Contents Index

My papa is a Syndic

The capacity to name, or abuse by naming -- and to judge, or misjudge -- are intimately allied throughout this novel. This is even truer of the stance one takes to the object of naming and judging. As William confidently assures the Creature, his father has been accorded the power to punish by this society: William adopts the same tone and attitude of natural superiority. Perhaps it was implictly present from the family expectations underscored in the first sentence of Victor's narrative (1.3.1) as well. Given the emotional chords that have resonated from William's death for eleven chapters and the epithets with which he has been honored ("little darling William" by Elizabeth [1.5.5], "that sweet child . . . who was so gentle, yet so gay" by Alphonse [1.6.1], "dear angel" by Victor [1.6.7]), his sheer childish nastiness surprizes us and, though it does not justify his murder, makes the Creature's bumbling attempt to quiet him comprehensible.