From his hovel, the monster notices a nearby cottage occupied by the De Lacey family. He observes them cautiously from a safe distance as he now recognises man’s potential to be cruel. This shows us again that the monster is constantly developing, and experiencing a variety of different emotions, such as love. Love is portrayed in ‘Frankenstein’ after he watches the daily routine of the De Lacey’s (through a small gap in the wooden panes, previous to where the window was. This is a sign that they were not very wealthy). He discovers the sound of music through the old, blind man playing his recorder. This enchants him and he begins to admire this family.
After this point his mixed emotions are so strong when watching Agathe and the old man, so strong that he cannot bear to watch the family anymore. (the music touched his heart and he felt a mixture of both pain and pleasure with love) He gradually learns more about them and increases his intelligence while doing so. He knows that they live in poverty and so his admiration grows for them, also for their wonderful appearance, as he is unaware of ugliness and deformity. He shows a caring side of himself when he became devoted to help the De Lacey’s by cutting wood. ‘This monster’ becomes generous, helpful and intelligent. He also decided to ‘satisfy himself with berries, nuts and roots’ instead of eating tastier food that they ate. This implies that this so called brute was also thoughtful.
The monster’s narrative tells us that he is determined character who would do anything to belong, he attempted to learn the English language to hopefully reason with the De Lacey’s and make them realise that he wasn’t a wretched evil brute but a kind-hearted being. He was doing well until he saw his reflection in a pool of water. This part of the story (Chapter 12, page 109) is significant in tracing the change of his character because he was mortified with his appearance and became miserable.
He now knew entirely why he was hated in the previous village; it was for his monstrous, alien appearance. He became aware of all the racial prejudice in the world and realised that this was the source of all his problems. Knowing this made the monster bitter at man, however he still thought of the De Lacey family as wonderful and still he wanted ‘to restore happiness to these deserving people’. Other experiences the monster undergoes during Chapter 12 are his first realisations of the four seasons. This happens when he found that different flowers grew at different times of the year. This is another example of his developing intelligence.
The next vital point in the development and change of the monster is the arrival of Safie, an Arabian woman not knowing the English language. This immensely profited him because during Safie’s stay with the De Lacey’s she began to take lessons to speak English. The monster therefore also learned the language at a rapid pace. Also in Chapter 13 we see a very sensitive side of the Monster when he is describing the nature surrounding him. (‘innumerable flowers, sweet to the scent and the eyes, stars of pale radiance among the moonlight woods’) While Safie remains in the De Lacey household the monster begins to learn more about human nature, especially involving the love between a man (Felix) and a woman (Safie). He could not believe the ecstatic joy that Felix was in when meeting Safie, when before he seemed to be so miserable.
He realises that they were both ‘affected by different feelings’, Felix by the way ‘his cheeks flushed with pleasure’ and Safie by how she ‘wiped tears from her lovely eyes.’ The monster observes more involving human nature when he heard ‘of the difference of sexes and the birth and growth of children’, he also heard of the different relationships between humans such as mother, father, brother and sister. This is the first stage of his life when he asks himself, ‘where are my friends and relations?’ To his recollection he has had no one to care for him and remembers nothing before his first account in his narrative story. He genuinely questions what and who he is and so again we feel sympathy.
The monster emotionally develops from what he learns of human nature, this occurs when Safie sings to Agatha and the old man. This deeply moves him as her voice ‘at once brought tears of delight and joy from his eyes.’ He described the music as ‘a rich cadence, swelling or dying away like a nightingale of the woods’.’ His reaction to her singing again brings out his sensitivity. The monster while constantly developing his knowledge of English, (now with the help of Safie’s lessons) still longs companionship with the De Lacey’s. He feels that he needs to be part of this ‘wonderful family.’ Although he understands that he has been previously rejected and seen as an ‘ugly wretch’, he believes that the power of language can overcome the deformity of his face.
However much he hopes that he will be accepted, he still remains conscious of his previous encounters with man. The monster remains fearful of how the De Lacey’s’ will react to him. The next part of the monster’s narrative (Chapter 14) relates little to himself but his knowledge increases of the De Lacey’s history, before they moved to Germany. The monster discovered such information from several letters written from Safie to Felix. Here we find that he has learnt more skills, the skills to read and write.
The monster later decides to copy these letters himself to bring truth to his tale, for Victor Frankenstein. From these letters we learn an awful lot about the De Lacey’s, such as that previously they led wealthy lifestyles in Paris. He learnt that their wealth was lost when a Turkish merchant was condemned to death for becoming obnoxious towards the French government. This affected the De Lacey’s because Felix vowed to help the Turk escape and did so.
(In return he was offered a reward but he declined; however he agreed to marry the merchants daughter, Safie) When learning from the De Lacey’s he also confirmed the relationship between the family. The old man is known as De Lacey and is father to Felix and Agatha. It was of course illegal to do this and so this resulted in the De Lacey’s being exiled. Knowing all this improved the monsters understanding of why the De Lacey’s seemed so unhappy and he now fully realised the poverty they were in.