Frankenstein S.G. Letters & Chapter 1-4

The novel begins with a series of letters in which the narrator of the novel is writing his thoughts and plans to his sister. Where is the narrator going? Why has he chosen to make this voyage? Of what does the narrator dream? What is his goal? The narrator is in Petersburg, Russia. He has wanted to make the voyage since he was a young boy. His dream is to see as much of the world as possible specifically the north pacific ocean. His goal is to spend his life at sea and see as many things as possible.
Walton says he is a “Romantic.” What is a Romantic person like? Very passionate and enthusiastic (overly emotional)
What evidence does Walton provide of his Romantic leanings? Walton desires someone gentle, courageous, cultivated, intelligent, and worldly.
Aside from personal glory, what two benefits to mankind does Walton hope to achieve? The other two benefits to mankind Walton hope to achieve are finding a water route across the poles to Russia & to discover the secret of the magnetic poles.
Identify one example of foreshadowing. An example of foreshadowing is when Frankenstein warns Walton the danger of spending a lifetime searching for knowledge and the world’s secrets
How do Walton’s letters illustrate the tension between eighteenth-century rationalism and nineteenth-century Romanticism? Rationalism is very strict and patriarchal. Romanticism is the opposite with emphasis on emotion, nature, and personal development.
What is Walton’s impression of Frankenstein? Walton describes Frankenstein as being mysterious, gentle, intelligent but weighed down by troubles.
How does Frankenstein react to Walton’s dream/goal? Frankenstein is mostly positive about Walton’s dream/goal except Walton’s belief that a man’s life or death is a small price to pay for knowledge about the hidden secrets of nature.
Why does Frankenstein decide to tell Walton his story? Frankenstein sees the same spirit in Walton that he had and he wants to warn Walton of the potential horror or danger.
What plot exposition does Shelley offer the reader in these chapters? The family history of the Frankenstein’s is that of benevolence and attempting to save in a worse position than they are. The father wanted to save she who would later become his wife Caroline and then Caroline and the father later saved Elizabeth.
What are Frankenstein’s parents like? How do they feel about each other and about their child? Frankenstein’s parents are kind, loving, understanding, and doting. The parents loved one another and cared and spoiled Victor Frankenstein.
How are Victor and Elizabeth different? What kind of person is Victor? Victor is curious, intelligent, the cause of things, and loves life. Elizabeth is calmer, concentrated on directly observable things, and motherly. Victor likes to know the reason of why things are the way they are.
What quality in young Frankenstein proves to be his tragic flaw later in life? The quality that proves Frankenstein’s tragic flaw later in life is being overly curious about hidden laws of nature.
Who is Henry Clerval? What is he like? How is he different from Victor? He is Frankenstein’s schoolfriend who is the son of merchant. He is very romantic, likes singing, and the idea of chivalry. He is different from Victor is that he is skillful in the arts and literature where as Victor is skilled in the sciences.
What does Victor want to accomplish in life? Why does he turn to the study of mathematics? What prevents him from continuing his study? Victor wants to accomplish in life how to understand all the causes of nature. He turns to the study of mathematics because his father didn’t approve of humanities and felt math was first step to understanding & worth his attention. His father wants Victor to experience other cultures outside of the country which prevents him from continuing his study.
How is Elizabeth a “typical” Romantic female character? Elizabeth is a “typical” Romantic female character because she is solely interested in her family and has a very innocent/pure air about her.
How did Cornelius Agrippa and other early scientists affect young Victor? Cornelius Agrippa and other early scientists affected young Victor by making him believe there was some ancient wisdom in their beliefs and that they were also interested in learning natural philosophy like he was.
How does Victor view his switch to mathematics? What does he compare it to? Victor views his switch to mathematics as a point of practical knowledge, something he could understand and use (real knowledge). He compares it to a secure foundation for the building of the rest of scientific knowledge.
What is foreshadowed at the end of Chapter 2? At the end of Chapter 2, Frankenstein’s studies would lead to his downfall are foreshadowed.
How is the story of Victor’s mother’s death ironic? The story of Victor’s mother’s death is ironic because the scenario is quite similar to Caroline and the father (fever and leaving young girl beyond).
What does Victor contemplate in the first hours of his departure? How do these thoughts indicate his future? Victor contemplates in the first hours of his departure his loneliness and isolation but on the other hand he can indulge in his curiosities. These thoughts indicate his future that he going to be a very solitary person and spend his time quenching his curiosities.
Why does Victor not want to study the contemporary scientists suggested by M. Krempe? Victor doesn’t want to study the contemporary scientists suggested by M. Krempe because he believes all the contemporary scientists are trying to break apart the old ideas but not creating anything new.
What ultimately changes Victor’s mind about new chemists? What changes Victor’s mind about new chemists is that new chemists look like they are doing nothing but they have actually gone further in understanding nature than anyone ever has.
Compare the physiognomy of Krempe and Waldman. Krempe is short, squat, gruff, and unkempt. Waldman is professorial, quizzical and expressive.
What is the literary term for M. Waldman and the effect that his lecture and guidance have on Victor? The literary term for M. Waldman is serving as the counterpoint M. Krempe. The effect that his lecture and guidance have on Victor is that modern science can actually be useful to further Victor’s curious tendencies.
Why does Victor favor science above all other disciplines? Victor favors science above all other disciplines because science is the only way to understand the ‘unknown powers and deepest mysteries of nature & creation.’ (natural talent as well)
How is Victor’s practice of science different from the modern practice of science? Victor’s practice of science is different from the modern practice of science is that modern science finds one thing to study and specialize in where as Victor studies everything and does very well across the board.
Why does Victor hesitate to make a creature like man? Why does he go through with it? Victor hesitate to make a creature like man because man is going to be extremely complex and feels to first attempt creating man is a corruption of the power he has been given. He goes through with it because his imagination was too exalted to doubt himself
What traditional tragic flaw is Victor demonstrating? The traditional tragic flaw Victor is demonstrating is suffering from hubris (ego).
What is the central flaw in Victor’s decision what to create? The central flaw in Victor’s decision on what to create is that he wants to create the most complex thing from the beginning and doesn’t take into account the consequences.
What internal conflict does Victor deal with as he finishes his creation? The internal conflict Victor deals with as he finishes his creation is that his human nature is disturbed by moral issues. He is stealing bodies, torturing animals to learn life & death, and spends a lot of his time in the dissecting room & slaughterhouse. Feels his future will be empty after creation is completed.
List some gothic details from the end of Chapter IV. Once one objective is completed, the rest of life will just be decay. The whole thing with destruction.
What is Romantic in the moral Victor shares with Walton? The Romantic moral Victor shares with Walton is that you shouldn’t ignore your feelings and your connections to the world around you for the sake of one single pursuit.

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