Frankenstein Chapters 13-16 - Summary

  After enduring winter in the shack outside the cottage, the monster observes that a new woman soon arrives. Immediately, Felix seems excited to see her, and the atmosphere in the cottage becomes more cheerful. The woman, whose name is named Safie, does not speak the language the cottagers do. However, she moves into the cottage, and soon she begins to learn the language. Conveniently, this helps the monster learn more English as well. Additionally, now that he can listen and understand the conversation of "his cottagers" he comes to understand more about human society, human relationships, and familial obligations. All of this knowledge, however, only makes the monster feel even more alone and isolated.

  As he listens to the De Lacey family, he gradually begins to piece together their history. Safie's father was a Turkish man living in Paris and, like Justine, he was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. The De Lacey family had been well-established in Paris, the old man having quite a bit of wealth and a solid reputation. When Felix heard of the fate of Safie's father, he visited him jail. At that time, he met Safie and fell immediately in love with her. Safie's mother-a Christian Turk-instilled in her the idea that Turkish, Muslim men treated women as slaves. This is, of course, a gross stereotype from the 1700 and 1800s, but one that many English readers would have bought into. Because of a fear of being forever a "slave," Safie had determined to marry a European man, so Felix's arrival in her life was seemingly a perfect fit.

  Felix plotted to help Safie's father escape from prison, but the plot as discovered. The De Lacey family was exiled from Paris, forced to leave their life, property, and wealth behind. Eventually, Safie's father wanted her to flee to Constantinople but, instead, she ran away to be with Felix.

  As the monster listens to all of this, he realizes that the De Lacey's are a compassionate group of people. He hopes that if he reveals himself to them, that they will be equally as accepting. He also hopes that, just as Felix is willing to right the injustice of Safie's father, that perhaps Victor will be willing to right his own injustice of abandoning his own creation.

  One day, after the monster learns of the De Lacey's backstory, he is wandering the woods and find a satchel that contains several books. He brings the books back to his hovel and reads each of them. Among these books is John Milton's Paradise Lost, an epic poem about Adam and Eve's temptation by Satan in the Garden of Eden. The monster sympathizes with both Adam, a man, and Satan, a monster, in the poem, further showing his crisis in identity. Is he a man? Or is he a monster? He also wishes he could find his own Eve, just as Adam does in Paradise Lost. Reading of companionship in the novels and observing the De Lacey family makes him long for a "mate."

  The monster also finds in the pockets of his clothing several pages from Victor's journal. Unfortunately, he is able to read about just how deeply Victor was disgusted with him.

  As a result, the monster feels even more alone, and he resolves to reveal himself to the cottagers in the hope that they will accept him. He decides that he will start by introducing himself to old man De Lacey, since he is blind. While Safie, Agatha, and Felix are out for a walk one afternoon, the monster introduces himself to the old man, who treats him kindly. However, the three others unexpectedly return, and Felix chases the monster off.

  From that point forward, the monster decides that he will take revenge against all humans, especially Victor. Despite this, he later rescues a girl from drowning in a stream, only to be shot by her companion. This cements his desire for revenge. Later, the monster coincidentally runs into William Frankenstein, who threatens him by saying his father is Alphonse Frankenstein. The monster experiences a fit of rage at the name Frankenstein and strangles William. He then takes the portrait that William had been carrying of his mother and places it in Justine's pocket, who had been sleeping nearby.

  The monster ends his tale by making a demand of Victor: he wants a mate.

  This story within a story structure in this section once again ties into the concept of this novel as a frame story. There are many frames and many stories in this complex novel. The De Lacey story is related by the monster to Victor Frankenstein, relating it to Robert Walton who relates it to his sister. Ultimately, this serves to help establish the theme of "otherness" that reverberates throughout the story. Otherness is that feeling of being unlike everyone else, of being lonely. Victor, the monster, the De Lacey Family, and Robert all experience these feelings of otherness despite sharing a similar life experience.

  Another important theme, or universal idea, in the story is the idea of justice. Already, justice failed Justine when she was accused of murdering Victor's brother. Here too, justice has failed Safie's father. Though Shelley doesn't mention exactly what his crime was, the De Lacey's belief in his innocence seems to exonerate him from any blame. Additionally, the De Lacey's seem to be genuinely decent people and yet, they too, are punished for their attempts to help an innocent soul. And, before killing William Frankenstein, the monster is as good an individual as any in the book, and yet he is outcast by all who meet him. This questioning of the nature of justice seems to suggest some skepticism on Shelley's part about mankind's ability to judge each other fairly. Overall, the novel is glimpse at some of the darker sides of human nature.

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