Built for Survival

During the monster’s narration in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the monster travels the over 600km journey from Ingolstadt to Geneva, all on foot.  During this time, he had to survive against the harsh elements and terrain, while also collecting food. Looking at the conditions of which he had to face will allow one to tell how well Dr. Frankenstein has built the monster for survival.

One of the things to look at is the climate. From the book, one can find that the monster throughout his journey has lasted about year (Shelly 142). This shows that he had to endure all the seasons of the year. Additionally, one  can predict what he is wearing. In the book, the author wrote, “I had covered myself with some clothes, but these were insufficient to secure me from the dews of nights” (109). From this, it can be determined that he is not wearing any heavy clothing in order to stay warm during the cold nights. He is probably wearing a basic shirt, pants and maybe a light coat. The start and end point are already known, showing that the monster experienced the climates of Switzerland and southern Germany. Annual temperature data from the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology shows that the climate is more mild in the north of the country and can get quite cold in the mountains and in the south of the country (“The Climate of Switzerland”). This show that through the worst parts of the monster’s trek through the mountains, he had to deal with freezing temperatures. All of this shows how remarkably the Frankenstein monster has been built to handle cold climate. The most likely way of doing this would have been done by giving the monster a good amount of insulating body fat.

Another thing to look at is the physical geography. The area is very mountainous with there being the Jura mountain range in the north of Switzerland and the Alps covering in the south (Briney). This troubling terrain would have made it challenging if it were not for the fact that he is very strong. Dr. Frankenstein said that ”another flash discovered him to me hanging among the rocks of the nearly perpendicular ascent of Mont Salêve… He soon reached the summit and disappeared” (71-80). This demonstrates the monster’s strength and courage to be able to climb up the perpendicular side of the mountain and reach the top without any climbing gear. Dr. Frankenstein must have given him some big muscles and hands that were capable of gripping rock to be able to complete that feat.

A photo of the Swiss Alps by Steve Evans.

An additional thing to check would be his food source. Frankenstein says that “I abstained and satisfied myself with berries, nuts and roots” (118). This gives an insight into the typical diet of the Frankenstein monster. To look at the nutritional value of this diet, the wild blueberries that grow in Switzerland will be used as an example (Misicka). The amount of calories in 100g of blueberries is 57 (Palsdottir). The average adult male needs around 2500 calories daily(Gunnars). Doing some math shows that the monster would have to find and eat around 4.4kg of blueberries to get enough calories in a day. Although this would not paint the whole picture,  since he would be burning a lot more calories exercising and he would be eating a variety of different things, this does show that he would need to spend a large portion of his day just looking for food. Because he spent more of his time doing things other than scavenging for food, Dr. Frankenstein probably gave him a low metabolism. This would have allowed him to need less energy in order to operate and therefore less food that he had to eat.

This what Dr. Frankenstein might have done to make the monster fit for survival. This makes the monster quite similar to the super mutants of the game Fallout. The reason for that being that the two were created by humans, could survive in their environments very well, and were not appealing to the eye.


“Annual Course Series for Temperature-Sunshine-Precipitation.” MeteoSwiss, Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, 1 Nov. 2018, www.meteoswiss.admin.ch/home/climate/the-climate-of-switzerland/annual-course-series-for-temperature-sunshine-precipitation.html.

Briney, Amanda. “Switzerland: History, Economics, Geography.” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 9 Apr. 2019, www.thoughtco.com/geography-of-switzerland-1435616.

Evans, Steve. “Swiss Alps 003.” Wikimedia Commons, 3 Jan. 2012, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Swiss_Alps_003_(6815891681).jpg#filelinks.

Fallout. PC, 1997.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Penguin Group, 2013.

Gunnars, Kris. “How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 6 July 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-calories-per-day.

Misicka, Susan, and Ester Unterfinger. “A Sweet Treat for Hunter-Gatherers.” SWI Swissinfo.ch, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, 15 May 2017, www.swissinfo.ch/eng/blueberry_a-sweet-treat-for-hunter-gatherers/43171330.

Palsdottir, Hrefna. “Blueberries 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 20 Feb. 2019, www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/blueberries.

“The Climate of Switzerland.” MeteoSwiss, Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, 1 Nov. 2018, www.meteoswiss.admin.ch/home/climate/the-climate-of-switzerland.html.


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