As with other aspects of Clerval, his capacity for
"devoted," which is to say, perfectly disinterested, friendship separates
him as an ideal, both for Victor (who from his student days has been too
self-absorbed for such friendship) and for Walton, whose desire for
such a friend, articulated in his second
letter and in his growing
attachment to Victor, first introduced this theme as central to the
structure of Mary Shelley's novel.