Frankenstein Chapter 13 Summary

Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

In Chapter 13 of Mary Shelley's ''Frankenstein,'' the monster recounts how he learned language and realized important truths about himself and humanity. This lesson will focus on the summary of Chapter 13 of ''Frankenstein.''

Review

Victor Frankenstein's monster turned up in Geneva two years after running away from the lab where he was created. Victor, convinced the monster killed his brother, met and confronted him at the summit of Montanvert. The monster did not deny his actions but instead made a deal with Victor: if Victor would listen to his story and grant him one request, the monster would disappear forever. In this chapter, the monster's story about the cottagers he lived beside and observed continues.

A Stranger Arrives

Spring takes over the land, and it becomes beautiful. But even though the days are getting longer and the people in the cabin have more food, the monster notices that they seem miserable. Felix in particular seems very sad. One evening, the old blind man, Felix's father, asks him what is wrong. Felix sighs heavily and prepares to respond.

Just then, though, there is a knock at the cottage door. At the door is a stranger, a woman dressed head-to-toe in black and wearing a veil. With her is a guide who has escorted her to the cabin. When asked what she wants, she replies only with Felix's name.

At the sound of her voice, Felix jumps up and runs to her. She throws back her veil and the monster immediately sees her beauty. She has black braided hair and a fair complexion. Agatha presses the woman's hand and seems overcome. Felix is ecstatic to see her, and the stranger bursts into tears. Felix calls her his 'sweet Arabian'.

Language Lessons

The monster quickly realizes that the strange woman cannot understand the words Felix and Agatha are using. He concludes that while she has language, it is not the same language that Felix and Agatha speak. Felix decides to teach the woman his language. The monster learns the stranger's name is Safie. As he watches Safie try to learn Felix's language, the monster realizes he can watch the lessons and learn as well.

The following day, Safie picks up and plays the old man's guitar and moves the members of the family, as well as the monster, with her beautiful singing. Safie brings happiness into the cabin. The monster realizes that he loves her as much as he does Felix, Agatha, and their father.

For two months, the monster watches Safie interact with the cottagers and learn their language. He learns as well, and learns faster and better than Safie does. Spring turns into summer.

A 2011 image of a wax rendition of the monster
A 2011 image of a wax rendition of the monster

'What am I?'

One day, Felix begins using a book to teach Safie history and reading. The book he chooses is called Ruins of Empires. As they go through the book, Felix explains it to Safie and the monster learns about world history and politics. When they hear what the white European settlers did to the American Indians, the monster and Safie are moved to tears.

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