that is what he focuses on. His beliefs of destiny are essentially based on the storm. The storm has a direct path anything in its way is destroyed, that its force is too strong to over come. There was nothing the tree or anyone else could have done to change that the tree was going to be destroyed by the storm. Victor believes that each of our lives is already destined. That destiny itself is too much for someone to change. He believes he is headed for destruction. The death of Victor’s mother was hard on him, but perhaps Victor’s view of destiny helped him understand he couldn't control that. Shelby’s intentions are to make the reader understand that nothing Victor does will change the outcome of his life. That his life is decided, no matter what his actions are.
10/12/2015 11:59:43 pm
In these few chapters the stranger that Captain Robert Walton had help began to explain past childhood and his journey through his success. He began to explain about the happiness he had encountered as a child and the new addition to his family when Elisabeth became more than his sister he would state. One particular event in his childhood he recall was, “When I was about fifteen years old we had retired to our house near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent and terrible thunderstorm. It advanced from behind the mountains of Jura; and the thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens. I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight. As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. When we visited it the next morning, we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribands of wood. I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed” (36). This quote explain that as he was getting older he developed an interest in study the work of Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus because of this specific event that took place near his home.. After the lost of his mother he was send off to attend the University of Ingolstadt, where he was send to study natural philosophy. He encountered a professor that told him about his future success and other parts of science he should study as well. He was destined to become a man of science but he knew there would be many scarifies that he would have to go through during his study. He was afraid that his success would keep him away from his love ones and closest of friends that he had.
Josephine Silone Yates
10/13/2015 07:41:40 pm
Of the first four chapters of Frankenstein, I found that the passage, “’The ancient teachers of this science,’ said he, ‘promised impossibilities, and preformed nothing. The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted, and that the elixir of life is a chimera. But these philosophers, whose hands seemed only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope, or crucibles, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature, and show how she works in her hiding places. They ascend into the Heavens: they have discovered how blood circulates, and the nature if air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of Heaven, mimic the earthquake, and mock the invisible world with its own shadows’”, from chapter three was the most exemplified for Mary Shelley’s use of it in Frankenstein (Shelley, 42). I feel like this passage was of great importance to the first four chapters because in Victor’s professor saying this to him, he put Victor’s prior ambition for that science back into his head. In a way this professor rekindled Victor’s fire for practical science and pushed him to absorb more information from other branches of science. This push is what made Victor’s creation possible and what gave Victor hopes to complete what his idolized scientists couldn’t. In this quote alone, Victor could have grown on the interests that he had as a child of Heaven’s connection to Earth or even the revival of his late mother. From this conversation with his professor Victor later thought, “[that] the professor’s words-[were the] words of fate, enounced to destroy [him]” (Shelley,42).
10/18/2015 07:33:39 pm
In chapters one through four, the readers get introduced to the stranger that Walton let onto his ship. Throughout the chapters, readers get the idea behind Victor’s family life and childhood. In chapter three, Victor narrates about his mother’s death and the grieving he had gone through because of it. “I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil; the void that presents itself to the soul; and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance” (Shelley 38). In this quote from the beginning of chapter three, Victor relates his feelings to those that had also lost their loved ones like he had. He had described his mother’s death as losing her to an “irreparable evil”. In my opinion, I feel that this was the start of the downfall in Victor’s life. Prior to the third chapter, Victor had only talked about good things. For example, how he became best friends with Elizabeth and had a great friendship with Henry. Knowing that Victor’s life begins to take a turn for the worst after the third chapter, I think that this helps me understand what brings him to create Frankenstein in the future. Loneliness after the loss of loved ones probably led Victor into creating himself a companion. My understanding of the passage from chapter three helps me to better understand how family oriented Victor was. I was also able to understand how lonely he probably felt after his mother left him.
