Frankenstein Book Report
I. Author and Author Background 1. ) Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born on August 30, 1797, and died February 1, 1851, at the age of fifty-four.
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She was born into a family of literary celebrities. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and her father, William Godwin, were both distinguished authors. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of Mary Shelley’s birth, her mother died eleven days after giving birth to her due to puerperal fever. Her mother’s death left Godwin to care for Mary and her three-year-old half-sister, Fanny.
Mary Shelley was eighteen, not yet nineteen, when she wrote Frankenstein. She started writing Frankenstein in 1816, which was the same year she married her husband, Percy Shelley. Mary Shelley had four children throughout her life. Unfortunately, three of them died early in their lives. Her fourth child named Percy Florence lived even longer than Mary herself. Of all the heartbreak and miseries that Mary Shelley had gone through, there had to have been some of her own personal history evident in the novel.
Since there were so many deaths in her life: her sister’s suicide, her mother’s death, and her three children’s death, the monster, in my opinion, could have represented the sicknesses and the deaths that she had encountered. She may have felt like the very character she created, Victor Frankenstein, which may be the reason she portrayed the character so well. Although she encountered many deaths, like Victor Frankenstein, I believe that she felt similar to the way the monster had. After all, Mary Shelley was neglected by her father and her step-mother after the death of her birth mother.
She often felt alone and unhappy just as the monster had. II. Gothic Novel 1. ) The elements of a gothic novel can be extensive, but they all are mainly the same in some shape or form. A gothic novel should have some type of mystery or suspenseful mood. Some type of supernatural occurrences should be somewhere in the story. Emotions should be on edge for some characters because the characters are often overcome by high emotions, such as sadness or terror. In many gothic novels, there are usually females in distress or some kind of overpowering male that is a threat to them. In gothic novels, something called a metonymy is used.
For example, if there was a scene in a novel where the character is filled with great sorrow, there would be a dark and gloomy rainstorm. The vocabulary of a gothic novel can also play a huge role. There are some words in a gothic novel that are used very often. Anguish and hopeless are very popular words used to represent sadness, so popular, in fact, that they were used repeatedly in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is said that the first gothic novel originated in 1764 when the novel The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole was written. The word “goth” originally came from a Germanic tribe.
The Romans regarded goths as crude and unsophisticated. Considering the meaning of the word Goth is a person of no refinement, the Romans were spot on. Since there is some sort of supernatural beings or occurrences in gothic novels, Frankenstein definitely falls into the gothic literature category. Frankenstein fits because Victor Frankenstein made his monster out of dead people’s body parts and brought it to life. In Gothic novels there are usually horrific elements of terror. In the novel, Frankenstein, the monster instills fear in people because of his threats to Victor and the murders he committed.
In fact, two of the people the monster killed consisted of a naive child and an innocent woman. III. Romantic Novel 1. ) Romantic novels usually consist of different elements and characteristics. There is usually some kind of powerful love between characters. It is usually an overwhelming emotion for the character. Love occurred in Frankenstein between Victor and Elizabeth because they wanted to get married and be together. Generally the lovers have to part because of some obstacle or event that takes place. Victor and Elizabeth were indeed parted after Victor left to go to Ingolstadt to do research about different philosophical studies.
Considering most romantic novels take place in a foreign setting. Frankenstein fits the characteristic, the countries that Frankenstein visits are curious and distant. The monster in Frankenstein sets up an element typically seen in Romantic novels when he threatens Victor by telling him he will be with him on his wedding night. Elizabeth ended up as a target and was killed because of the monster’s revenge towards Victor. This put emotions on edge, which is a very popular characteristic in Romantic novels. The monster is also very bizarre and unusual especially in its appearance and insight.
Frankenstein’s monster is not something that would be encountered very often and it is not very believable. IV. Framework Story 1. ) In the beginning of the novel, Captain Walton is writing letters to his sister in order to inform her about the things he had encountered on his voyage. He “frames” the story because he lays down the makings of how Victor Frankenstein will be telling his story. Captain Walton informs the reader that he starts to become fond of Victor and he could tell he had gone through some hard times that had nearly drained him. 2. Starting at Chapter 1, the story is told by Victor Frankenstein. He is enlightening Captain Walton by telling him his sad and painful story of his past. 3. ) At Chapter 11, the third story was told by none other than the monster himself. His story was framed by Victor’s story because it had taken place during the same period that Victor thought he had gotten rid of the monster. 4. ) Towards the end of the novel, after Victor is finished with telling his story to the captain, he dies. This continues the framework of the main story because it takes place after the story is told.
The novel finishes with the story being told from Captain Walton’s point of view. He finishes his story just as he started it; he continues to write to his sister telling her about his thoughts and feelings of Victor Frankenstein and his monster. V. Doppelganger 1. ) There are many possibilities why Frankenstein would want the death of his beloved family and friends. Victor is as much of a monster as the thing he created. A. Victor had the knowledge of William’s death and he knew who the murderer was. It was almost as if he wanted the monster to continue killing his family.
He never tried hard in order to get rid of the monster he had created. William was almost, in a way, Victor’s way to torture himself for making the monster. William may have caused the death of Victor’s mother; this may have been a reason for Frankenstein wanting the death of William. B. Justine died because she had been set up by Victor’s secret. Justine could have lived, but in order for her vindication, Victor had to tell the truth and stop the menace. Justine had always been in the family and she had so often been accepted and loved by Victor’s family. Which may be why Victor thought it was better she die.
