What does Victor's childhood say about him in Frankenstein?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As the first chapter of Victor's accout makes clear, Victor grew up as a child of a family with money and social status. This is in part due to the family dynasty that he emerges from, but it is also due to his father and the important character that he is in terms of the role that he played in politics. Note how this is observed in the following quote:

I am by birth a Genevese; and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic. My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics; and my father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation. He was respected by all who knew him for his integrity and indefatigable attention to public business. He passed his younger days perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country...

We can therefore infer that Victor grew up having every advantage that money could gain him. His parents are described as "loving" and caring individuals who did their best to bring up their children. However, the only negative about his childhood would have been after his mother died and his father, because of his work, had to leave Victor and his siblings to be brought up by schoolmasters and servants.

The details we are given about his childhood therefore help us to see that Victor is a character who knows privilege and wealth. We could also suggest that one of the reasons he is so solitary is that he has been left to grow up without much parental input from his father after the death of his mother. The death of his beloved mother might also be a reason why he seeks to learn the secret of life and death in order to prevent disease destroying the lives of other characters who are dear to him.


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