Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. How does the popular conception of Frankenstein differ from the monster Shelley describes in Frankenstein? Why has this change come about? Why is Shelley’s version still worth reading?

2. Describe the structure of the novel. How does the structure add to the novel’s effectiveness?

3. The monster describes himself as being like both Adam and Satan. Compare and contrast these figures. Do we finally think of the monster as a degraded, noble creature or as a diabolical fiend?

4. In Chapter 5, Frankenstein quotes some lines from Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of Ancient Mariner.” Compare Frankenstein to the mariner.

5. Explain how the characters work as foils to and images of each other (Frankenstein-the monster-Walton-Clerval-Elizabeth).

6. What is nature like in Frankenstein? Is it a force for good or evil?

7. Frankenstein’s dying words to Walton are, “Seek happiness in tranquility and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries. Yet why do I say this? I have myself been blasted in my hopes, yet another may succeed.” Why does Shelley close her novel with these lines? How does she feel about scientific discovery?

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