What effect does the letter have on Frakenstein in the book Frankenstein?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victor Frankenstein received a letter from Elizabeth, her cousin who lived with them in Geneva. She sought to confirm that Victor was fine given that he had not communicated with his family in a long time. Elizabeth learned from Henry, Victor’s friend who left Geneva to enroll at the University of Ingolstadt, that Victor was ill but recovering. Elizabeth informed Victor about his brothers and on general town gossip. On learning about the situation back home, Victor was happy and sought to respond to the letter urgently in order to alleviate their anxiety.

“Dear, dear Elizabeth!” I exclaimed, when I had read her letter, “I will write instantly and relieve them from the anxiety they must feel.”

Victor received a second letter from his father. The contents of the letter filled him with so much grief because it informed him of the death of his youngest brother William. William was murdered while on a family outing. Victor was at first filled with joy when he learned that the letter was from his father but his condition degenerated to despair after learning its contents. The letter forced him to travel back home to console his family.

Clerval, who had watched my countenance as I read this letter, was surprised to observe the despair that succeeded the joy I at first expressed on receiving new from my friends. I threw the letter on the table, and covered my face with my hands.

“My dear Frankenstein,” exclaimed Henry, when he perceived me weep with bitterness, “are you always to be unhappy? My dear friend, what has happened?”

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