Essential Passage 1: Chapter 1
From Italy they visited Germany and France. I, their eldest child, was born in Naples, and as an infant accompanied them in their rambles. I remained for several years their only child. Much as they were attached to each other, they seemed to draw inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow them upon me. My mother’s tender caresses, and my father’s smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding me, are my first recollections. I was their plaything and their idol, and something better—their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed in them by Heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot fulfilled their duties towards me. With this deep consciousness of what they owed towards the being to which they had given life, added to the active spirit of tenderness that animated both, it may be imagined that while during every hour of my infant life I received a lesson of patience, of charity, and of self-control, I was so guided by a silken cord that all seemed but one train of enjoyment to me.
On board Robert Walton’s ship bound for the Arctic, an ill and tortured Victor Frankenstein tells Walton his life story. His father, Alphonse, was a gentleman, whose kindness of heart led him to marry the daughter of his best friend after her father’s death. Saved from poverty, she in her turn develops a compassion and charity to those in similar, desperate situations. Having the financial resources to travel, the couple journeys around Europe, settling for a time in Italy. When their firstborn son, Victor, arrives, they shower him with love. He is the center of their lives, and they hold of highest importance the duty they have in raising a loving and honorable son. Therefore Victor grows up with lessons of patience, charity, and self-control imprinted on his heart. The Frankensteins’ understanding of their roles as parents will be a sharp contrast to the role Victor assumes as a creator toward his creature.
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 2
Thus strangely are our souls constructed, and by such slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity or ruin. When I look back, it seems to me as if this almost miraculous change of inclination and will was the immediate suggest of the guardian angel of my life—the last effort made by the spirit of preservation to avert the storm that was even then hanging in the stars, and ready to envelope me. Her victory was announced by an unusual tranquility and gladness of soul, which followed the relinquishing of my ancient and latterly tormenting studies. It was thus that I was to be taught to associate evil with their prosecution, happiness with their disregard.
It was a strong effort of the spirit of good; but it was ineffectual. Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction.
As a youth, Victor Frankenstein became interested in the study of alchemy and read all he could get his hands on about this proto-science that endeavored to change base metals to gold. Though his father warns him that such writings are “trash,” Victor continues his studies. One day, he observes lightning strike a tree. From that event his attentions turn to more “acceptable” studies, the causes of natural incidents, like lightning. On reflection, Victor believes...
(The entire section is 1494 words.)