Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune


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Gaston Leroux

Throughout the book, there are several quotations that "stand out" and have a high level of significance to the overall story. These are important to discuss, in order to see how they relate to the rest of the book and what deeper information about the setting and the time period they are actually working to convey.

Quotation One: I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision—Isa the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

This quote comes from the Introduction of the 1831 edition and describes the kinds of visions that actually inspired the novel, along with the inspiration for the monster and Victor. The image in the quotation also evokes some of the themes in the novel like how unnatural the monster is and the relationship that the created and the creator have with one another. Additionally, the way knowledge can be misused and how dangerous that can be are highlighted in the quote.

Quotation Two: Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay to mould me Man, did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?

This quotation is on the novel's title page and actually comes from Book X, pages 743-745 of Paradise Lost by John Milton. It is used by Adam, who is lamenting his fallen condition. Because the monster sees himself as being such a tragic individual he compares himself to Satan and to Adam. He is shunned by the being that created him even though he does want to be good and be accepted. Asking rhetorical questions show that the monster has ill will directed at Victor, because he abandoned the monster in a world that was very hostile toward him. The responsibility for the ugliness of the monster and the evil that he inflicts upon the world is something that the monster blames on Victor.

Quotation Three: I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.

In the final letter Walton writes to his sister in England, he tells her the words that the monster says to him while standing over the dead body of Victor. He is angry and full of self-pity. He sees the difference between the way he was treated and what he actually deserved, and it shows that the monster had an inner life that offered him so much suffering. He was motivated by that to commit the crimes. The monster feels as though his life was unwanted by anyone but him. When a creation is abandoned even by the creator, it is very difficult for that creation to feel as though it has any value.

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