In chapters 11-23 of Frankenstein, what obstacles prohibit the monster from achieving happiness? Examine more than one obstacle.

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karaejacobi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The monster faces many obstacles because of his appearance. After he leaves Victor's apartment and has to fend for himself, the monster at first does not know how he appears to others. He tries to save a drowning child, but the child's parent interferes and abuses the monster. The child is also terrified of him. People's reactions to him are all negative, based on his fear-inducing appearance. The monster can, of course, blame Victor for this. 

The other major obstacle for the monster is that his creator abandoned him and will not assist him in any way as he attempts to develop (as a child would develop into an adult). At first, the monster thinks that if he can learn about his creator and try to appeal to him for help, the creator will listen. However, he later finds Victor's journal among other texts (like Paradise Lost) and learns how Victor feels about him. The creature is resentful and takes revenge on Victor by killing his younger brother and framing the Frankenstein family's loyal servant Justine. From Paradise Lost, the creature also sees an example of a positive relationship between creator and creature (God and Adam) and this leads him to question why he cannot have the same kind of interaction with Victor.

Within this larger obstacle of Victor's reaction to him, the monster must learn to communicate with his creator. With no formal education or care from a parent, the creature must find his own way to gain the knowledge he requires. He does this by studying the De Lacey family to learn language and eventually is able to read Paradise Lost and the other texts. In giving his own account of his life so far to Victor, the creature is very articulate and is able to gain the reader's sympathy. However, Victor is still disgusted by the creature and his requests (namely for Victor to make a female companion for the creature). When Victor fails to follow through on the request for a female mate, the monster kills Elizabeth and the dysfunctional relationship between creator and creature continues through the end of the novel.

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