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How would Victor Frankenstein from Frankenstein by Mary Shelly be described as when he...

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marianarios | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM via web

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How would Victor Frankenstein from Frankenstein by Mary Shelly be described as when he was a kid?

I want to know how he ended up as a bitter, selfish man towards the end of the novel.

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fezziwig | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM (Answer #1)

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Victor Frankenstein comes from a family that is "most distinguished," and whose

"ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics; and [his] father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation."

For many years Victor Frankenstein was an only child, and "accompanied [his parents] in their rambles" around the countryside. And as Victor tells us

"My mother's caresses, and my father's smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding me, are my first recollections. I was their plaything and their idol, and something better, their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by Heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me. With this deep consciousness of what they owed towards the bring to which they had given life, added to the active spirit of tenderness that animated both, it may be imagined that while during every hour of my infant life I received of patience, of charity, and of self-control, I was so guided by a silken cord that all seemed but one train of enjoyment to me"

As you can see, Victor Frankenstein's childhood was quite extraordinary; it was full of filial love, and the kind of attention and guidance that all children should have. Victor later tells Robert Walton that

"When [he] mingled with other families, [he] distinctly discerned how peculiarly fortunate [his] lot was, and gratitude assisted the development of filial love."

Knowing Victor Frankenstein's childhood background leaves the reader wondering why it is that he becomes such a selfish person as an adult.

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