In Chapter 2 of Frankenstein, what prevents Victor from continuing his studies?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 2, Victor narrates his growing interest in the metaphysical realm, almost a sci-fi version of science and philosophy.  He would have believed in supernatural occurrences and ideas rather than pure, proveable science.  While Victor's father Alphonse is not happy with Victor's reading choices, it is not Victor's dad's disapproval that turns him away from the study of metaphysics.  In Chapter 2, Victor states:

"Thus for a time I was occupied by exploded systems, mingling, like an unadept, a thousand contradictory theories, and floundering desperately in a very slough of mutlifarious knowledge, guided by an ardent imagination and childish reasoning, till an accident again changed the current of my ideas" (26).

The accident occurs when Victor is 15.  He witnesses a tree struck by lightning in a violent storm.  All that is left of the tree is "a blasted stump" (26).  Victor is amazed by the utter destruction of the tree by electricity, and a guest of his family who is learned in natural philosophy tries to explain the scientific process to Victor.  Instead of the explanation and event increasing Victor's curiosity in science, he discovers that nothing could truly be known.  Thus, he abandons his interest in natural philosophy (science) and begins to study math because he believes that it is "built upon secure foundations, so worthy of [his] consideration" (27).  Math is logically proveable to Victor; science is not.

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