Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
1. Why did Shelley choose to construct this story upon a frame narrative?
Shelley probably used a frame narrative style to make it easy for her to mix the elements of gothic and science fiction stories.
2. Why is the arctic setting appropriate for the stories of Walton and Victor?
The arctic chill allows both men to study and make long and detailed conversations with each other, leading to their friendship.
3. What do Walton and Victor have in common?
“Obsession” is common among them.
Walton was obsessed in discovering the wonders of the north, like the constant sunshine and the force that attracts a compass’ needle (Shelley 3). Victor, on the other hand, was obesessed in discovering the mysteries of life and the hidden laws of nature (Shelley 35, 40).
4. How are Victor and Clerval different in terms of their personalities and interests?
Clerval is almost the total opposite of Victor. Clerval is a romantic fellow and enjoys fantasy and playacting (Shelley 36) while Victor, on the other hand, is more interested n the metaphysical aspects of the world (Shelley 37).
Their interests suggest that Clerval has a cheerful disposition, while Victor is more of a quiet individual.
5. What is striking about Victor’s view of his childhood? What are his parents like? Why is this significant in regard to Victor’s attitude about his creation?
Victor views his childhood as a happy one because his parents love him dearly and were not “tyrants” (Shelley 37). His parents are loving and very devoted to the family. Victor’s family background and upbringing made him describe his creation as “beautiful” (Shelley 69), just like a parent describing a son or a daughter.
6. What is the reader’s general impression of Victor as a person?
My general impression of Victor is that he is a typical scientist who is obsessed in the quest for knowledge. He is also a very responsible man as evidenced by his shouldering of the blame for creating the creature.
7. What similarities do we find between Victor and his creature?; what are their differences?
Victor and his creature are similar in their great appetite for knowledge. The difference is the kind of knowledge they pursue. The creature was more interested in the laws and governments of people and society in general (Shelley 173-174), while Victor is more interested in science.
8. How does Shelley repeatedly emphasize the idea that isolation, obsession, and selfishness are dangerous?
Victor’s creation of the creature without thinking of any consequence (Shelley 127) and the creature’s seeking of revenge after an isolated education are used by Shelley to emphasize that isolation, selfishness, and obsession are dangerous.
9. How does the text emphasize the difference between appearance and reality?
The text emphasizes the difference between appearance and reality by using the chimera, a mythical creature, as a symbol.
10. Does Shelley seem to subscribe to the view that nature (or nurture) “creates” us as individuals?
Throughout the novel, Shelley seems to advocate that “nurture” creates us as individuals by mentioning factors that shaped Victor’s personality, like parents’ love.
11. What does the creature learn about human nature from observing the De Lacey family members and learning their histories?
While studying the De Lacey family, the creature learned about benevolence and generosity and the evil nature of men (Shelley 187).
12. How does the creature’s discovery of books educate and inform his view of human beings and their societies?
The books introduced the creature to new feelings and made him contemplate more on the nature of men but some of the images made him feel dejected, like those in the Sorrows of Werter, which depicts the main character committing suicide in the end; the creature wept without understanding the emotion (Shelley 188-189).
13. What is the progression of the creature’s corruption and degradation?; how does this emphasize the importance of Shelley’s epigraph underneath the title of the book?
The creature started out as a benign being then slowly progressed to one filled with corruption. Shelley’s epigraph makes the reader aware that there shouldn’t be any prejudice against the creature as he is just a victim of a circumstance not of his choosing: Victor’s quest to find the secret of life.
The epigraph also reinforces the main factor of the creature’s corruption: prejudice. Shelley showed this in the creature’s conversation with the blind De Lacey man where the creature said that his “friends” are kind but they are prejudiced against the creature (Shelley 198). If the De Laceys didn’t have any prejudice against the creature, then it didn’t have been corrupted.
14. How does Shelley characterize death in this story?; why is this significant in regard to Victor’s pursuits?
Shelley characterized death as an “irreperable evil” (Shelley 46). This is significant as it was the thing that Victor seeks to conquer and is the source of his obsession. Througout
Victor’s narration, it is often implied that death is the one thing which all human beings must succumb. Victor thougt that the ultimate cure to any disease is a cure of death. If there is a cure for death then humans won’t be afraid of getting sick and dying. The “evil” part of death is that it takes away loved ones like in the case of Victor.
15. Why does the creature grieve at the end of the story?
At the end of the story, the creature grieved because he lived and was overcome with guilt as evidenced by its admission of causing misery to its creator, a being supposed to be loved (Shelley 343). The creature did not want to live because it knows that it can never integrate into society and thus will live in seclusion for the rest of its life. A secluded life is miserable.
16. Why does Walton turn back?
Walton turned back because of the crew’s refusal to continue because they can’t endure
the hardships anymore. The crew also made him promise to turn back if they are freed from the ice where they were trapped (Shelley 330). Without the crew, Walton cannot continue because he needs them to man the boat and carry supplies.
17. How are the ideas of Enlightenment and Romanticism played against each other in this novel?
There were a lot of incidents in the novel which could have been avoided with the use of reason, a governing thought in Enlightenment. However, due to men’s strong emotions, horror and the desire to seek revenge, a lot of the incidents in the novel happened. An example is Victor’s creation of the creature. If Victor was reasonable, then he could have seen that his creation will be considered an abomination in society. On the part of the creature, its killing spree could have been avoided if he really just thought about what he really wanted out
of Victor. It was only after a lot of bodies that it said that it wants a female creature as it is the only solution that can somehow alleviate his feeling of loneliness.
Shelley, Mary W. Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. Planet PDF. <http://www.planetpdf.com/>
Cite this Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (2017, Jan 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/mary-shelleys-frankenstein/