Mary Shelly was a British novel writer, who name before marriage was Mary Godwin. Born in London, her mother was a feminist, and her father a political philosopher. When she was younger her beloved mother pasted away, she and her brother was taken cared of by her father. A year after her mother’s death her father published Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary read the memoirs along with books written by her mother. She tends to self-educate herself and started to write at the age of eight, and at the age of ten published her first poem. Since her father had well-known intellectual friends, she would learn from them. Mary fell in love with her one of her father’s friends Percy Shelley. This uncontrollable love caused her to run away with him at the age of sixteen, and they married in 1816, when Percy’s wife committed suicide. Mary had two kids, a daughter and a son, unfortunately they both died, and she also has a miscarried. Along with that Percy also died. This was when she started to write gloomy novels, such as The Last Man. After Percy’s death she become friends with Jane Williams, who she seems to be fond of, but Jane betrayed her with terrible rumor. Out of the entire novel Shelley wrote Frankenstein was the most famous, where decades later it was put on the big screen.
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Frankenstein was published in 1818. During this year many events occurred in the United States and around the world. During this year the White House officially reopened. On April 13, 1818, a new flag flew on top of the flag poll near, the U.S. Capitol. It represented the Union at the time. The thirteen stripes represented the original colonies and there were twenty stars which was the number of states in the Union in 1818. There was twenty states when the flag was made in April, however there was soon twenty-one states when Illinois entered the Union in a December.
Also the well known, abolitionist Frederick Douglas was born on February into slavery. In May 4th the Netherlands and the English signed a treaty stating that they were against illegal slave handling. By May 24th general Andrew Jackson captured Pensacola Florida. On July 11th Keats writes, “In the Cottage Where Burns is Born.” Keats also wrote “Lines written in the Highlands,” and “Gadfly” .
Characteristics of the Genre
The Genre of Frankenstein was Gothic Romance. Gothic romance novels came about in the 18th and 19th century. It was first recognized in England. Gothic novels were known as mysteries mixed with horrors. They were usually set against dark backgrounds and harsh settings. The gothic romance novels started getting popular in the United States in the 1960’s.
The story begins with Walton and his letters to his sister He talks about his journey to the North Pole. He and his crew set out on a ship to begin their voyage. Every event that happens during their trip was told to Margaret by letters. One day as they explore the North Pole, the ship got trapped between two ice bergs. The crew paid close attention to their surroundings and saw a savage like figure in the distance on a dogsled. Being curious they continue to seek for the creature, hours later they found Frankenstein, the sick stranger, and his dogsled near the ship, and brought his aboard. As the stranger recovered, he told Walton his story, so he could teach Walton the dangers of pursuing knowledge.
Victor Frankenstein started off explaining his early life. He grew up with in a loving family, with a close relationship with his adopted cousin, Elizabeth and dearest companion Henry. As a youth he became preoccupied with studying outdated theories and studies, that were say as useless. One day he got interested in nature and its actions when he witnesses a lightning storm that amazed him. At the age of seventeen he was sent off to Ingolstadt college. One professor, M. Waldam, inspired Victors with his words of how “ancient teachers” accomplished none of their promises but the modern ones managed to discover the unknown. These words lit a light bulb in his in that encouraged him to explore the unknown, to unravel the mysteries of creation. In his laboratory he created his own creation, but once it lived, it was a hideous creature. Victor was frightened by the creature’s structure, so he ran away and abandoned this own creation. This creation began to roam the streets, and became the cause of Victor life’s destruction.
On the night this he ran away from his creation he found he companion, Henry Clerval, who came to study with Victor. However, when he examined Victor’s physical and mental being he saw how ill he was, and ended up tending to him instead of studying. Henry would write letters to Victor’s family informing them about his progress. After many months Victor recovered and began his studies with Henry. While on the other hand the monster roamed around looking for shelter and a to find an understanding about the humans and their language. After days of observations on his journey he saw how different he was from the humans physically. This was why he encountered many brutal events with humans, where they would violently threaten him. Being afraid of coming across a human the monster found that darkness was his friend where his image was hidden in the night. One day he found a place of shelter, living near a cottage, there he observed a family who lived there. Everyday he would study their language, feelings and actions; soon he picked up the language and was also literate. The monster became compassionate with them and then wanted to become friends with the family and decided to reveal himself to them, but they were afraid of him, and rejected his kindness buy beating him with a stick. This incident along with his act of saving a girl from being drowned, where he was rewarded with a gun shot, sparked hatred towards mankind.
One day the monster arrived at Geneva, Victor’s hometown, and met a little boy who he would kidnap and keep him as a companion.
He thought that since the boy was still young he could not tell the difference from the monster and himself, so he would take the boy in and express himself to him so the boy would be evidence that he was not the monster he look to be. However, he quickly found out that the boy was Victor’s younger brother, William Frankenstein, so the monster killed him as revenge towards his creator. When he was in the cottage he listened to stories read by Felix, the son of the family, about mischief actions and he planned a way to frame a person for the murder. He placed the necklace he removed from William and put it in the pocket of Justine, a adopted girl that took care of William ever since he was young.
