Frankenstein study

The novel begins with a series of letters in which the narrator 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? Russia; he wanted to go to a place never discovered by man before; he wants to go on a dangerous journey to find something unknown to man.
Walton says he is a “Romantic.” What is a Romantic person like? Extremely sentimental, had powerful emotions, was sensitive to the beauty of nature, somewhat of an individualist. Attracted to lost causes, usually portrayed as talented on poetry or the arts.
What evidence does Walton provide of his Romantic leanings? His love of nature, his desire, his individualism; importance of friendship
Aside from personal glory, what two benefits to mankind does Walton hope to achieve? Looking for a passage through North Pole; discover something else new (an animal, land, object?)
How do Walton’s letters illustrate the tension between the eighteenth century rationalism and nineteenth century Romanticism? His letters set a realistic time for a completely fantastic story
What is Walton’s impression of Frankenstein? At first calls him a “divine wanderer” and tells about his frozen limbs. Impressed by his gentle manners
How does Frankenstein react to Walton’s dream/goal? He says he’s him given up on life
Why does Frankenstein decide to tell Walton his story? He recognizes that he shares with Walton the same fascination for forbidden knowledge
What plot exposition does Shelley offer the readers in these chapters? 1. Victor is of Geneva, father prior to marrying Caroline worked very hard2. After his father married, Victor’s family settled down and began to grow3. Victor and Elizabeth meant to marry, family nurtures relationship4. Victor interested in science5. Victor leaves for university and interest in math and science blooms
What are Frankenstein’s parents like? How do they feel about each other and about their child? They’re well-respected people of the town; they’re deeply in love; they feel compassion and affection toward their son
How are Victor and Elizabeth different? What kind of person is Victor? Elizabeth is passive and doesn’t really know how to make her own decisions; considered perfect woman. Victor is quiet and likes to keep to himself, dedicated
What quality in young Frankenstein proves to be his tragic flaw later in life? He wants to be a creator of life, like a human god
Who is Henry Clerval? How is he different from Victor? Victor’s childhood friend; noble spirit, perfectly humane; no interest on science, interested in the moral relations of things
What does Victor want to accomplish in life? Why does he turn to the study of mathematics? What prevents him from continuing his study? Conquering death in bringing eternal life to mankind; science of math presents him with “eternal” framework that can support his work
How is Elizabeth a “typical” Romantic female character? She doesn’t really provide any other contribution other than waiting around for Victor
How did Cornelius Agrippa and other early scientists affect young Victor? The system of “science” that Agrippa propounds has long since been proven false; Victor unaware, reads all of his work. He shares their desire to penetrate the secrets of nature, to search for conquering death
How is the story of Victor’s mother’s death ironic? He wanted elixir of life, and she contracted it from Elizabeth
What does Victor contemplate in the first hours of his departure? How do these thoughts indicate his future? Not good with new people, becomes more reclusive and more enveloped in his work
Why does Victor not want to study the contemporary scientists suggested by M. Krempe? He likes the older stuff, immorality and power
What is the literary term for M. Waldman and the effect that his lecture and guidance have on Victor? Catalyst -> character/event changes a character, causes a domino effect
How is Victor’s practice of science different from the modern practice of science? No scientific method; reads books, spends time in a morgue, observing and recording. Modern is based on experiments
Why does Victor hesitate to make a creature like man? Why does he go through with it? Not sure how to put it together; decides on large parts. Ego convinces him, hubris, wants a creature that will owe allegiance to him
What traditional tragic flaw is Victor demonstrating? Ego
What is the central flaw in Victor’s decision what to create? Believes he’s creating new life form; imitating old life
What internal conflict does Victor deal with as he finishes his creation? It’s hideous, repulsive, but he’d been so obsessed
List Gothic details from end of chapter 4. Yellow eyes, black lips. Victor: bulging eyes, pale, isolated lab, time in morgue, emaciated body
What is Romantic in the moral Victor shares with Walton? No pursuit is not important than relationships with people. Study of science stew him away from appreciating nature
