Frankenstein begins when a young man named Captain Walton,
takes a ship into the Arctic Ocean.
He’s hoping to make important scientific discoveries.
His ship gets stranded for a few days
when a sheet of ice forms all around it.
To his amazement,
he and his crew see a gigantic man,
about eight feet tall, driving a dog sled across the ice
until it disappears in the distance.
A little later,
they see a normal-sized man on another dog sled,
chasing the first one.
This man is almost dead from exhaustion and exposure,
这个男子由于精疲力竭 暴露在冰天雪地下 就快要死了
so they take him aboard.
The man is Victor Frankenstein.
Walton becomes friends with him.
And while Frankenstein is recovering, he tells Walton his story.
Frankenstein grew up in Geneva.
His father had been an important figure in the government
and they were well-off.
He grew up with his cousin, Elizabeth,
who his parents expected him to marry eventually.
He had a little brother named William.
He had a best friend named Henry Clerval.
Frankenstein goes to a famous university in Ingolstadt,
where he becomes very good at science.
He figures out scientifically how to bring something to life,
though he doesn’t tell us what the secret is.
He makes a creature using parts from a graveyard.
On a raining night in November, he brings it to life.
But he’s so horrified by it that he runs away.
The next day, his friend Clerval arrives at the university to begin his studies.
But Frankenstein becomes ill and Clerval spends all winter in nursing him.
Just as he’s getting better at the beginning of the spring,
he gets a letter telling him that his little brother William has been murdered.
Justin, a servant in his house,
whom everyone always liked, has been arrested,
because William had been carrying a locket that was found on her.
So Frankenstein heads home.
Just before he gets home,
he sees the monster from a distance
and he knows that the monster killed his brother.
Frankenstein watches Justin’s trial,
and his cousin, Elizabeth, testifies
that she’s too nice to have done this,
but she’s convicted and sentenced to death.
Frankenstein has to watch her die.
Frankenstein goes with his family on a sight-seeing trip.
And one day, when he goes mountain climbing by himself,
the monster appears to him
and makes him sit down and listen to his story.
Frankenstein would rather kill him, but he listens.
The monster describes how he came to life completely disoriented.
He didn’t know how to speak or understand language.
And he had to get used to the feel of his own body
and to figured out basic concepts,
like light and dark, heat and cold, and hunger and thirst.
比如光明 黑暗 热 冷 饿和渴
He eventually wandered out into the forest
where he could hide and look for berries and nuts.
The first human he sees is an old man in a hut
who runs away in terror,
because the monster is so hideous.
He’s fascinated by the first village he walks into,
but the residents are terrified
and they drive him off by throwing things at him.
He finally finds shelter in this little shed,
built up against the side of a cottage.
He can look through a crack and observe the people who live there.
But they don’t know he’s there.
These people are called the De Laceys,
a brother and a sister named Felix and Agatha
and their blind old father, who plays the guitar.
The creature sees how much they love each other and he wants to be like them.
He starts learning language by listening to them speak French.
One day, an Arabian woman named Safie arrives.
Safie doesn’t speak English or know much about European culture.
So Felix teaches her everything,
from vocabulary and reading to history,
and the monster learns along with her.
He learns to read and write
and about good and evil
and about the history of human’s societies.
In the woods, he finds three books,
“Paradise Lost”, “The Sorrows of Young Werther”
and “Plutarch’s Lives”.
And he reads the papers that were in Frankenstein’s dressing gown,
which reveal who Frankenstein is and where he lives
and how he came to make the monster.
The monster starts to hate Frankenstein
for giving him such an awfully lonely existence and abandoning him
since he’s too ugly to make friends with anyone.
Eventually, the monster learns the story of these people.
The De Laceys were a rich family in Paris,
but Felix helped a wealthy Turk escape from prison
because he fell sorry for him.
So the government took the De Lacey family’s money and banished them.
And they went to live in the cottage.
The Turk did escape from prison,
but he abandoned Felix afterward.
But the Turk’s daughter, Safie, has fallen in love with Felix.
So she escaped to come marry him.
