by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (chapter.paragraph)
No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit of kindness and indulgence. We felt that they were not the tyrants to rule our lot according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the many delights which we enjoyed. When I mingled with other families I distinctly discerned how peculiarly fortunate my lot was, and gratitude assisted the development of filial love. (2.3)
Victor thinks he's fortunate, but we're not so sure. Check out the words he uses to describe his parents: "kindness," "indulgence," "creators of […] delights." That sounds like fun, but it doesn't exactly sound like the foundation of a good moral character. It seems like his parents might misunderstand their role: they're not supposed to be tyrants, but they should be providing at least a little upbringing.
When my father returned from Milan, he found playing with me in the hall of our villa a child fairer than pictured cherub—a creature who seemed to shed radiance from her looks and whose form and motions were lighter than the chamois of the hills […] the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents' house—my more than sister—the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures. (1.6)
Okay, seriously: aside from the fact that it's totally creepy that Victor's parents essentially adopt a child for Victor to marry, what are the odds that you would even want to marry someone you'd grown up with? Like, grown up in the same house with? There's a reason (besides the obvious genetic ones) that we don't marry our siblings.
My departure was therefore fixed at an early date, but before the day resolved upon could arrive, the first misfortune of my life occurred—an omen, as it were, of my future misery. Elizabeth had caught the scarlet fever; her illness was severe, and she was in the greatest danger. During her illness many arguments had been urged to persuade my mother to refrain from attending upon her. She had at first yielded to our entreaties, but when she heard that the life of her favourite was menaced, she could no longer control her anxiety. She attended her sickbed; her watchful attentions triumphed over the malignity of the distemper—Elizabeth was saved, but the consequences of this imprudence were fatal to her preserver. (3.1)
Caroline Frankenstein dies because she loves Elizabeth so much that she insists on taking care of her when she's sick with scarlet fever. So, her death really is an omen—it's a warning that family can be fatal. Think about that the next time your parents tell you to call more often.