How is the night that the creature is born an example of Gothic prose? Dark and stormy, candle almost at end, creepy
What is ironic about the creature’s physical appearance? Victor selected parts to be beautiful, but was grotesque
What is Romantic about the creature’s physical appearance? Grotesque character, flowing black hair, pearly teeth
How does Frankenstein feel about his creation? What does he do after the creature comes to life? Disgusted, runs away filled with horror
What event is foreshadowed in the beginning of chapter 5? Elizabeth’s death
What does Frankenstein feel when the creature reaches out to him? What do you think is the creature’s reason for reaching out for Dr. Frankenstein? Panic, disgust, repulsion. Comfort and recognition like a child reaching for a mother. Reaching for God
What do you learn about in Elizabeth’s letter through plot exposition? History of Justine, death of William
What sparks Victor’s fever? His creature could have done it
How is Victor’s recovery an example of Romanticism? Admires nature, heals at its beauty
How does Shelley create suspense toward the end of these chapters? Storm; wonder as to where the creature is
What function do letters serve in this and previous chapters? Relate information that Victor himself hadn’t witnessed
Why does Elizabeth believe that she is responsible for William’s death? She let him wear her mother’s necklace
What is “Gothic” about Frankenstein’s encounter with the creature? Dark, stormy, violent night. Thunder goes away when creature disappears
What is depicted in the picture above Frankenstein’s mantelpiece? Victor’s mom kneeling in front of her dad’s coffin
Why doesn’t Frankenstein take the blame for Justine? People would think he’s crazy
Why does Elizabeth’s speech in court hurt Justine? Elizabeth is too generous and kind; they think Justine betrayed her
What is revealed about Justine’s character in these chapters? Strong despite her past, religious, good person
How do the reactions of Victor and his family to William’s murder illustrate Romantic principles? They’re emotional, intense; Romantics believed they were away of emotions; gut and heart over mind
What keeps Victor from killing himself at the beginning of the chapter? Watch over the creature because worried about his family
How does Victor become a disenfranchised (denied of right/privilege) member of society himself? Alone in own thoughts; only one to know he created creature
As Victor climbs the mountains, what effect do they have on him? Peaceful, calm, boyhood pleasures, spiritual; healing power in nature
What are Victor’s feelings as his creature approaches him? What is the first thing he says to the creature? Calls him a devil
How does the creature respond to Victor? “How dare you sport thus with life” as if life was a game/sport
What biblical character does the creature compare himself to? What character does he think he ought to be? Compares himself to Satan. Adam: be adored by his creator
What do you think the creature will ask Victor? Why? Take responsibility for him; Victor has relationships and others of his kid, and he wants a friend/family
What does the creature say made him a “fiend?” What is Romantic about this? Other people rejecting him and making him miserable. Romantics believed people are good and evil is introduced when mistreated by others
What does the creature claim is the basis of Victor’s debt to him? He created him; protection, care
What does the creature promise to Victor if Victor will fulfill his duties as creator? Humble himself and act accordingly
What technique does Shelley employ to provide the reader with the creature’s story? The creature tells it to Frankenstein
Trace the levels of narration shelley has established to tell this story. Watson tells of Frankenstein who tells of the creature who tells of himself
How does the creature describe his first days of life? Very unpleasant because he was abandoned and hated
How does the creature respond to fire? Likes warmth, puts hand in it, gets burned
How are the creature’s early days different from Victor’s early days? Victor was loved and cared for; creature hated, alone
What effect does the creature’s speech (vocabulary and grammar) have on the reader? Why did Shelley write it for that purpose? Manipulates reader to sympathize with him
Why is the creature confused to see his cottagers crying? They seem like they have everything; he thought they were happy
Why does the creature work so hard to learn their language? What does that reveal about his character? He wants to communicate and make a friend; hopes being able to speak will help them overlook his looks. He really wants a friend
What does the creature say he discovers about himself? What feelings does this discovery cause? He recognizes how deformed he is. Really sad
Why is the creature’s appearance relevant? What “science” is Shelley discrediting? People see appearance before they see the person; goodness/evil portrayed in looks: attractive=good, ugly=evil. Shelley says it has nothing to do with looks
