1st March 2018

Frankenstein Timeline

Activity 1.) Timeline of Main story (Chapter 1 onward)

Victor Frankenstein is a child, Geneva is his home
– “I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic”
– “No human being could have passe a happier childhood than myself”
– “We felt that they were not the tyrants to rule our lot according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the many delights which we enjoyed. When I mingled with other families I distinctly discerned how peculiarly fortunate my lot was, and gratitude assisted the development of filial love.”
Learn about his family; mum, dad, adopted sister (to-be wife)
– “They consulted their village priest, and the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents’ house–my more than sister–the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures”
– “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.”

Chapters 1 and 2 focus on his family, and we are introduced to many of the instruments of his downfall. (Agrippa, obsession with knowledge, ‘creation’)
– “We (Elizabeth) were brought up together; there was not quite a year difference in our ages. I need not say that we were strangers to any species of disunion or dispute. Harmony was the soul of our companionship–”
– “I was capable of a more intense application and was more deeply smitten with the thirst for knowledge”
– “I delighted in investigating their causes. The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as they were unfolded to me, are among the earliest sensations I can remember.”
– “It was my temper to avoid a crowd and to attach myself fervently to a few.”
– “I feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind and changed its bright visions of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon self”
– “‘Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.” — “It is even possible that the train of my ideas would never have received the fatal impulse that led to my ruin. But the cursory glance my father had taken of my volume by no means assured me that he was acquainted with its contents, and I continued to read with the greatest avidity”

Victor is about to leave for Ingolstadt to go to university
– “When I had attained the age of seventeen my parents resolved that I should become a student at the university of Ingolstadt”

Just before he leaves, Elizabeth (adopted sister) catches scarlet fever. She recovers, but their mother comes down with it as well, and dies.
Victor leaves for university
– “before the day resolved upon could arrive, the first misfortune of my life occurred—an omen, as it were, of my future misery.”
– “During her illness many arguments had been urged to persuade my mother to refrain from attending upon her. She had at first yielded to our entreaties, but when she heard that the life of her favourite was menaced, she could no longer control her anxiety. She attended her sickbed; her watchful attentions triumphed over the malignity of the distemper—Elizabeth was saved, but the consequences of this imprudence were fatal to her preserver.”

Meets his philosophy teacher, conflicting views, teacher thinks that what he has studied his whole life is ‘nonsense’ (-Angel of destruction)
– “‘Have you,’ he said, ‘really spent your time in studying such nonsense?’ I replied in the affirmative. ‘Every minute,’ continued M. Krempe with warmth, ‘every instant that you have wasted on those books is utterly and entirely lost. You have burdened your memory with exploded systems and useless names. Good God! In what desert land have you lived, where no one was kind enough to inform you that these fancies which you have so greedily imbibed are a thousand years old and as musty as they are ancient? I little expected, in this enlightened and scientific age, to find a disciple of Albertus Magnus and Paracelsus. My dear sir, you must begin your studies entirely anew.”
– “M. Krempe was a little squat man with a gruff voice and a repulsive countenance; the teacher, therefore, did not prepossess me in favour of his pursuits.”

Meets his chemistry teacher, who inspires him and gives him hope that its not all nonsense
– “This professor was very unlike his colleague.”
– “With an aspect expressive of the greatest benevolence; a few grey hairs covered his temples, but those at the back of his head were nearly black. His person was short but remarkably erect and his voice the sweetest I had ever heard.”
– “The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted and that the elixir of life Frankenstein is a chimera but these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, 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 the blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows.’ Such were the professor’s words—rather let me say such the words of the fate—enounced to destroy me. As he went on I felt as if my soul were grappling with a palpable enemy; one by one the various keys were touched which formed the mechanism of my being; chord after chord was sounded, and soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. 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.”
– “His manners in private were even more mild and attractive than in public, for there was a certain dignity in his mien during his lecture which in his own house was replaced by the greatest affability and kindness.”
– “Thus ended a day memorable to me; it decided my future destiny.” — After M. Waldman gives Victor his books, and hows him his laboratory.

Natural Philosophy and Chemistry become Victor’s sole occupations
– “From this day natural philosophy, and particularly chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became nearly my sole occupation.”
– “I read with ardour those works, so full of genius and discrimination, which modern inquirers have written on these subjects.”

Even though he dislikes him, Victor admits that M. Krempe has a lot to offer him and is very intelligent, he respects that.
– “I found even in M. Krempe a great deal of sound sense and real information, combined, it is true, with a repulsive physiognomy and manners, but not on that account the less valuable.”

