L'oeil du loup

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Daniel Pennac

Chapter Nineteen

As they move through England and Scotland on their journey, Victor is getting increasingly impatient to begin his work. It is not that he wants to make another monster, but only that he wants to be free of any obligation to the first one. In a Scottish town, Victor urges Henry to remain behind with an acquaintance. He says he wants to tour Scotland by himself. Henry is confused and reluctant, but he agrees. Victor heads to the Orkneys and finds a desolate, remote island on which he can complete the creation of another monster. He uses a small shack for a laboratory and beings to devote many hours each day to the new creature. He struggles to do the work, though, because he knows the monster will be grotesque. Still, he pushes forward because he has an agreement with the original monster.

This chapter really shows a great deal about Victor and his character. While he does not want to do anything for the monster he created because he loathes him so much, he does understand that he has an obligation as creator. When he first learned the secret of life he did not take into account everything that creating life could entail. It never occurred to him that the monster would be hideous and shunned by everyone. He did not think about the possibility of needing to make another hideous monster to keep the first one happy. He had big plans of "playing God" and making a race of new, better people. However, when that failed he tried to forget the entire thing instead of focusing on what he could do to help his creation and make its life better. Now he is faced with the realization of the monster's pain and what he has to do in order to make things right between the two of them. If he can make a female monster as a companion for the original monster and be rid of both of them his life can return to normal and no one else will have to suffer at the hands of something he created. Because of the guilt and obligation, he presses forward.

Chapter Twenty

While Victor is working on his new creation one night, he starts to think about what it will be like when he is done. He thinks about the creature and how he will not have control of what she does or does not do. Perhaps she will not want to be secluded, and may not agree to what the original monster promised Victor. What if the creatures mate and have children? They could create a race of monsters throughout the world. The more he thinks about it the more uncomfortable he becomes. While he is contemplating all that has gone wrong already and could go wrong in the future, he looks up and sees the monster watching him through the window. It is grinning, and Victor finds it so repulsive that he can no longer take the idea of creating a mate for it. He decides he is going to destroy the second creation instead of completing it. The monster is outraged by that because Victor has broken his promise and the monster will have to continue to live in solitude.

The monster curses him and vows that he will get revenge. He tells Victor that he will be with him on the night of his wedding. Then he departs. Victor gets a letter from Henry the following night. Henry is bored and tired of Scotland. He wants to continue traveling with his friend. Victor agrees. Before he leaves the island, though, he packs everything up and cleans the area. Then he collects the remains of the creature he was making. He waits until late in the evening and rows out into the ocean. He throws the remains into the water and rests for a while in the boat. When he tries to get back to the island the winds are wrong and he cannot get back. He panics and thinks he may drown at sea. The winds shift, and he is able to get to the shore near a town with which he is not familiar. He gets out of the boat and is rudely greeted by townspeople who think he had something to do with a murder that happened in their town the night before.

Chapter Twenty One

After the townspeople confront Victor about the potential crime they take him to the town magistrate, Mr. Kirwin. Upon arriving there, Victor hears people testifying against him, saying that they found a man's body on the beach the previous night. Just before they found the body they saw a boat in the water. The boat looked like the one in which they found Victor when he washed up on their shore. One of the things Mr. Kirwin decides to do is bring the body to Victor. He wants to see what kind of reaction Victor will have to viewing the body. It is possible that there will be visible emotion if he is the one who has murdered the man. Victor sees the body, and it is none other than his lifelong friend, Henry Clerval. Henry haste marks of the hands of the monster encircling his neck, and it is clear that the monster meant what he said about seeking revenge. Victor goes into shock and starts to convulse. Because of the severity of his shock, Victor moves into a long period of illness.

It is two months before Victor recovers. When he does, Mr. Kirwin goes to see him and determine how he is doing. He is still in prison. Because Mr. Kirwin has seen the severity of Victor's reaction and illness, he is more sympathetic and compassionate than he was in the past. He understands now that Victor has seen (or done) something so horrific that he is having trouble coping with it, and that he is genuinely and deeply upset by whatever took place. When he tells Victor he has a visitor, Victor thinks only of the monster. His father is actually the one who has come to see him. He came all the way from Geneva after hearing of the death of Henry and the imprisonment and illness of his own son. Victor is thrilled to see his father, who does not leave him until the verdict. Because the court has only circumstantial evidence and no proof it has to find Victor innocent of the murder of Henry. Victor is released, and he and his father go back to their home in Geneva.