C. Clerval died because Victor could not admit to himself that he was the reason that William and Justine both were killed. They could have been spared if Victor wasn’t so secretive and manipulative towards his family and friends. Clerval was one of the only ones who had any idea about what kind of experiments and studies Frankenstein had been orchestrating. Victor may not have wanted Clerval to tell his family and friends of what he was doing. D. Elizabeth died because Victor didn’t want to make a female for the monster. The monster wanted acceptance more than anything but Victor wouldn’t help him.
Elizabeth died because of Victor’s trickery and non-acceptance towards his own creation. He didn’t even protect Elizabeth after the monster told him he would be with him on his wedding night. Elizabeth’s death may have been a way for Victor to keep her to himself. If she was dead, then no one else could have her, especially not the monster. E. Victor’s father died because Victor couldn’t come to the self-realization that he was an egotistical and selfish human being who was blaming all of the murders on the monster, when, in reality, Frankenstein was the true reason that so many people were hurt.
Victor may have wanted the death of his father because he believed that his father could have done more to save his mother. VI. Allusions 1. ) The Greek myth of “Prometheus” has a connection and similarities to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Prometheus was one of the Titan gods. He wanted to create a being which was able to “absorb spirit”, and Prometheus took clay and water and shaped human beings according to the image of the gods. After another god named Athena breathed life into his work, they came alive. Unfortunately, Zeus and some fellow gods found out about the beings and wanted the humans to worship the gods.
The gods promised to take care of the human beings if they adored the gods and did what they were told in order to be protected. Prometheus went to Zeus as a watcher of the human-beings to make sure that the conditions would not be too hard. But he tricked Zeus. Due to Prometheus’s trickery, Zeus punished the human beings with despair and sickness and refused them the essential fire. This did not sit well with Prometheus, so he stole a piece of the sun and brought the fire to the humans and as a result, Zeus got very angry and had Prometheus tortured.
After the reading of this myth, there was no doubt that Prometheus had a connection to Frankenstein. Both Prometheus and Frankenstein went too far without thinking about the consequences of their actions. In both stories, life was given to self-made bodies. Like Prometheus, Frankenstein wants to create his own species that would be of a wonderful and happy existence. Due to their limitations, Frankenstein and Prometheus both went into isolations of their own kind. Frankenstein chose his, while Prometheus was forced to live out his life by himself, all while both were tortured.
The differences between them were that Prometheus cared for his creations, while Frankenstein despised his creation and wanted nothing to do with it. VII. Theme (Universal Truths) and Quotations 1. )Revenge is a very common theme in novels. This is mostly because humans allow their anger to get the best of them at the worst possible times. When a person is overcome with rage and has revenge on their mind, they don’t think rationally. The author conveyed this in her story well because some of the characters experienced great amounts of rage and revenge.
Many ambitious people are always in the pursuit of knowledge, but they don’t always find what they are looking for. Sometimes ignorance truly is better than what you discover in the long run and you don’t know that until it’s too late. Having a conflict between a child and a parent isn’t always just in teenage years. No matter what a kid and a parent do, they will never see eye to eye all the time and that is just how it is. The truth of the matter is, revenge is a desire that can overcome somebody in retaliation to something or someone who has done harm.
There will always be something new to learn, which means more people in pursuit of the unknown. 2. )”You can blast my other passions; but revenge remains — revenge, henceforth dearer than light of food! I may die, but first you, my tyrant and tormentor, shall curse the sun that gazes on your misery. ” 1. The monster is talking towards Frankenstein during which time the quote was said. 2. At this point in the book, Frankenstein refused the monster its request to make another creature like him and got rid of the unfinished creation. The monster is very upset and tells Frankenstein that he will have his revenge. 3.
This quote is on page 123 of the novel. 4. This quote relates to the theme revenge because the monster feels so angry at Frankenstein, that he feels revenge is the only way to solve his problems. Once something angers a being, a passion for revenge is often the retaliation that occurs. 3. ) “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow. ” 1. Frankenstein is speaking to Captain Walton as he begins his story. 2.
Captain Walton is sitting with Frankenstein during which time he is starting to tell the Captain about all of the horrific things that have happened to him and what he should learn and take with him from his story. 3. This quote resides on page 31 of Frankenstein. 4. What Frankenstein says in this quote definitely relates to the theme “pursuit of knowledge” because Victor Frankenstein wanted to learn so much, that he couldn’t see what was happening around him. His pursuit of knowledge took over him, as it does most people who are eager to learn. 4. ) “Oh! My creator, make me happy; let me feel gratitude towards you for one benefit!
Let me see that I excite the sympathy of some existing thing; do not deny me my request! ” 1. The monster is speaking to Frankenstein earnestly. 2. The monster is asking Frankenstein for one favor so he may be accepted. He wants him to make another creature like him, only female. 3. This quote is on page 105. 4. This quote relates to the theme conflict with parent and child because it shows how the monster and Frankenstein haven’t gotten along, which is why the monster is pleading so sincerely. This is similar with parents and children today: they don’t always get along or follow each other, no matter how desperate they seem.