Frankenstein Chapter 6 Summary

Instructor: Dori Starnes

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

In chapter six of Frankenstein, Victor continues on his road to recovery and starts a new path of study at the University of Ingolstadt. But this peaceful idyll in his life is drawing to a close, and the monster is out there...somewhere.

Chapter 6 of Frankenstein

In chapter 6 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor wraps up his studies at school and prepares to come home to Geneva. These months will stand out as some of the best of his life, as he leaves the studies of science and learns languages with his best friend by his side.

Review of Previous Chapters

In the introduction, through his letters to his sister, we met the explorer Walton, who is trying to reach the North Pole. Out on the ice, Walton picks up a strange traveler. In chapter 1, we learn that this man is Victor Frankenstein, and he begins to tell Walton the story of his life. In chapter 2, Shelley shows us the interests of teenage Victor, and sets him on the path to his scientific work.

In chapter 3, tragedy strikes Victor when his mother dies, but hope returns when he heads off to the University of Ingolstadt to begin his study with Professor Waldman. In chapter 4, Victor completes his studies, discovers what he calls the secret of life, and begins to build a human body from parts. In chapter 5, Victor completes his work and animates the body. However, he is so appalled by his work that he runs from it and collapses into a months-long nervous fever. Meanwhile, the monster has gone…somewhere.

Elizabeth's Letter

Chapter 5 ends with Henry Clerval placing a letter from Elizabeth Lavenza, Victor's fiancée, in Victor's hands. Chapter 6 starts when Victor opens that letter and reads what Elizabeth has to say. She starts off with pleading Victor to write. They know he's been sick because Henry has written, but they need to hear from Victor that he is okay. Alphonse Frankenstein, Victor's father, wants to come to Ingolstadt to see Victor, but Elizabeth has managed to stop him.

Elizabeth also writes to Victor about his two brothers, Ernest and William. Ernest is nearing maturity and wants to have a career in the military, which Elizabeth and Alphonse are not crazy about, but Elizabeth admits Ernest would be a great soldier. William is a darling child, the apple of everyone's eye. Elizabeth goes on about his good looks and how he is already a ladies' man at five years old.

The Story of Justine

Elizabeth's letter continues with the story of Justine Moritz, a girl she and Victor have known from childhood. Justine was the third of four children, her father's favorite. Sadly, Justine and her mother never got along. When Justine's father died, she came first to live with the Frankensteins and then with their aunt, as a servant and companion. At the time, she was twelve years old.

But the aunt died. And so did all of Justine's siblings, one by one. So Mrs. Moritz called Justine home, where she has been miserable living with a woman who hates her. But Mrs. Moritz has recently died, and Justine has come back to the Frankensteins, where she is more a member of the family than a servant.

Elizabeth closes her letter with some gossip about people in Geneva and again begs Victor to write. Victor writes his family a letter and feels much better. Two weeks later, in mid-spring, Victor leaves his bed for the first time since November.

Victor Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein

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