What evidence does Shelley provide of the creature’s innate goodness? Harvesting and gathering wood for cottagers
What is typically Romantic in the final paragraph of chapter 12? Spirits are uplifted in beautiful spring. (Revival in nature)
How are the creature’s first words similar to the typical first words of human babies? Concrete things learned by observing and listening
Based on what you’ve read so far, do you anticipate the cottagers will accept the creature? Why or why not? I think so, because he was so helpful toward them, he can articulate his thoughts; he’s good
Why does Shelley end chapter 12 on an apparently optimistic note? As relief – something tragic is about to happen
Explain the second sentence of this chapter: “I shall relate events that impressed me with feelings which… have made me what I am.” He’s capable of changing; it makes him fully human. Isolation by society were the events that have caused this change
What practical purpose does the beautiful stranger serve? A tool for creature to refine understanding of language
Why does the creature calls the cottagers his “protectors?” They’re teaching him, giving him tools to talk to someone
What paradox (apparent contraction that’s actually true) does the creature see in humankind through his study of human history? Men through war can be vicious and brutal, but powerful and victorious. Worst elements can be made heights
In what way does his study of human society make him what he eventually becomes? Reading about wars
What is the primary disadvantage of the creature’s “education?” Nobody to talk to or discuss with
In view of the trial of Safie’s father in chapter 14, and Justine’s trial earlier, what is Shelley’s opinion of the courts in that era? They were corrupt
How is Safie a feminist character? She defies her father; independent by marrying a Christian
What plot exposition is revealed in chapter 14? Safie and how she got to cottagers
What is the character of Safie’s father? How is he a foil to Safie, and to Victor’s own father? Safie’s father: follows traditional Islam, no respect for women. Victor’s father: caring, loving, indulged mother. Safie: enlightened female
Wha tis revealed about the creature’s character very early in chapter 15? He learns about evil by reading about it
How does the creature feel about the Sorrows of Werter? In what ways is he different from the characters in the book? He was touched by it. It made him sad. They have each other, and he’s completely alone/isolated
What is the creature’s reaction to Paradise Lost? According to the creature, how is he similar to and dissimilar from Adam? He was alone at first and wanted his creator to make him a woman. He disappointed his creator, no link to any other being, lonely, unhappy
Why couldn’t the creature fully sympathize with the character’s in Milton’s book? He’s so different
What does the creature find in his pocket? How does it make him feel? Journal of Victor Frankenstein’s notes; angry, abandoned
What happens when the creature introduces himself to the cottagers? He was attacked
Why doesn’t the creature kill itself after this incident? He still has hope that he’ll have another opportunity to talk to the old man
What evidence is there that the creature is still essentially good despite this momentous disappointment? He could have burned down the cottage and enjoy their screams, instead he hopes something will change
What does the creature decide to do? What is his new plan? Try to make contact with old man, won’t let others see him until he has old man as a mediator
What happens that makes the creature finally despair? The family moves
Why does the creature decide to go to Geneva? How have these horrible circumstances changed him? Victor had written about Geneva. His experiences have started to turn him evil
Why does the creature ask for a make? He has no like companion
What, according to the creature, is the cause of his wickedness and what will be the remedy? He’s lonely/isolated. A wife
What does Victor suggest is a creator’s obligation to his creation? Make him happy
Follow Victor’s and the creature’s lines of reasoning in their debate over the creation of the companion. Whose reasoning is most sound? Victor fears they would just kill people together. The creature says he’s become that way because he’s so alone and if he was happy, he’d stop
Why does Victor refuse to make a female monster? Do you feel he is justified in his refusal? He’s afraid they’ll kill people together and have monster-children. He could control whether or not they could reproduce since he’s the creator
What is different about his solitude at the beginning of chapter 18 from his solitude while first creating the monster? He seeks calming and natural solitude, but before he’d been locking himself in a room, like a mad scientist
