Laboratory and mine

Frankenstein necessarily carries out his work indoors, hidden in his laboratory and often going out only at night, particularly when he is gathering body parts to create the monster. This obsessive, solitary work is described in Volume 1, Chapter 3, and in the final paragraph Victor describes its effect on him:

Winter, spring, and summer, passed away during my labours; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves – sights which before always yielded me supreme delight, so deeply was I engrossed in my occupation … and I appeared … like one doomed by slavery to toil in the mines, or any other unwholesome trade.

Frankenstein, Volume 1, Chapter 3

This passage shows:

  • Victor has cut himself off from the natural world:
    • he is no longer conscious of the cycle of the seasons
    • he takes no pleasures in the beauties of nature.
  • The image of the mine is particularly telling:
    • it intensifies the sense of Victor as someone who is buried in his work and remote from everyday life
    • the reference to an ‘unwholesome trade' reminds the reader of the steps Victor must take to obtain body parts from morgues, dissecting rooms, animal slaughter houses and also, perhaps, graves.
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