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The creature, in observing the cottage's three inhabitants, contrives a great affection for the beauty and nobility of their faces. They an old man, a young man, and a young woman enthrall him with the sound of their music and the cadence of their language, which he adores but cannot understand.
The creature spends the entire winter watching the cottagers, and grows to love each of them passionately. He attempts to learn their language, which he regards as "a godlike science." At first, he makes little progress. Every act of the cottagers, however banal, strikes him as miraculous: to watch them read aloud, or play music, or simply speak to one another, delights him immeasurably. Though he realizes that they are terribly unhappy, he cannot understand why: to him, the family seems to possess everything one could want: a roof, a fire, and the glories of human companionship.
Observing his neighbors for an extended period of time, the monster notices that they often seem unhappy, though he is unsure why. He eventually realizes, however, that their despair results from their poverty, to which he has been contributing by surreptitiously stealing their food. Torn by his guilty conscience, he stops stealing their food and does what he can to reduce their hardship, gathering wood at night to leave at the door for their use.
The monster becomes aware that his neighbors are able to communicate with each other using strange sounds. Vowing to learn their language, he tries to match the sounds they make with the actions they perform. He acquires a basic knowledge of the language, including the names of the young man and woman, Felix and Agatha. He admires their graceful forms and is shocked by his ugliness when he catches sight of his reflection in a pool of water. He spends the whole winter in the hovel, unobserved and well protected from the elements, and grows increasingly affectionate toward his unwitting hosts.
Analysis: Chapters 11–12
The monster’s growing understanding of the social significance of family is connected to his sense of otherness and solitude. The cottagers’ devotion to each other underscores Victor’s total abandonment of the monster; ironically, observing their kindness actually causes the monster to suffer, as he realizes how truly alone, and how far from being the recipient of such kindness, he is. This lack of interaction with others, in addition to his namelessness, compounds the monster’s woeful lack of social identity.
The theme of nature’s sublimity, of the connection between human moods and natural surroundings, resurfaces in the monster’s childlike reaction to springtime. Nature proves as important to the monster as it is to Victor: as the temperature rises and the winter ice melts, the monster takes comfort in a suddenly green and blooming world, glorying in nature’s creation when he cannot rejoice in his own. For a moment, he is able to forget his own ugliness and unnaturalness.