2 Frankenstein Seminar Questions 1. Frankenstein has many elements of a horror story. What strategies and devices does Shelley use to make the story scary? How does Shelley go beyond the usual horror story elements to focus on characters and the differences between their behaviors, beliefs and values?
4 3. Why did Victor create the creature 3. Why did Victor create the creature? What responsibilities did Victor, as the creator, have toward his creature? Why did Victor abandon the creature?
5 4. What purpose is served by having Robert Walton tell Victor's story 4. What purpose is served by having Robert Walton tell Victor's story? Compare and contrast Robert's and Victor's goals and interests. Why the frame?
6 5. Victor warns Robert that acquiring knowledge can lead to "destruction and infallible misery." What serious consequences might the acquisition of knowledge have? Apply to themes, motifs, and events in the novel.
7 6. One of the novel's tragedies is the inability of characters to recognize the humanity of the creature. What qualities make us human? Which of these qualities does the creature possess? What qualities does he not have? Justify your responses by citing evidence from the text.
8 7. Scholars sometimes use Frankenstein as an argument against scientific technology that creates life forms; others argue that it is not technology itself but the use to which it is put that presents an ethical problem. What is Shelley's position? What is your position?
9 8. Explain the novel's popularity. What makes the novel a classic 8. Explain the novel's popularity. What makes the novel a classic? How is the story appropriate for today and our society? What other “Frankensteins” exist in our cultural consciousness or literary traditions?
10 9. Explore the parent/child relationship between Frankenstein and the Creature. What does Victor, in effect, do to the Creature when he leaves him? What would be a comparable scenario to this? How does the Creature suffer as a result? How does Shelley use various literary techniques to embed this relationship into the language the characters and narrators use?
11 10. How does the concept of revenge play a part in this novel 10. How does the concept of revenge play a part in this novel? Be very specific. What people are involved? Why? What happens as a result? How does the result connect to a larger theme?
12 11. Why is the Creature never given a Christian (first) name 11. Why is the Creature never given a Christian (first) name? What does this suggest? What names is he called throughout the novel? Why? How does he perceive himself?
13 12. How crucial is society’s acceptance/rejection of the Creature 12. How crucial is society’s acceptance/rejection of the Creature? When he is rejected, how does he react? How do his reactions connect to any larger themes? How is his rejection from society similar/different to John in Brave New World? Edna in The Awakening?
14 The creature kills (directly and indirectly) 4 people The creature kills (directly and indirectly) 4 people. Rank Victor’s culpability for each. 1 – most culpable 4 – least culpable William Justine Henry ElizabethCulpable – adj - Blameworthy; involving the commission of a fault or the breach of a duty imposed by morality or law.
15 “I will return on your wedding night,” says the monster “I will return on your wedding night,” says the monster. To what extent is Elizabeth’s death fate?