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Frankenstein Study Guide

By ker004 May 06, 2013 3247 Words
Your Name_____________________________________
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Study Guide
Letter 1
1. Who is Robert Walton and who is he writing to?
Robert Walton is the narrator, and he is writing to his sister, Margaret.

2. What reasons does Walton offer for making his voyage?
Robert Walton wants an adventure; he is lonely and also wants a friend.

Letter 2
3. At the beginning of letter 2, what does Walton say he is in need of? “…I greatly need a friend…”

Letter 3
4. What attitude does Walton reveal to his sister in letter 3? He is confident that he can find a passage through the Arctic Circle via Russia and boasts that he will be successful and gain fame.

Letter 4
5. What news of Walton’s arouses the stranger’s interest? Walton says he saw a gigantic man in a sled(ge) dragged by dogs in the distance, heading north.

6. What does Walton plan to do regarding the stranger’s stories? Victor Frankenstein is the stranger on a makeshift raft who Walton and his crew rescue from the sea. Walton says he is going to write Victor’s story down. Victor cautions Walton about his zeal to obtain knowledge and make a name for himself.

Chapter 1
7. How does the stranger, Victor, describe his parents?
Victor was born in Genoa, Italy. His father, Alphonse Frankentein, was a public official. Alphonse’s good friend, Beaufort, a merchant, fell from prosperity to poverty and went away with his daughter Caroline. Alphonse found his friend Beaufort in his coffin and subsequently married Caroline, many years younger than he.

8. How is Elizabeth presented to Victor and how does he describe her? As the Frankensteins traveled, Caroline would always do charitable work in the villages as she remembered her own hard life. They met a peasant family with many children, one of whom stood out for her fair beauty. (“…thin and very fair. Her hair was the brightest living gold. …blue eyes…a being heaven-sent….”) Caroline found out that the girl, Elizabeth, was an orphan that the peasant family had taken in. Caroline asked if Elizabeth could come and live with them. “…she presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift…I…looked upon Elizabeth as mine. …my more than sister….”

Chapter 2
9. Who is Henry Clerval, and what are his interests and goals? Henry is Victor’s school friend. He’s interested in “the virtues of heroes, and the actions of man…his hope and his dream was to become one among those whose names are recorded in story, as the gallant and adventurous [knights].” Clerval wishes to go with Victor to Ingolstadt (Germany) to study at university.

10. Whose works does Victor pursue in his reading and studies? Why? Why does his father disapprove? “My father looked carelessly at the titlepage of my book, and said, ‘Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.’” Victor also reads Paraclesus. and Alberta Magnus. “…I became their disciple.”

Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535) was a German mystic who practiced a "science" that combined alchemy, magic, mysticism, and astrology.

11. What effect does a violent thunderstorm have on Victor when he is 15 years old? The storm and lightning “ utterly destroyed” an old oak tree. Victor concludes: “Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction.”

Chapter 3
12. What last requests does Victor’s mother make before she dies? “…my firmest hopes of future happiness were placed on the prospect of your union [marriage]…. Elizabeth… you must supply my place to my younger children.”

13. What realization comes over Victor as soon as he leaves his home? “I…indulged in the most melancholy reflections. …I was now alone. …but as I proceeded, my spirits and hopes rose. I ardently desired the acquisition of knowledge.”

Chapter 4
14. What discovery does Victor make while at the university, and how does he react to it? Professor M. Krempe tells Victor that the “alchymists” he had been studying were a waste of time and gave Victor a list of natural philosophy books to read. Professor M. Waldman’s words inspire Victor to “pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.”

15. What drives Victor on to the creation of a being like himself? “Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed? …To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death. …I was surprised, that among so many men of genius who had directed their enquiries toward the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret. …I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.” Victor was proud and cocky and “exalted” in his ability to “give life to an animal as complex and wonderful as man.”

Victor warns Walton: “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.”

16. Find at least 10 words in the final paragraph of Chapter 4 that express a warning of what is to come. What do they all have in common? silenceanxietytoiloppressedpainfulguiltywrecked

diseasedoomedminesfeverstartledcrimedrive away
witheredslaverynervousshunnedalarmedunwholesome

Chapter 5
17. Describe the setting on the night the creature comes to life. What mood is created by the setting? “It was on a dreary night of November…. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes….”

