In "Frankenstein," what sensations can the creature feel but cannot understand?Chapter 5 - hunger, thirst, cold, fear

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Volume II, Chapter 5, the creature begins to understand some of the things he can feel by observing the family in the cottage.  He knows what hunger feels like, but learns that it comes from poverty, and discovers what kindness means by seeing that even though the young couple "suffer the pangs of hunger very poignantly", they often give their food to the old man and save nothing for themselves.  He also notes a connection between hunger and the seasons, with winter being the time of famine and spring bringing sufficiency.

The creature begins to understand the sensation of cold, and the great amount of labor required to alleviate it, by watching the youth "spend a great part of each day in collecting wood for the family fire".  He also gains insight into the feelings of fear and repulsion, as well as appreciation for beauty, when he views his reflection and compares it to "the perfect forms of (the) cottagers".

Isolation and longing for connection are other feelings the creature explores.  He finds that the cure for these sensations is language, and applies himself to mastering the art in both its spoken and written forms.  He also observes the goodness and kindness with which the cottagers treat each other, and innocently deduces that if he learns to communicate like they do, and if he presents himself to them with a "gentle demeanor", they will accept him into their company.

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