Victor very much admires M. Waldman
– “In M. Waldman I found a true friend.”

Becomes infatuated with life, how life works. Begins research on the dead, two years pass, he doesn’t visit his family
– “Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of some discoveries which I hoped to make.”
– “One of the phenomena which had peculiarly attracted my attention was the structure of the human frame, and, indeed, any animal endued with life.”
– “To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death.”
– “Darkness had no effect upon my fancy, and a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life–”
– “Now I was led to examine the cause and progress of this decay and forced to spend days and nights in vaults and charnel-houses. My attention was fixed upon every object the most insupportable to the delicacy of the human feelings. 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 saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain.”
– “Unless I had been animated by an almost supernatural enthusiasm, my application to this study would have been irksome and almost intolerable.”

Tells us he has discovered a secret
– “Until from the midst of this darkness a sudden light broke in upon me—a light so brilliant and wondrous, 52 Frankenstein yet so simple, that while I became dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, 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.”
– “The astonishment which I had at first experienced on this discovery soon gave place to delight and rapture. After so much time spent in painful labour, to arrive at once at the summit of my desires was the most gratifying consummation of my toils. But this discovery was so great and overwhelming that all the steps by which I had been progressively led to it were obliterated, and I beheld only the result. What had been the study and desire of the wisest men since the creation of the world was now within my grasp.”

But he refuses to reveal it because it will destroy anyone who knows it, like it did him
– “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; that cannot be; listen patiently until the end of my story, and you will easily perceive why I am reserved upon that subject”

He begins his research into the secret, giving life to a dead body, interrupting the natural chain —- note for late (he went too far, he was punished for messing up natural processes)
– “My cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement.”
– “the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places.” —– come back to this, important
– “Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay?” Victor’s research involved awful acts and he looks upon them fearfully
– “but then a resistless and almost frantic impulse urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit.” — his morals were suppressed by this obsession with his research.
“In a solitary chamber, or rather
cell, at the top of the house–” He refers to his lab as a prison, he is held prisoner by his pursuits
– “my eyeballs were starting from their sockets in attending to the details of my employment.”

-“The dissecting room and the slaughter-house furnished many of my materials; and often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion.” — Victors humanity and morals attempt to gain more control than his need for knowledge but fail. VERY IMPORTANT

  • “The summer months passed while I was thus engaged, heart and soul, in one pursuit. It was a most beautiful season; never did the fields bestow a more plentiful harvest or the vines yield a more luxuriant vintage, but my eyes were insensible to the charms of nature” — He is ignorant to everything but his research
  • “And the same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I had not seen for so long a time.” — again

  • “A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquillity. I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.” — here Victor contradicts ALL of his actions in the past months. Is by saying his study is ‘not befitting the human mind’ Victor’s way of describing himself as a supernatural being? as a god? Because of the secret he discovered he has transcended all other human beings and does no longer “play on the same field” as his peers, he plays on the field of gods.

  • “If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any
    pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquillity of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved, Caesar would have spared his country, America would have been discovered more gradually, and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed.” — if people always listened to their morals then nothing would ever progress, nothing would ever happen.
  • “Winter, spring, and summer passed away during my labours; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves—sights which before always yielded me supreme delight—so deeply was I engrossed in my occupation.” — Again he says that he ignores everything but his studies


CHAPTER 5 Victor brings the creature to life, he succeeds in his endeavours

-“It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.”
-“How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form?”





The Letters
Robert Walton captained the ship
– “You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.” – Foreshadowed (Walton’s sister didn’t like that she was doing this expedition
– “I have hired a vessel and am occupied in collecting my sailors; those whom I have already engaged appear to be men on whom I can depend and are certainly possessed of dauntless courage.”

Sailed into the Arctic
Stuck on ice + saw gigantic figure on sled
– “So strange an accident has happened to us that I cannot forbear recording it–”
– “we were nearly surrounded by ice, which closed in the ship on all sides, scarcely leaving her the sea-room in which she floated.”

Picked up ill man (Victor Frankenstein)
Walton and Frankenstein develop friendship
– “For my own part, I begin to love him as a brother, and his constant and deep grief fills me with sympathy and compassion.”
– “I said in one of my letters, my dear Margaret, that I should find no friend on the wide ocean; yet I have found a man who, before his spirit had been broken by misery, I should have been happy to have possessed as the brother of my heart.”
Frankenstein begins to tell Walton his story (main story begins)


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