Chapter 1



Chapter 1 provides us with a sort of exposition regarding Frankenstein's history and his early childhood. We are introduced to various characters including:


* Effects of Misery: Victor came into the world as a result of a union between a man and a woman that he chose to take care of and bring out of her poverty-ridden situation. Elizabeth was brought into the picture for the same reason. One most ask, however, whether or not these women being brought into the picture was simply because of their beauty. Thus, does uglier human misery cause have different effects than more beautiful individuals facing misery?

* Treatment of Women: In this chapter, it was evident that the women were provided for. This could be taken in positive light; however, it could also be turned around. Shelley mentions the fact that Caroline worked hard to provide for her father (a sort of reversing roles), but it is very cursory and soon turns to a man taking her in and "saving" her. Moreover, Elizabeth is, from a young age, viewed as Frankenstein's property. This certainly can't be a positive light on the treatment of women during this time either.

Literary Techniques

Simile: "He strove to shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the gardiner, from every rougher wind, and to surround her with all that could tend to excite pleasurable emotion in her soft and benevolent mind." (Shelley 16)

--This simile refers to the fact that Caroline got all of Alphonse's attention. He wanted to please her, thus, later on in the novel if something were to happen to her, we may see a shift in characters that causes the plot to act in the way that it does.

Foreshadowing: "No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me - my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only." (Shelley 18)

--This foreshadowing suggests that Frankenstein may be with Elizabeth until she dies. This is important to note as Shelley gives similar clues throughout the book as to how things may turn out.

Important Quotes:

"Everything was made to yield to her wishes and her convenience." (Shelley 16)

--Caroline got all of Alphonse's attention. Similarly, Elizabeth got all of Caroline's attention. Thus, one must consider the effect that this had on Frankenstein.

"This, to my mother, was more than a duty; it was a necessity, a passion, - remembering what she had suffered, and how she had been relieved, - for her to act in her turn the guardian angel of the afflicted." (Shelley 16)

--Caroline Beaufort (now Frankenstein) felt that it was necessary for her to pay back what was once done for her. The misery that she went through affected her in such a way. One should recognize the fact, though, that not all characters will respond to misery in the same way throughout the book.

"No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me - my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only." (Shelley 18)

--This quote is important not only when noting foreshadowing but when noting gender relations as well.


In this chapter we see that Victor was never the center of attention. From the time that he was born, characters yielded to Caroline. Then, when Elizabeth came into the picture, people focused their attentions on her. It is important to note the fact that Victor, while he was never neglected, didn't actually get the adequate amount of attention that he deserved as Alphonse and Caroline's child. Therefore, the question becomes: did Victor create his monster as a way to have something give him attention similar to the attention Adam was supposed to give to God? Did his lack of attention as a child affect his later life in any way?


"The Characters." Frankenstein. Weebly, 2014. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.

Fox, Kimberly. "Writing Style." The Monster Behind the Monster. WordPress, 28 Nov. 2014. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. London: Dover Thrift Editions, 1994. Print.