18. Describe the creature with specific details (height, color and condition of his skin, color of eyes and lips). eight feet in height (chapter 4)
yellow eye; yellow skin; lustrous, flowing black hair; pearly white teeth; watery eyes; shriveled complexion; black lips

19. What is Victor’s reaction to his creation? Why does he react this way? “…breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” Victor rushes out of the room to his bedchamber where he paced, unable to sleep. He was “unable to endure the aspect of the being I created….”

20. What happens in the first interaction between Victor and the creature? The monster forces his way in through the window shutters, holds up the bed curtains, fixes his eyes on Victor, tries to communicate while smiling, and stretches out his hand. Victor runs outside.

21. What news does Henry Clerval bring Victor? What does this show about Victor’s character? Clerval has persuaded his father to allow him to come study at university. Henry brings greetings from Victor’s father, Elizabeth, and brothers (William and Ernest).

Henry’s presence brings back thoughts of Victor’s family and home. Seeing Henry males Victor calm, serene, and joyful “for the first time in many months.” This shows how Victor was lonely and obsessed with his experiment.

22. How does Victor act the morning after his creation comes to life? What does Henry do about it? Victor is bitter with disappointment because he has given life to a “demoniacal corpse.” He walks in town to “avoid the wretch.”

Henry notices that Victor is unwell, thin, and pale. Victor acted wild, loud, unrestrained when he realized the monster had left his room. He succumbs to a nervous fever “for several months.” Henry nurses him back to health.

Chapter 6
23. Why does Victor desert his study of science and why? What does he pursue instead? He feels he has learned all that he can. He studies Oriental languages (Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit) with Henry.

24. What is Victor’s mood after his tour of Ingolstadt with Henry, and why does he praise him? Henry “again taught me to love the aspect of nature,” and it healed Victor and made him happy. Henry is an excellent friend.

Chapter 7
25. Why does Elizabeth blame herself for William’s murder? She let him “wear a very valuable miniature that she possessed of” Victor’s mother. The picture was taken, and they believe it was “the temptation which urged the murderer to the deed.”

26. Why does Victor come to believe that his monster is responsible for William’s death? Henry mentions that William is now at peace, but his survivors are the ones to be pitied. Victor stops at the place where William was murdered before he goes home, and he sees “in the gloom a figure which stole from behind a clump of trees near me….” A flash of lightning illuminates the monster. Victor realizes that the monster killed William.

27. Why is Justine accused of the crime, and why is Elizabeth miserable after Justine’s arrest? After William was murdered, Justine fell ill and was in bed for several days. A servant discovered the picture of Victor’s mother, Caroline, in Justine’s pocket. Once charged with the murder, Justine “confirmed the suspicion in a great measure by her extreme confusion of manner.”

Chapter 8
28. How does Victor react to Justine’s trial, and what does this show about his character? “My own agitation and anguish was extreme during the whole trial.” Victor knew that Justine was innocent, and that the monster killed William, but Victor cannot figure out how to free Justine. He does not reveal what he knows because they will think he is mad (crazy).

29. Why does Justine confess to having murdered William?
Justine’s confessor (priest) “threatened and menaced, until I almost began to think that I was the monster he said I was. He threatened excommunication and hell fire…” so she lied and confessed.

Chapter 9
30. What thoughts does Victor have about his creation as chapter 9 begins, and what does he hope to do about it? “…I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt…solitude was my only consolation….” The family goes to their house at Belrive, and Victor spends a lot of time on the boat on the water.

31. Why does Victor leave home, where does he go and how does his trip affect his spirits? Victor tries to relieve his anguish with “bodily exercise and by change of place….” He goes hiking in the valleys of the Alps to try to forget about his creation and heal his spirit.

Chapter 10
32. What impression does the monster request of Victor?
Victor meets the monster on the field of ice. “…his countenance bespoke bitter anguish, combined with disdain and malignity….” Victor tells him to go way or he may destroy him.