Chapter Twenty Two

On the journey back to Geneva they stop off in Paris where Victor decides to rest for a while so his strength can build back up again. While he is in Paris Victor gets a letter from Elizabeth. She is worried about his repeated illnesses and wants to know if he is in love with someone else. He tells her she is the only source of joy for him and that there is no one else. The letter is a reminder to him, though, of what the monster said in his last threat, about being with Victor on the night of his wedding. He thinks the monster is going to attack him that night, and he decides that he is going to fight back. It does not matter to him that much which one of them ends up dead – only that the misery he is facing will come to an end and will no longer plague him. If he can kill the monster he can also focus on his life with Elizabeth and there will not be any more risk of people ending up dead because they are part of his family or simply because they have become his friends or done something that has angered the monster. He will not have to look over his shoulder all the time for the rest of his life, and he can stop worrying about family and friends.

After some time, Victor and Alphonse get back to Geneva and are well-rested. They start planning the wedding. Elizabeth is still very worried, but Victor tells her not to be too concerned, and that all will be all right after the wedding takes place. He tells her that there is a secret he has been keeping from everyone. It is a terrible thing, and he is not willing to tell her what it is until after they marry. Once the marriage has taken place, Victor plans to tell her the truth. Victor gets more and more nervous as the wedding day gets closer, because he knows he will have to confront his monster. The wedding is finally completed and Elizabeth and Victor leave for one of the Frankenstein family cottages where they will have a chance to be alone and enjoy their wedding night.

Chapter Twenty Three

During the evening, Elizabeth and Victor take a walk around the grounds of the cottage. Victor is having a difficult time thinking of anything but the monster and when he will arrive. They go inside the house and Victor is still worrying. He thinks that Elizabeth will be upset if she sees the monster and the fight that they will have. He tells her that she should go ahead and retire for the night. Then he starts to search through the house for the monster. He hears Elizabeth screaming and realizes with horror that it was not his death the monster alluded to when he said he would be with him on his wedding night. He is overcome with grief. He goes back home and tells his father what happened. His father is so shocked at the tragic ending of their wedding day that is takes ill. Just a few days later, he dies from the emotional pain and heartache. Finally, Victor decides that he has to break his silence and tell his secret to the authorities.

He tries to convince the magistrate in Geneva of the existence of the monster and how it killed Elizabeth, but the magistrate will not believe him. He is seen as a madman, but he is not accused of a crime or jailed. At that point, Victor decides that the rest of his life will be devoted to locating the monster so he can end this once and for all. He has been so overcome by grief he knows the monster must be stopped. However, he does not fall ill like he did when the other members of his family were killed. This leaves the reader wondering about Victor's courage and conviction, as one would think the loss of his bride would be too much for him. Despite that oddity, it is also quite possible that Victor's resolve to stop the killing and destroy the monster is more than enough to get him past the shock and stop him from falling ill at the loss of Elizabeth. If he knows that something must be done he is able to do it, especially when things have already gone too far to return from.

Chapter Twenty Four

With his entire family gone, Victor decides that he will leave the city of Geneva behind. There are too many painful memories there for him. He has no family left, so there is no real reason for him to remain or to stay in the family house. For months he tracks the monster all throughout the country. The monster leaves some clues for him to follow, and there are messages and hints. This makes Victor even angrier because he feels as though the monster is taunting him and making fun of him and what his life has become. It is as if the monster finds Victor's pain funny, and is playing a game with Victor. He refuses to give up, and he follows the monster up into the snow and ice of the Northern part of the country. That is where he encounters Walton and his crew, and where he agrees to tell Walton his entire story. He asks Walton to continue to search and try to seek vengeance for him after he dies, but does not know if Walton will do so or not.

As Victor tracks the monster, he has time to reflect on his feelings. The reader also has time to think about Victor and what he has done, as well as the monster and whether he will ever have any kind of life where he is happy and not mistreated or deeply isolated. Victor's insistence on tracking the monster is interesting. It makes sense that he wants revenge, but yet there is no one close to him anymore who is in danger. The reasons behind tracking the monster seem purely vengeful in nature, but yet there is something more to it. Victor knows that he has truly created a monster, and that he is responsible for it, even if he does not want to admit that to himself or anyone else. By focusing on the vengeance for what the monster has done he is able to overlook for a time the truth of the matter in that he is the one who set all of these tragedies into motion. Were it not for his desire to "play God," the monster would not exist. If he had created a female monster, things may have ended very differently.

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