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This question started as a discussion in the commentaries of What mammalian biological constraints would have to be relaxed/changed in order to allow Victorian style mixing of body parts?

The popular idea is that the monster is made out of pieces of corpses, sewn together, but... two arguments against this:

(1) Quote from ch. 4:

Although I possessed the capacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for the reception of it, with all its intricacies of fibres, muscles, and veins, still remained a work of inconceivable difficulty and labour. I doubted at first whether I should attempt the creation of a being like myself, or one of simpler organization; but my imagination was too much exalted by my first success to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complex and wonderful as man.

Sewing parts is equally easy/difficult for humans and animals.

(2) The idea of multiple body pieces is incompatible with the subsequent plot:

Frankenstein destroys the second (female) creature because he don't want a race of monsters. It's really difficult making a sterile creature from pieces of corpses?

Relevant link: What is Frankenstein's monster made of? Also, the novel in Gutenberg.org.

EDIT for clarification:

The quote (1) plus the previous research of "... the natural decay and corruption of the human body." suggests some type of guided "taratoembriological" process starting from raw materials simpler than body parts. Some type of non magical Hellraiser-style resurrection.

Relevant ch. 20 quote for (2):

Even if they were to leave Europe and inhabit the deserts of the new world, yet one of the first results of those sympathies for which the daemon thirsted would be children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth who might make the very existence of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror. Had I right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting generations?

If Frankenstein don't want this,

making a female monster without an uterus is trivially easy sewing parts, while arguably impossible by "taratoembriological" process.

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    It's people!. – Valorum Feb 10 '17 at 11:05
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    Could you clarify how either of your two points constitutes an argument against? The first appears to say "building a human-like creature seemed like an insurmountable task, but in my pride I resolved to do it anyway", which doesn't offer much, and the second seems like a non sequitur. – hobbs Feb 10 '17 at 15:28
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    What is taratoembriological supposed to mean? – Valorum Feb 10 '17 at 18:20
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    You appear to be trying to ask two different questions here 1) What is the Monster made out of? and 2) Why didn't Frankenstein sterilise the female monster? – Valorum Feb 10 '17 at 18:25
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    @Valorum, generating a monster by a process similar in some sense to the natural embryological development. – Martín-Blas Pérez Pinilla Feb 10 '17 at 18:26
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By all accounts it seems the others here have very well addressed the first half of this question and settled how Frankenstein’s creation/monster/“son” was constructed. (For convenience, I will be using the popular nickname “Adam” here to refer to the created being). However, it seems either I or they have misread Dr. Victor’s fears and his later exchange with Adam.

It is true that the text shows that Victor clearly feared that his actions would enable more inhuman and nearly invincible beings to come into the world. However, he never specifically said they would do so through biological reproduction. This text is from directly before Victor destroyed the second creation:

“I trembled and my heart failed within me, when, on looking up, I saw by the light of the moon the daemon at the casement. A ghastly grin wrinkled his lips as he gazed on me, where I sat fulfilling the task which he had allotted to me. Yes, he had followed me in my travels; he had loitered in forests, hid himself in caves, or taken refuge in wide and desert heaths; and he now came to mark my progress and claim the fulfilment of my promise.”
*quoted from the Guttenberg e-text of the book located here: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/84/84-h/84-h.htm

I have always read this not simply as a statement that Adam was tracking Victor, but that he was studying the process by which his kind is made. Remember how easily he learned to speak? This would mean that the act of creating one sterile companion for Adam could have enabled him to make more.

And even if she was infertile, Victor wasn’t comfortable with there being one Adam, much less two. Even if Victor could have guaranteed their number would never go above two, there was no guarantee she alone wouldn’t be a like a demon and a monster to mankind.

  • Very good in-universe explanation. +1. – Martín-Blas Pérez Pinilla Feb 10 '17 at 20:37
  • Thank you. And perhaps I’m overestimating him, but I’ve always been impressed by Adam. – Benjamin Feb 10 '17 at 20:48
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    Also, while some interpretations try to explain away the speed of his learning (such as the 1994 film) there are always counterarguments. Ie: while I love the quote “not things learned so much as remembered,” even in that film the brain was from a legendary surgeon, so some room for supposition still exists… – Benjamin Feb 10 '17 at 20:57
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The 'monster' is made out of various body parts, either those collected fresh from the graveyard or those that were stored for future use. The good doctor makes repeated references to his "materials", this being his own coy expression for the body pieces he's harvesting from corpses.

