At this point in the narrative, he has not been home for five years; he will finally return home after yet another year passes, when he is summoned by his father upon William's death.
Consequently, though he proclaims in frenzied terms that he loves his family "to adoration," we suspect that ambivalence, at the least, subverts his affection.
Shelley insists that man can live only through communion with others; solitude, for her, represents death. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (London: Walter Scott, n.d.), p.
Through his continual exaggerations of familial love, Victor Frankenstein reveals to us the inadequacy of the homelife that belies his oft-fevered protestations of attachment.
There is no mention of the inevitable sibling friction; instead, these siblings were "strangers to any species of disunion or disrepute. When, for instance, Henry Clerval asks Victor if they might talk "on an important subject" and Victor reacts with some anxiety, his friend quickly surmises that the scientist might be fearful to speak of his own home. hardly know how ill you have been and are uneasy at your long silence" (p. Victor responds: "How could you suppose that my first thought would not fly towards those dear, dear friends whom I love and who are so deserving of my love?
Before proceeding, Clerval reassures his friend: "I will not mention it if it agitates you; but your father and cousin . " Both Clerval and the readers have some reason to doubt Victor's insistence. Or again: "[And did my love] think "about our home, our babe and his poor Pecksie?
Surely no one needs to be reminded that Frankenstein is a book largely reminiscent of Mary Shelley's own troubled family relationships; and in support of the point, one need only turn to George Levine and U. Knoepflmacher's excellent collection of essays, The Endurance of Frankenstein, to find the matter well documented.
That an author's life becomes translated into her fiction is hardly news on any account. 49, quoting from Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents.
Victor Frankenstein's role as father is intensified by that fulfillment of every parent's dream: he can deliberately, knowingly create his child; he can actually choose the parts. Frankenstein refuses the responsibility, and so, as U. Knoepflmacher observes in a different context, "The monster becomes father to the man and relentlessly imposes on its creator the same conditions of dependence and insecurity that it was made to suffer." In a last desperate attempt to evoke a one-to-one response, the monster forces his master into the Arctic race where he assures Frankenstein, "You will feel the misery of cold and frost, to which I am impassive" (p. The cold serves as a metaphor for the comfortless, solitary life he has led, one he is bent on recreating for the agent of his pain. Civilization has to use its utmost efforts in order to set limits to man's aggressive instincts and to hold the manifestations of them in check by psychical reaction-formations.
It is especially ironic, then, that he hates what he sees. We become intensely, painfully aware of the monster's motivation for his aggression through the death scene of his father. Of major significance in the struggle between Frankenstein and his monster are the efforts of the creator to escape his place in society, in contrast to the desperate attempts of the created to become situated within it.