因此 她为了嫁给他 逃出了家
The monster wants to be friends with the De Laceys,
and he decides that if he goes to talk to the old man first,
the old man will listen because he is blind.
When the others leave, he pretends to be a traveler and speaks to De Laycey.
趁其他人不在的时候 他假装自己是旅客 然后和他交谈
And it’s going okay until Felix, Agatha and Safie come back.
The women are horrified
and Felix drives the monster off with a stick.
At first, the monster goes out into the woods,
then decides that he’s going to declare war on humans.
But in the morning, he cools down
and decides to go back and try again.
But he finds Felix giving up the lease
and he never sees the De Laceys again,
which makes him feel double rejected.
He comes back at night and destroys the cottage.
Then he starts the long walk to Geneva
to try to find his creator.
He gets shot while he’s on his way there,
just because he stops to help a woman who’s drowning.
When he gets to Geneva, he grabs this little boy,
thinking that he can use the boy to learn his way around.
But when the boy mentions his father’s name is Frankenstein,
the monster kills him to get revenge on Frankenstein.
You might notice that there is an inconsistency in the story here,
because Victor made the creature in November,
then got sick all winter.
William got killed the following spring, maybe six months later,
but the creature spends a whole year at the cottage,
and he kills William more like eighteen months after being created.
So there’s a difference of a year between the two stories.
Just to be even more hateful,
he puts the locket William was carrying in Justin’s pocket,
knowing she’ll be condemned for murder.
The monster insists that Frankenstein make a female as ugly as he is.
So he’ll have a companion.
He promises to go away with her to South America
and threatens to kill lots of people if Frankenstein won’t do it.
So Frankenstein agrees.
Frankenstein decides to go on a long trip
and work on the new monster away from home.
So he and Clerval go on a long sight-seeing trip
through Germany, England and Scotland.
He eventually rents a little cottage on a remote island in Scotland
最后 他在苏格兰的一个偏远小岛上 租了一个小屋
to do the work.
But he gets disgusted
and destroys the new creature before it’s finished.
The monster comes in to find out what’s he’s doing
and he’s furious that Frankenstein broke his promise.
The monster swears he’ll get revenge and says,
“I’ll be with you on your wedding night.”
Frankenstein takes all the parts and put them in a basket,
then sails on a boat at night and dumps at all.
Then he goes to sleep in the boat.
When he comes ashore,
he’s in Ireland and the people arrest him.
It turns out someone strangled his friend, Clerval,
and they think Frankenstein did it.
He gets sick again,
because he’s so upset that the monster killed another of his friends,
and a magistrate has him nursed back to health.
He’s eventually released since he didn’t kill Clerval.
He goes back home and he marries Elizabeth
like they’ve been planning their whole lives.
He thinks the monster’s planning to kill him on his wedding night,
so he sits up waiting with a gun,
but the monster actually kills Elizabeth.
His father dies with grief soon afterward,
so Victor has lost everybody.
He devotes his life to finding the monster and destroying it.
But the monster keeps going further and further north,
until they’re chasing each other on dog’s sleds far out to sea.
After he tells Walton the whole story, he dies.
The monster comes on the boat to pay a final farewell to Frankenstein.
He tells Walton he’s going to set him on fire and destroy himself,
because he didn’t mean to be bad.
Walton winds up taking the ship back home
partly because the crew makes him
and partly because of Frankenstein’s story shows
that scientific discovery isn’t worth sacrificing your life for.
One of the major questions of the book is
how much we should blame Frankenstein for what happens
and how much the monster.
Critics like to point out all the things that are wrong with Frankenstein
because he was irresponsible in creating the monster for no good reason.
Then he abandoned his creation instead of helping it.
And he was very careless about protecting his friends.
Readers tend to see the monster more a fault though,
because even though he gets a lot of bad breaks-
being frightening ugly and misunderstood,
his decision to kill a child is just evil,
and he keeps killing people out of spite or for a revenge.
Another question is whether the creature is naturally good like he claims to be
and what is it that makes him become evil,
his own choices or things that happen to him?
For more information about Frankenstein,
check out the Frankenstein SparkNote on sparknotes.com.
Frankenstein begins when a young man named Captain Walton,