What are some of the reasons Victor feels he must go to England to complete his task? Doesn’t want people he cares about to see him go through what he went through the first time
Describe Victor’s feelings as he journeys through England Stressed
What does Victor say about his childhood in chapter 19? He used to get enjoyment and peace from nature
What is Victor’s big fear in delaying his trip? The creature will get angry; kill people
What style of literature describes the place where Victor begins to work in Scotland? Why? Isolated, desolate, forbidding landscape
How is his creation of this monster different from the first? The first time was passionate, exciting, and new. This time it isn’t even bearable
Give four reasons why Victor changes his mind about making the second creature. Use evidence from the book to refute each of Victor’s reasons. 1. They’ll reproduce2. The unknown of it all. There’s no guarantee they’ll live happily ever after together, she might not even like him, and he said they’d live in isolation together and he can’t make promises for her3. Dreaded putting it together4. She could be more evil
What opinion does Victor have of his creation? Do you agree with his assessment of it? It’s a wicked demon. I agree, but it’s not by his fault
What does the creature threaten when Victor destroys the mate? Kill Elizabeth. However, Victor takes it to mean that the creature will kill him
What is familiar about the method of murder discovered in this chapter? Strangled, that’s how William was murdered
Who has been murdered, and why is Victor accused of the murder? Henry Clerval, because he was on a similar boat and because of his reaction
Why does Victor think he survived all that he had been through? How is the fact that he lives ironic? Doomed to live; creature going to kill all his friends, watch everyone he loves die; worse than death
Victor makes several references to his destiny in this chapter. What does he believe his destiny to be? Creature to kill him
Why does Victor feel he can’t be with people? What opinion does Victor express about his creation? He feels guilty for unleashing the creature. That his creature gets pleasure from his crimes
What is ironic about the desires of Victor and the creature? Victor deprives himself of relationships when he could have them. The creature wants them but can’t have them
Why does Victor decide to marry Elizabeth immediately? Get confrontation with creature over with
In what way does Elizabeth restore the Romantic Victor She’s ideal feminine Romanticist
What do you think will happen on Victor and Elizabeth’s wedding night? Victor thought creature would kill him, actually Elizabeth
How does Shelley build suspense in these chapters? Elizabeth or Victor killed? Didn’t tell it was Clerval’s murder right away. How will it go when creature and Victor finally meet?
When it finally occurs to Victor that he has foolishly misinterpreted the creature’s threat? Elizabeth screams
How does the monster react to his murdering Elizabeth? Delighted, smiles
What is different about Victor’s reaction to Elizabeth’s (and his father’s) death from the rest? He wants revenge
Victor, in his anger, says to the magistrate, “How ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom.” What is the irony in this? Victor’s pride/wisdom led him to make the creature to begin with
What does the creature want Victor to do now? How does that show a difference in the creature’s character from the point when he wanted a companion? Live and suffer; to live without everything he held dear; more painful that death itself; make him feel the same suffering as he did
Consider Victor’s statement: “When I reflected on the work I had completed, no less a one than the creation of a sensitive and rational animal, I could not rank myself with the herd or common projectors… All my speculations and hopes are as nothing; and, like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained to eternal hell” How does this establish Victor as a tragic hero? Good intentions -> fatal flaw led to downfallHe tried to be God-like, but ended up like Lucifer
On his deathbed, Victor admits that he had an obligation to make sure his creature had a happy life. What is ironic about the excuse he offers for not doing so? He said he was obligated to protect fellow man
How does the end of the novel justify the concentric levels of narration introduced at the beginning? Victor and creature die, so Walton’s letters give a way to narrate their stories
How does the inclusion of Captain Walton affect the overall meaning of the book? He acknowledges his tragic flaw; accepts failed Romantic task. Intent was to show that you can always turn things around
Explain how Victor was similar to a tragic hero. Noble birth (wealthy family and noble aspirations)Responsible for own fateTragic flaw -> ego (not foresee possibilities)Fall from great heightsRealized mistakeMeets tragic death

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