Why is chapter 5 a crucial moment? What happens in the chapter and how does it impact on the rest of the novel?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Chapter five in Frankenstein is a crucial turning point of the novel. It is in this chapter that Victor is able to behold "the accomplishment of my toils".  Given that the four previous chapters give Victor's history growing up, his move to university, and his battle with re-animating life, the fact that (in this chapter) Victor sees the truth behind all of his hard work come to life.

After realizing that he has, indeed, re-animated life, Victor is horrified at the appearance of his creation. Running from his laboratory, Victor unexpectedly meets his childhood friend Clerval. Clerval has come because Victor has been so obsessed with his plans to re-animate life that he has stopped all conversations with those around him, even his family. Victor admits to Clerval that he has been very busy, but now,

all these employments are now at an end, and that I am at length free.

Horrified at the thought of bringing Clerval back to his apartment, Victor walks apprehensively in.

Victor, upon realizing that the monster in not there, leads Clerval into his flat. Victor enters his bedroom and believes he sees the monster.

Oh, save me! save me!” I imagined that the monster seized me; I struggled furiously, and fell down in a fit.

Victor becomes gravely ill and Clerval must nurse him back to health before they can return home.

This point in the novel is very important given is is the turning point for the action of the novel. It is from this point on that Victor realizes the infraction against society he has created. From this point out, Victor must come to terms with what he has done, make decisions about the monster himself, and choose to take responsibility for his "son" or abandon him.

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