Ermine A. Smith
10/28/2015 12:59:55 am
In the four chapters that were read, the author begins to explain who and what Victor Frankenstein is like. The first chapter describes his childhood family and their situation. In that chapter the author introduces Caroline who is an orphan. In chapter two Victor becomes interested in a scientist who his father tells him isn't good, but Victor reads about him anyway. In chapter three, Victor talks to a professor who makes him believe that science can perform miracles. But all these ideas lead up to chapter four when Victor begins to study life and death and begins to believe that men should be able to reverse death. In chapter four Frankenstein explains, “A new species would bless me as it’s creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me…Pursuing these reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.” (Shelly 48). This paragraph sets up the main idea in the book. It tells what Victor is going to be focusing throughout it. Within the first four chapters Victor is already obsessed with this idea of bringing death back to life. The family oriented person Victor used to be is being wiped away because of this new fixation that he has. He seems to be creating an evil experiment by excluding himself from everything and focusing on his work, not only making a monster, but becoming one as well.
11/1/2015 11:14:21 am
In the first four chapters we learn a lot about our main character Victor Frankenstein, his family, his education and much of his early life. We see many things that were driving forces in how Victor behaved in his adult life and the reasons he pursed man of his endeavors(including reanimating life). As is studied in physiology the way people behave and develop has much to do with the nature vs. nurture effect. Victors early life in the first four chapters is a strong example of this. There were countless examples of how both nature and nurture played into his life, but, one of the strongest I feel is in chapter one When Elizabeth is brought home. Victor says "On the evening previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had said playfully, "I have a pretty present for my Victor--tomorrow he shall have it." And when, on the morrow, she presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift, I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her words literally and looked upon Elizabeth as mine--mine to protect, love, and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own. We called each other familiarly by the name of cousin. No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me--my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only"( Shelly 31). This passage not only exemplifies nature. But, nurture as well. you can get a lot of Victors personality out of this passage. The way he talks about Elizabeth is as if she is his toy or her pet or even more so just one of his possessions. Yes, a possession he will "care" a lot about but still merely a possession. I believe that some of this has to do with his genetics and having a bit of a sociopathic, narcissistic personality. But more so because of his parents. His mother jokes that Elizabeth is a present for Victor teaching him that some human life can be brought down to nothing more than an object or that other people are above other people. The sole purpose of Elizabeth is to be raised to be Victors one day mate. we see this in the line "Since till death he was to be only mine"(shelly 31). A line some what similar to a famous wedding vow till death due us part. We can assume that this isn't the first time one of his parents have said something like this, and int the first time victor has over heard his parents. This disreguard for himan life pared with hi studies in biological science and fascination with nature drives him to later create this "monster". But s this so called monster the creature he had created or himself.
11/1/2015 06:44:27 pm
In letter four of the novel, we are introduced to a stranger who we first find out is Victor Frankenstein. Chapter one starts off with Victor Frankenstein giving us a talk about his background and his life. His mother and father’s name is Alphonse and Caroline. This section of this book was about death and the corruption that it causes. Alphonse and Caroline got married because he became her protector because of the death of her father Beaufort. Frankenstein talks about his childhood friend Elizabeth Lavenza who is also his cousin. Elizabeth’s mother dies when she was four and she was adopted into the Frankenstein family. Frankenstein tells us about his fascination towards philosophy and natural science. Chapter three tells the readers mostly about his mother and how she catches scarlet fever from Elizabeth and literally begs Victor and Elizabeth get married. After she dies, he sets off to a University in Ingolstd and returns to intense studying in the science field. “She died calmly; and her countenance expressed affection even in death. I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil; the void that presents itself to the soul; and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance” (Shelley 39). This quote just describes how Frankenstein feels towards his moms death and how death has been effecting him in his life.
Berthe Hoola Van Nooten
11/1/2015 09:40:47 pm
In chapters one through four, one passage that stood out to me was when Frankenstein says, “I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed? It was a bold question and one which has ever been considered as a mystery; yet with how many things are we upon the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not retain our inquiries. . . I was surprised . . . that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret” (Shelley 46-47). During this chapter, readers begin to understand Frankenstein’s character more in depth. He respected science and saw it as the center of knowledge. He was very passionate about his studies and is a risk taker. He saw the creation of life as something so brilliant and was determined to accomplish it. This chapter marks the beginning of tragedy; however, he does not know this yet. He continues on to say “I doubted at first whether I should attempt the creation of a being . . .but my imagination was too much exalted by my first success to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complex and wonderful as man”(Shelley 48). This last passage shows that Frankenstein’s confidence pushes him to create life, but clearly his imagination gets the best of him when his creation is nothing close to his expectations.
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