How does Victor cope with the death of his mother in Shelley's Frankenstein?

Victor copes with the death of his mother in Frankenstein by going through several stages of grief, then leaving for the university, where he immerses himself in creating a human life from inanimate body parts. He continues to be haunted by his mother's death, but six years later, he has come to terms with her demise.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter three, Victor recounts losing his mother. Despite being advised to stay away, his mother helps nurse Elizabeth, who is suffering from scarlet fever. As a result, his mother catches the disease and dies.

Victor, who suffers from being self-absorbed, initially sees the death entirely in terms of what it does to him:

The first misfortune of my life occurred—an omen, as it were, of my future misery.

He then describes a process of mourning that includes a first wave of sadness, the bitter grief that occurs as time goes on, and the acceptance that eventually comes. Victor finally turns to preparing to leave for the university at Ingolstadt, a departure that had been delayed by his mother's death. By this point, he can dwell philosophically on being grateful to be alive, a sentiment that will change after he builds his creature.

Ironically, in chapter 1, Victor speaks of the value of his parents' nurturance as the basis of his happy life, a model he will not follow when he brings his...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1081 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team