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Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

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1 Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay To mould me, Did I solicit thee From Darkness to promote me? Paradise Lost, X

2 Mary Shelley’s background (August 30, 1797-February 1, 1851)
Born on August 30th 1797. Mother: Mary Wollstonecraft, an advocate of women’s rights, who felt women should hold equal positions in their marriage and should not have to wed to have children. She died 11 days after giving birth to Mary Father: William Godwin A famous 19th century philosopher who believed in the rights of the individual. Four years after his wife’s death, he remarried Mary Jane Clairmont, and had a daughter together.

3 Shelley’s marriage At 15 years of age Mary met her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, a disciple and financial supporter of William Godwin (her father), as well as a famous poet. Despite being married to another woman, Percy Bysshe Shelley falls in love with her and convinces her to run away with her step-sister Claire to France.

4 Inspiration for Shelley
Claire, Mary, and Percy travel through France but eventually have to pawn all of their valuables they brought with them to live. They eventually must return to France by way of the Rhine River. It was on this trip that Mary was inspired by the beautiful scenery and castles they passed for the setting of her novel. She was also forced to dock at Gernsheim, under the ruined castle of the Frankensteins, whose legend told of a the deceased chemist and physician who was said to snatch dead bodies as he sought the processes that create life.

5 Returning to England Once the three had returned, they were shunned by society, including Godwin, who refused to speak to Mary but yet still asked for money for Percy Mary realizes she is pregnant with Percy’s child, while his wife is also pregnant with their third child. Mary begins to resent the role of his former wife and realize the challenge of following Godwin’s philosphy in her society. A large inheritance from Percy’s grandfather gives the poor couple money again and their outlook begins to improve. Mary has a second child who lives and the they name William.

6 The Making of Frankenstein
On 19 March 1815 Shelley recorded in her journal, after the death of her first child: "Dream that my little baby came to life again--that it had only been cold & that we rubbed it before the fire & it lived—I awake and find no baby—I think of the little thing all day."

7 Byron’s Challenge Mary’s sister Claire begins to seek out the popular, attractive and scandalous poet Lord Byron. In the summer of 1816, Percy and Mary visit Lord Byron’s estate in France. The summer of 1816 had fall and sometimes winter like weather because a massive volcano in Indonesia that spewed ash around the world. Because of the gloomy weather, Byron issued a challenge to his guests to create the best horror story.

8 The Publishing of Frankenstein
At Byron’s estate, Mary has a dream about a man who plans to bring life to the dead. She turns her idea into a story and is encouraged by her husband to turn the story into a novel. In 1818, Shelley publishes the novel at the age of 19.

9 I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

10 So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation. The Title of the Novel The name “Frankenstein” originates not from the Creature, but the Creator, Victor Frankenstein. Victor, like Shelley, suffers the loss of many loved ones at an early age. He creates his creature as a way to bring back the dead.

11 The Doppelganger The story is a Doppelganger, or German word for “double image.” Both the Creature and Victor mirror each other in their effort to destroy the other. The Doppelganger represents a divided self, or two alter egos who are more alike than different.

12 Famous Doppelgangers Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Batman and the Joker
Bruce Banner and The Incredible Hulk James Bond and Blofeld Mario and Donkey Kong Optimus Prime and Megatron

13 The Modern Prometheus Mary Shelley’s subtitle for Frankenstein is “The Modern Prometheus” In Greek Mythology, the titan Prometheus stole fire from the sun and gave it to humanity. This angered the Greek god Zeus who did not want humans to control fire. He was punished by being chained to a lake while an eagle would feast on his liver. The Prometheus Myth has become a metaphor of what happens when humans get a hold of something they cannot control and reach beyond their ability. 5

14 The Creature Unlike the Hollywood stereotype, the Creature is an intelligent being whose rage stems from his neglect from Victor. I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.

15 Themes in the Novel Personal Responsibility: Are we responsible for our own actions? Responsibility to Others: Are we responsible for the actions of others? Recreate the Past: Can we reshape the past?

16 The Hollywood Stereotype
James Whale directed the 1931 film Frankenstein where our image of the Creature comes from. In the film, a mad scientists creates a creature with little intelligence who rages against humanity.

17 The Cultural Myth There are over 100 films about Frankenstein.
Frankenstein has been used to sell merchandise such as Twix candy bars, Levi’s Jeans, Coca-Cola, Frankenberry Cereal, M&Ms, Penzoil, and Pez.

18 Favorite Titles of Frankenstein Movies
“Frankenstein’s Musical Christmas” “Alvin and the Chipmunks meet Frankenstein” “Frankenstein vs. Dracula” “Frankenstein: the College Years” “Blackenstein”

19 Films, Films, Films Oh My! Because the myth of Frankenstein has become such a part of our pop culture we will by watching clips from various versions of “Frankenstein.”

20 Read the Book, then the Sparknotes!
You may be required to read 30+ pages a night. I realize there are websites like Sparknotes that summarize the book, please use this as a resource. To pass you must read the book!!!

21 Please answer the following in your journal: What is the appeal of Frankenstein’s monster?

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