Frankenstein By Mary Shelley Summary and Analysis Chapter 6

Summary

Elizabeth's letter is the kind one would expect from a concerned family member. It is full of news from home that delights Victor and restores him to better health. Elizabeth tells of Justine Moritz, the Frankenstein's housekeeper and confidant. Even though Justine was treated poorly by her own family, she is a martyr for being a good, loyal friend to the Frankenstein family.

Victor introduces Henry to his professors, who praise Victor highly. Victor and Henry begin their studies together, studying ancient and foreign languages in order to engage their minds. Both men are happy to be hard-working college students.

Plans are made for Victor to return to Geneva in the fall, after his spring recovery, but weather and other delays make the trip impossible, and winter sets in. He revises his plans to depart in May.

Analysis

Elizabeth's letter relates how Victor's brothers, Ernest and William, are doing, and how their housekeeper, Justine Moritz, is faring with her family troubles. The tale of Justine is important because it relates how she endured poor treatment by her own family, being accused of causing the deaths of several family members, and how she came to be loved and respected by the entire Frankenstein family. The fact that Justine was not loved by her own family, but loved and respected by Victor's is much like the distance and alienation Mary Shelley felt from her own family. Mary was not fond of her stepmother, nor was she close to her step-siblings. In fact, Mary was sent to live with relatives in Scotland to keep her away from her estranged family. Perhaps her Scottish relatives were more welcoming of Mary than her own family.

Henry removes the chemical instruments in Victor's apartment because of the reaction that Victor has at the sight of those lab apparatuses. When feeling properly recovered, Victor introduces Henry to his professors, Waldman and Krempe, who have nothing but high praise for their now prized student. For Victor, the praise is a bit much, because he has a big secret to hide.

Clerval induces Victor to study the Oriental languages Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit to help move his mind away from the sciences. The two study and work together on their language studies, even comparing those languages and their works with the ancient Greek and Roman works. Victor has become somewhat of a literary critic at this point.

Victor uses a great deal of emotion in his discussion over the differences in languages. He says, "when you read their writings, life appears to consist in a warm sun and a garden of roses, in the smiles and frowns of a fair enemy, and the fire that consumes your own heart. How different from the manly and heroic poetry of Greece and Rome!" He has studied Greek and Roman literature for most of his school life. However, the Oriental languages and literatures seem more sensitive to emotion than the Western "manly" literatures. Instead of broad, sweeping speeches by the main characters in Western works, he finds more subtle, appealing discussions by characters who seem to echo Romantic sentiments.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How old is Walton at the beginning of the story?




Quiz