In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, what diversion does Henry suggest to raise Victor’s spirits?

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, after Victor's illness, a number of incidents prohibit Victor from returning home immediately.

While the weather makes the roads to Geneva impassable, Clerval suggests that he and Victor go on a walking tour: the environs of Ingolstadt, that I might bid a personal farewell to the country I had so long inhabited. I acceded with pleasure...I was fond of exercise, and Clerval had always been my favourite* companion in the rambles of this nature that I had taken among the scenes of my native country.

With regard to the success of this plan of Clerval's, Victor was already much improved in his health, but...

...[my health and spirits] gained additional strength from the salubrious air I breathed, the natural incidents of our progress, and the conversation of my friend....Clerval called forth the better feelings of my heart...I became the same happy creature who, a few years ago, loved and beloved by all, had no sorrow or care.

For a short time, until the creature reappears in Victor's life, he is much the man he was before his experiments, finding joy in the life around him, a great deal because of Clerval's dedication to seeing Victor through this dark time in his life.

Clerval's diversion is a "walking tour," which is like hiking and sight-seeing, and Clerval's plan does work in making Victor even stronger, and much like his old self.


*favourite - British spelling of "favorite"

herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Upon seeing the unsettled mental and physical state of Victor Frankenstein, his best and most beloved friend Henry Clerval took immediate notice. During his visit to see Victor Frankenstein at the university of Ingostadt where he procured for him an apartment and basically tried his best in distracting Victor's mind by changing his immediate environment.

Victor's tiredness allowed him to listen to Henry and actually consent to taking his advice. Henry Clerval's advice was that Victor Frankenstein should stop for a while reading science and chemistry books and instead detour towards the study of letters in the form of oriental languages and poetry. Hence, Henry basically represents Victor's alter ego of kindness, color, and artistry whereas Victor is cold, matter-of-fact, and overly ambitious. Taking these diversions was successful for Victor, who was in his own right a sort of Renaissance man. Yet, it did not keep for a long time, for Victor's natural tendency was for natural sciences and not for abstract diversions such as poetry.

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