MWDS: 1st Nine Weeks
1. Title, Author, Date of Publication, etc.
Frankenstein is a suspenseful, gothic themed book that was published in 1818 and was written by Mary Shelly. 2. Historical Information.
The main significance in history that I discovered is that it was taking place in 1818 was the industrial revolution. To summarize, the industrial revolution was a time period where industrial business exploded and inventions were being created left and right. This was also a time when many classic novels came out, and where certain author’s true colors started to shine. The significance of this is that they discover Victor Frankenstein, who may not be a writer, but in fact is a great storyteller. They create an allusion of the industrial revolution by showing that he is one of the descriptive literary artists of the time period. 3.Biographical information.
The reason that Shelley wrote Frankenstein is that one night she and her friends decided to tell scary stories, and she had difficulties coming up with her story. She decided to think further into it, and after a horrid nightmare she had a brilliant idea. She spent two whole years writing it after that idea came to her, and then she published it anonymously. She doesn’t seem to have any shared characteristics with the characters in the story, although her seemingly difficult life could have influenced the writing. 4.Characteristics of the genre.
I should start off by saying the genre is obviously suspenseful, or maybe even gothic. The definition of Gothicism on Merriam-Webster is “conformity to or practice of Gothic style.” In Frankenstein, “The Monster” is a victimizer who has immense power and is seemingly unstoppable. The gothic genre tends to be extremely suspenseful, with dark plot twists that leave you hanging on the edge of your seat. Just when you think it’s all over, another horrific thing happens to offset the story. There are usually supernatural elements in every horror/gothic style story. 5.Plot Summary.
The story begins as Robert Walton is writing letters to Mrs. Saville about how his adventure across the sea is going. He is heading for the north pole. At first he does well, but him and his crew eventually stop, where they meet the protagonist of the story, which is Victor Frankenstein. Victor is extremely sick due to the cold weather and Walton sympathizes with him, so he brings him on board to bring him back to full health. There begins the sharing of Frankenstein’s experiences. He tells of his uprising in Geneva, where he found his love for science, he tells of his love, Elizabeth, and the traumatizing death of his mother. As a way of relieving his sadness over her death, he goes to college to further study science. He studies natural philosophy and chemistry. After college, he begins a project that will wreak havoc upon him and his loved ones. He begins composing a creature out of old body parts, and eventually brings this monster to life. He is terrified of what he has created, he flees and runs into Henry Clerval, and foolishly takes him to see the monster. Victor becomes sick, and he wants to return home where he can get healthy. Just before he goes though, he gets a letter from his father saying that his brother, William Frankenstein, has been killed. He believes that his creation did it. The story takes an unexpected twist when Justine Moritz is accused, determined guilty, and killed, all as a result of William’s death. Victor feels guilty about the two deaths of his loved ones, and goes to the mountains. The monster finds him up there, and admits to killing William. The monster, surprisingly, wants a mate. Victor is absolutely positive that he does not want to create another monster at first, but eventually agrees to do so. He then goes to an island called Orkneys to try and create a female monster. He does, and as she comes to life, he kills her out of fear. The monster is enraged by this, and swears revenge. Victor is later accused of murder. He denies it, but they show him the dead body of his childhood friend Henry Clerval. Victor knows instantly that it was the monster who did it. Victor becomes sick yet again, and is kept in prison. He is found not guilty, and the charges are dropped. Victor marries Elizabeth, but fears that the monster is going to kill him. When he hears his bride scream on their wedding night, he remembers that the monster was planning on killing his new bride, not him. She is murdered, and Victor swears revenge. He goes to the ice land, and he is in a chase with the monster. The ice breaks, and the monster and Victor are split on two completely opposite sides. That’s when the story catches up to the reality, and Walton finds Frankenstein in bad health. The plot continues where Walton writes letters to his sister, telling the resolution of the story. Victor dies shortly after, and Walton finds the monster, crying on top of Victor’s dead body. The monster says that since his creator’s life is over, that his life will be coming to a conclusion as well. The monster heads to the northern ice in preparation for his death. PART 2:
Style description. (Just for reference, I did read the book online at this URL: http://www.literature.org/authors/shelley-mary/frankenstein/ )Mary Shelley’s style was most definitely formal. Her word choice is definitely not something you would see a teenager say on a daily basis! (Example: “This state of mind preyed upon my health, which had perhaps never entirely recovered from the first shock it had sustained. I shunned the face of man; all sound of joy or complacency was torture to me; solitude was my only consolation—deep, dark, deathlike solitude.” – An excerpt from chapter 9 of Frankenstein, where Victor talks about his remorse of the death of the innocent Justine.) Her diction was of a wide vocabulary. Here is an example of her difficult to read word structure: “Mr. Kerwin, on hearing this evidence, desired that I should be taken into the room where the body lay for interment, that it might be observed what effect the sight of it would produce upon me. This idea was probably suggested by the extreme agitation I had exhibited when the mode of the murder had been described. I was accordingly conducted, by the magistrate and several other persons, to the inn.” (Chapter 24). Her word choice helped her vividly describe everything. Her word choice almost appears to make the whole story more captivating, and once I’d finish reading, as I’d recap I would really come to realization that I was so into the story. Her word choice really provides so much vivid imagery that you can imagine being in the story. That brings me on to the next subject, which is imagery. Her use of this literary device is especially prevalent in Frankenstein. Here is an excellent example of her amazing imagery from chapter 5, where she describes the monster that has been created by Frankenstein, as well as setting the mood: “It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.” Her syntax was very grammatically correct, to my basic knowledge. Her use of compound sentences to keep the flow going was useful, and she definitely knew how to write a grammatically perfect novel. Here is a sentence from chapter 14 that is compound and uses a perfect example of good grammar. “The Turk quickly perceived the impression that his daughter had made on the heart of Felix, and endeavoured to secure him more entirely in his interests by the promise of her hand in marriage, so soon as he should be conveyed to a place of safety.” Mary Shelley actually used at least one allusion (possibly more) that I noticed, where she references an old poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” in this quote: “I am going to unexplored regions, to "the land of mist and snow," but I shall kill no albatross; therefore do not be alarmed for my safety or if I should come back to you as worn and woeful as the ‘Ancient Mariner.’” That was from the second letter of the story. 2.Memorable Quotes.