Victor was quickly informed of his brother’s death, and he went back to be with his family and most importantly console his beloved Elizabeth. When he arrived it was already nighttime, on his way he saw an unclear figure, it was massive and hideous, he soon realized that it was the monster and concluded that he was murderer. When he came home he found out the Justine, a trustworthy companion of his family, was the one being accused. Victor knew who was the killer but could not tell because it would make him seems insane. Justine was accused guilty and later dies in prison. Victor was full of rage and guilt and went to the mountains to find peace alone. His trip was peaceful, but as he arrived at his destination he was approached by the monster who offered Victor to follow him. There the monster expresses his feelings of being lonely and abandoned by his creator, and ask for companionship from Victor, and if Victor gave this to him he would not hard mankind. The monster also demanded for Victor to create a female companion for him. Victor refused to be content with the monster, however he did agree to create a companion for him. Afterwards the monster told his own story about his journey once he opened his eyes. The monster tells of his tales of how he had to look for shelter, and how human created him. Also he explained how he learned the human language and the family in the cottage. The monster also confessed to the murder of William, this enraged Victor and caused him to not even thinking about being compassionate to the monster. After the story Victor left and later he and Clerval went to England where he began to formation of a female creature in his lab. He would make this monster compassionate, caring and a moral thinker. When he was almost done, he decided to destroy it, an example of abortion, because he did not want the responsibility of another monster. When the monster was told the news he was angered and gave Victor and warning that he would see him in his wedding. Victor quickly started his journey back home, but before he could his friend Henry was murdered by the monster, Victor being the one accused.
Victor planned to marry Elizabeth, when he came home to Geneva, but before he could the monster murdered her as she was in his room, where the monster pointed at her with the devilish grin. Soon after his father also died because of the mournful lose of Elizabeth. From that point, Victor would pursue another goal of destroying the monster, so he went again to the North Pole in search for the monster. This is where Victor met Walton and his crew, and began his dreadful tale. After a few days, Victor finished his story and asked Walton to kill the monster if was to die. After that Victor himself died, and Walton decided to go him, but before they could the monster appeared. The monster looked his creator, mournful of his death and guilty for what disasters he inflicted on his creation. The monster explained that he was the wretch, that he killed the innocents, but he was doing it because he was filled with evil from being rejected and hatred. He expressed his guilt of his murders and told Walton that he would also die, so all of his feelings or misery is no longer felt and mankind would not have to deal with him. “He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.”
The novel begins with Walton and his crew along the Artic. This opening provides a way for Victor Frankenstein to tell his tragic tell. In the Artic where it is cold and empty Walton and his crew is on a journey to the North Pole, also Victor was on one of his own to kill his creation. In the letter they can be related to Victor and his past journey. For example, in letter two Walton talks about his dreams and goals, just like Frankenstein he had a goal of creating a new creature. In letter three it describes how lonely Walton is because he had isolated himself from the world to accomplish his goals. Another relation to Victor when you begin to read the novel you will see that he would work day and night in his laboratory, lonely and with no companion. In letter four, Walton tells his sister how he spotted a massive and savage figure in a dogsled across the ice, then later they saved a man, Victor, that was weak and ill that was on a piece of ice. Victor soon learned that Walton was on a journey of knowledge. This idea troubled him, and he warns Walton about the consequences of his journey, but Walton ignored it. Along with the warning he then began to tell his tales about how his search for knowledge ruined his life.
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Significance of ending/closing scene
The novel begins with Walton and his crew along the Artic. This opening provides a way for Victor Frankenstein to tell his tragic tale. In the Artic where it is cold and empty Walton and his crew is on a journey to the North Pole, also Victor was on one of his own to kill his creation. In the letter they can be related to Victor and his past journey. For example, in letter two Walton talks about his dreams and goals, just like Frankenstein he had a goal of creating a new creature. In letter three it describes how lonely Walton is because he had isolated himself from the world to accomplish his goals. Another relation to Victor when you begin to read the novel you will see that he would work day and night in his laboratory, lonely and with no companion. In letter four, Walton tells his sister how he spotted a massive and savage figure in a dogsled across the ice, then later they saved a man, Victor, that was weak and ill that was on a piece of ice. Victor soon learned that Walton was on a journey of knowledge. This idea troubled him, and he warns Walton about the consequences of his journey, but Walton ignored it. Along with the warning he then began to tell his tales about how his search for knowledge ruined his life.
The moon/night- this symbolize how in the darkness of the nighttime the evil will occur. For example, the monster was created on the night of November. Also, in the dark is where the monster roams, and in the novel Victor sees him as a demon and is evil.
The Artic- Walton wants to explore the North Pole and see what it has to offer. At this time no one has done this task before so he would like to take the journey to the unknown. Victor chose to go into the unknown mysteries of creation and accomplish something the modern scientist at the time did not figure out, so he seeks a goal to create his own creature. When he created it, ht finds that it destroyed his life and goes to the Artic to seek revenge. However as they reached the Artic they found that it was hard to accomplish what they want. Walton is stuck between two icebergs, and Victor is unable to capture the monster. Therefore the Artic symbolize that mankind can go so far in their dreams and their goals, and once they reached that limit of obtaining knowledge they cannot take in anymore.
The De Lancey Family- the monster examined them everyday, and through his observation he found that not all humans are harmful. He was attached to the family and every feeling they feel they connect with them. When they are mournful he is as well, and well they are cheerful he rejoice too. However, he I found out that even with the happy image they represented they were like any other human who was violent and terrified of him. The family symbolizes the disappointments of life. The monster was hopeful that the family would understand him and share their companionship with him, but in the end he was proven wrong when Felix beat him out off the house.
Old AP Questions
The years in which questions and essays related to Frankenstein appeared on the AP Exam in 1989, 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2008.
The dangers of knowledge can cause misfortunate events, and ruins one life is taken to the extreme, such as devoting all of your time in one goal. Which you cause isolation and loneliness.
Support from the text: in the text as Victor told his tale to Walton he also states “Learn from me, if not by me preceptsâ€¦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.” (p.38).
Dream can at times be the destruction of your life.
Support from the text: “Mingled with this horrorâ€¦dreams that had been my food and pleasant rest for so long a space were now become a hell to me â€¦the overthrow so complete!”—(p.42)–Victor
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