Contents Index

my selfish despair

If the terms in which Victor recounts his regaining a sense of responsibility cannot easily be reconciled with a disinterested ethics, one senses in this phrase a tone of self-accusation reflecting a more mature understanding of his own implication in the catastrophic events he has unleashed. This acceptance of responsibility is not uniform, returning only sporadically in the later chapters of the novel, but it testifies, perhaps, to a measure of moral growth; or, if Victor's vindictive diction places that conclusion in some doubt, at least to a sharper sense of the price that has been paid for his solitary ambition and withdrawal from normative human interactions. Still, suspecting that Victor's self-important posture as family protector will only eventuate in great calamities, a reader may find it hard not to cast an ironic eye upon what continue as usual to be good intentions never sufficiently thought through.