a. “Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance towards all mankind.” – the monster. This was a significant quote in my opinion because it symbolizes Shelley’s thoughts on how shallow society is. The monster was in fact saving a girl from drowning, but was shot at because he looked like an villain. I think she symbolizes that people’s first judgment is on how people appear, not the actions they do. b. "I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures, such as no language can describe." – Victor Frankenstein This is significant to the story because this guilt follows Victor throughout the rest of the story, and ultimately fuels his hatred for the monster itself. Just to clarify, this quote is from when the girl is executed after being falsely convicted for the murder of William Frankenstein. c. "Learn from me . . . 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.” – Victor Frankenstein This is quite possibly the most memorable book in the quote. Shelley symbolizes here that knowledge is a dangerous thing. It is significant because this is Victor’s warning to Walton to not try and excel exceedingly far in his knowledge, because it led to Victor’s downfall and ultimately would lead to Walton’s. He thought that his “Playing God” as he describes it to create life would be a great thing to do. Rather, it killed those who meant most to him, and taught him the brutal lesson that his determination ruined him. d. “You are my creator, but I am your master. Obey!” – The monster This signifies that Victor devoted so much of his life towards the monster that it was like the monster ruled Victor. He could not control himself, and the monster symbolized this in this quote. This could have all been avoidable if he had self control.
Victor Frankenstein The protagonist of the story. His significance displays the main theme that knowledge is dangerous. He also is significant in the contribution of the storyline. Three adjectives to describe him are intelligent, adventurous, dishonest/secretive. Henry Clerval His role is that he is a close friend to Victor stays with him until his death. His significance could be to provide comfort to Frankenstein. After his death, things seem to go downhill for Victor. Three adjectives to describe him are caring, friendly, and trustworthy. Justine Moritz She is an adopted member of the Frankenstein family. She symbolizes innocence, because she was wrongly convicted although she was clearly one of the most innocent characters in the book. The adjectives to describe her are lighthearted, caring, sincere. Elizabeth LavenzaShe is Victor’s adopted sister. She is significant for her happiness and ability to cheer Frankenstein. Three adjectives for her are happiness, she is described as beautiful, loving. The Creature The antagonist of the story. Frankenstein’s creation. His significance is to symbolize that your obsession will take over you eventually. The adjectives to describe it are unpredictable, disgustingly ugly, and sensitive. Alphonse Frankenstein He is Victor’s father. He tells Victor of the first death of many who come to die in the story. He also comforts him. The traits to describe him are encouraging, sympathetic, and loving. William Frankenstein The youngest brother of Victor. His significance is that he is the first to die, beginning the rising action of the story. Three adjectives to describe him are fragile, kind hearted, and sensitive. Part 3:
Robert Walton He is the ship’s captain that lets Victor Frankenstein on board. His significance is to allow Frankenstein to tell his story. Three adjectives to describe him are sympathetic, lonely, and a hopeless romantic. Caroline Beaufort Beaufort’s daughter. Her significance is that she is a childhood friend of Victor, and helps him mature. Her traits are caring, sacrificing, and loving. Peasants A poor family in Ganeva. The monster learned how to speak by observing them. Three traits to describe them are friendly, outcasted, defensive. M. Waldman Victor’s professor from school. He taught Victor the essentials for his master creation, which would ultimately ruin his life. Three traits to describe him are intelligent, sympathetic, and passionate. Mr. KirwinThe officer that accused Victor of killing his childhood friend, Henry. His significance is that he moves the plot along, there isn’t really any symbolism attached to his character. Three traits are accusatory, negative, and naïve. Part 4:
This story takes place in the early 18th century in several places, including Ganeva, The mountains, Ingolstadt, England, and the north pole. 2.Symbols.
The color yellow represents evil, and the creature’s eyes were described as yellow, as well as the moon being yellow. The moon represents how the creature is protected by nature. The second symbol is the lightning on the night in solitaire where Frankenstein brings the creature to life. The lightning represents the electricity starting the creature’s heart. In chapter 7 there is a quote that references this symbol. “A flash of lightning illuminated the object and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy demon to whom he had given life." Other than that, there weren’t any other prevalent symbols that I noticed. 3.Significance of the opening/closing scenes.
I won’t use the letters as the opening scene, I am going to skip to the scene where Robert Walton is writing letters. The significance of meeting Victor in Chapter 5 (the real beginning) is foreshadowing the very end of the book. The whole story that Victor tells leads up to why they met in the north pole, where they did. The significance of the end of the book is to show that even after all the utter destruction of everything, the creature cared about Frankenstein more than suspected, and that when his creator was gone, he had nothing left to live for. 4. I think the theme of the story is that too much knowledge is a bad thing. I think that Victor’s knowledge exceeded his rationality to not do illogical things. He wanted to become a god, and he had the knowledge to create life out of a non-living creature. His plan didn’t go accordingly, and he paid the price for it.