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he has retired into himself

As with other of his comments in this passage, readers may sense that what Walton signifies is conceptually broader than what he actually realizes he is saying: thus the value of his comment is more in alerting us to a problematic issue than in giving us a thumbnail sketch that will define Victor Frankenstein forever in our minds. Where Walton sees a praiseworthy self-containment in his friend's comportment, indeed, many critics remark the dangers of Romantic solipsism. In Victor's own account his introversion and obsessiveness will be stressed as character traits that were factors contributing to his downfall.