In chapter 18 of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley writes "we arrived... December;" then in chapter 19, she writes, "We had arrive... at October." Is there any explanation to why this is?

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One must remember that travel during Shelley's time was not as quick as travel today. That said, travel in her novel Frankenstein mirrored the extended time travel took.

In chapter eighteen, Victor states that he and Clerval arrived in Britain in December.

It was on a clear morning, in the latter days of December, that I first saw the white cliffs of Britain.

Once in Britain, Victor and Clerval settle in London. Victor states that he and Clerval had decided to stay in London for "several months."

Later in chapter nineteen, Victor states that he and Clerval had arrived in England "at the beginning of October." This can create some confusion for readers (thinking that Britain and England are the same place).

Actually, the "white cliffs of Britain" refer to the cliffs located at Dover (on the coast of Great Britain). Victor, traveling from Holland to England, could have stated that he arrived at the coast of England in October and finally saw the cliffs of Britain two months later as they came around the southern point of England (again detailing the extended journey times).