Nor could I consider the magnitude and complexity of my plan as any argument of its impracticability. It was with these feelings that I began the creation of a human being. As the minuteness of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed, I resolved, contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionably large. After having formed this determination and having spent some months in successfully collecting and arranging my materials, I began.

Frankenstein: Chapter 5

and

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful.

Frankenstein: Chapter 5

and latterly,

I now also began to collect the materials necessary for my new creation, and this was to me like the torture of single drops of water continually falling on the head. Every thought that was devoted to it was an extreme anguish, and every word that I spoke in allusion to it caused my lips to quiver, and my heart to palpitate.

Frankenstein: Chapter 19


As to whether such a thing is possible, you've neglected to add the second part of your quote, in which the good Doctor informs us of his growing prowess as a surgeon...

...but my imagination was too much exalted by my first success to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complex and wonderful as man.

The materials at present within my command hardly appeared adequate to so arduous an undertaking, but I doubted not that I should ultimately succeed. I prepared myself for a multitude of reverses; my operations might be incessantly baffled, and at last my work be imperfect, yet when I considered the improvement which every day takes place in science and mechanics, I was encouraged to hope my present attempts would at least lay the foundations of future success. Nor could I consider the magnitude and complexity of my plan as any argument of its impracticability. It was with these feelings that I began the creation of a human being. As the minuteness of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed, I resolved, contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionably large. After having formed this determination and having spent some months in successfully collecting and arranging my materials, I began.

Frankenstein: Chapter 4

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    The part about how the minuteness of the parts slowed him down leads me to believe that he actually built a cadaver from the skeleton up, sewing individual muscles, veins & such together as he went. This doesn't change your answer, but it's still a far cry from the popular idea of him slapping some arms & legs onto a torso and frying it with lightning. – Omegacron Feb 10 '17 at 15:12
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    @Omegacron "Popular idea of him slapping some arms & legs onto a torso and frying it with lightning" - correct, people are confusing him with Darth Vader. – void_ptr Feb 10 '17 at 17:35
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    See my comment to the another answer. Never is said that the materials are complete body parts. Also, see my edit. – Martín-Blas Pérez Pinilla Feb 10 '17 at 17:51
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    Your first quote is actually what led me to believe upon reading the novel that the "materials" are not parts of bodies. Since he explicitly mentions the "intricacies of fibres, muscles, and veins" as a hindrance, it's clear that scaling up the monster means scaling up the size of the "fibres, muscles, and veins". How is this possible if he's just collecting them? Beyond that, your answer seems to rest entirely on the assumption that "materials" means "animal and/or human tissue." I have no idea what evidence there is to support this assumption. – Kyle Strand Feb 10 '17 at 20:31
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    @KyleStrand when I read it, I assumed he was just collecting large parts from large former individuals, and that in Shelley's imaginary natural world, these parts were "scaled up" appropriately for Frankenstein's needs. Maybe that's not what was meant; it certainly doesn't make much sense. As for what evidence there is to think that "materials" means "corpse parts", did you miss Mithrandir's answer? – Dan Getz Feb 11 '17 at 0:58
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It does in fact appear to be human bits.

It was indeed but a passing trance, that only made me feel with renewed acuteness so soon as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing to operate, I returned to my old habits. I collected bones from charnel-houses and disturbed, with profane fingers, the secrets of the human frame. In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separate from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation......The dissecting room and the slaughterhouse furnished many of my materials;
-Frankenstein, Chapter 4

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    Counterargument: Frankenstein says that "I must also observe the natural decay and corruption of the human body." Frankenstein collects corpses for research. – Martín-Blas Pérez Pinilla Feb 10 '17 at 10:59
  • A slaughterhouse would not contain human materials, but rather those of nonhuman animals (a dissecting room could be either one). I think the statements are compatible with the idea that he constructed new organs out of basic materials like animal tissue (and possibly inorganic material as well) rather than simply sewing together complete organs from people or nonhuman animals. – Hypnosifl Sep 11 at 0:23

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