Frankenstein Questions and Answers
by Mary Shelley

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In Frankenstein, how does Victor's creation describe his early development?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In many ways, the creature seems to have been like a baby when he first came to life. He says,

A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw, felt, heard, and smelt at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses.

He appears to be what Enlightenment philosopher, John Locke, called a tabula rasa, or blank slate. The creature knows nothing initially and can only begin to learn from the sensory information he receives. He describes his "fatigue" and the way he felt "tormented by hunger and thirst." He eats and sleeps a lot, and he cries a good deal; sounds a lot like a baby, doesn't it? Moreover, he says, "feeling pain invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept." Not knowing what else to do, he simply cries. He fixes his eyes upon the moon, almost like an infant would do with a large and bright object.

Soon, he "began also to observe, with greater accuracy, the forms that surrounded [him] . . . ." His senses become distinct rather than muddled, and his "mind received every day additional ideas." He learns quickly, even more quickly than a typical infant. After he encounters the DeLaceys, he begins to develop language and a knowledge of history and the world around him.

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Frankenstein, Volume II (chapter III), the Creature describes his early development. Initially, the Creature is very confused by his own senses and his "era of...being." The Creature felt severe pain when looking into light, so much he had to shut his eyes. It is "here" where the Creature first experienced darkness. This darkness troubled him so much that he had to reopen his eyes.

Upon realizing that he was mobile, the Creature found that there were "no obstacles which [he] could not either surmount or avoid." After walking, the Creature found that he was hungry and thirsty. He was able to drink and eat, soon falling to sleep. Once awaking, the Creature found he was cold. He searched for clothing, which he found, and covered himself.

Soon after, the Creature realized that he was alone--and he wept. While weeping, the moon rose to a point where the Creature could see it. The moon, wondrous to the Creature, was the only thing (at this point) which brought him pleasure.

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