33. What does the monster request of Victor? Why does he make this request? The monster asks Victor to be just with him as he is the monster’s creator. “Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.” The monster says he is “miserably alone.” The monster asks Victor to be compassionate. “Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, abandon or commiserate me….”

34. Why does Victor agree to listen to the creature?
He is curious and feels some compassion. He wants to find out if the creature murdered William. And he realizes his responsibility to the creature as his creator.

Chapter 11
35. What are the monster’s first memories?
“…all the events of that period appear confused and indistinct. A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw, felt, heard, and smelt at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses.” He was cold and felt pain, hunger, thirst.

36. Describe what happened when the monster enters the village? “…the children shrieked, and one of the women fainted. The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me….”

37. What does the monster first observe about the family?
The young woman, young man, and Father love each other and care for each other, although there seems to be an underlying sadness.

Chapter 12
38. Why does the monster decide to keep himself hidden from the peasants in the cottage? He’s afraid the peasants will be terrified of him and treat him as the villagers did.

39. What kind of knowledge does the monster gain from the cottagers? Why is he eager to have this knowledge? He learns to understand and begin to speak their language (French).

40. Why is the monster horrified when he sees his own reflection in a pond? He realizes he is ugly.

Chapter 13
41. How and what does the monster learn about the human race? Joy and sorrow. Volney’s Ruins of the Empires taught him about “manners, governments, and religions.” He wondered: “Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous, and magnificent, yet so vicious and base?”

42. How do the monster’s emotions change as he gains more knowledge? He realizes there are none others like him, a monster. He has no family or relations. He feels agony and sorrow. Chapter 14
43. Describe Safie’s connection with the De Lacey family?
Safie’s father, a Turkish merchant, was the cause of the De Laceys ruin. Feliz De Lacey helped the Turk escape from prison in return for Safie’s hand in marriage. The Turk reneged on the deal. Felix was arrested, the De Lacey fortune was taken by the authorities, and the family was exiled. They fled to the cottage in Germany. Safie fled from her father and found the De Laceys.

Chapter 15
44. What effect do the papers the monster finds in his clothing have on him after he reads them? The papers were taken from Victor’s laboratory; they were Victor’s journal where Victor described creating the monster. The monster learns of his horrible, “accursed origin,” from parts of bodies taken from graveyards. He curses his creator.

45. What happens when the monster reveals himself to the cottagers? The blind old man invites the monster in to the cottage. When the young people enter, Agatha faints, Safie runs out of the cottage, and Felix pulls the monster away from his Father and beats him.

Chapter 16
46. What happens to the De Laceys and why does the creature set fire to their cottage? The De Laceys leave in fear. The monster, enraged by their desertion, burns down the cottage.

47. What happens when the creature reaches Geneva and attempts to talk to a little boy? The monster is shot in the woods by a man after he saves a girl who fell into a “rapid stream.” “This was then the reward for my benevolence! I had saved a human being from destruction, and as a recompense I now writhed under the miserable pain of a wound which shattered the flesh and bone.” He vows “eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind.” The little boy calls him a monster, an ugly wretch, and an ogre and inform him that his father is M. Frankenstein, and the monster makes the little boy (Williams) his first victim. The monster sees the miniature of the beautiful woman and realizes that he will never have love. The monster demands that Victor make him a companion: “…one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me.”

Chapter 17
48. How does Victor initially react to the monster’s demand? Why does he change his mind and what oath does Victor make the monster swear to? Victor refuses. The monster says Victor owes this to him because he created him and then abandoned him. “Oh! My creator, make me happy….” Victor says to himself: “…did I not as his maker owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to bestow?” The monster promises that he and the female creature will go into the wilds and leave humans alone.

Chapter 18
49. What are Victor’s feelings when he returns to Geneva? He resolved to “dedicate myself to my most abhorred task” to save his remaining family members. But he couldn’t bring himself to begin.

50. What does Victor’s father want him to do? Why, and what does Victor reply? He wants Victor to marry Elizabeth to bring happiness back into the family. Victor says he wants to visit England first (there is a philosopher there with knowledge that Victor needs to create a female monster) and then marry Elizabeth when he returns.

Chapter 19
51. Why doesn’t Victor like to be around other people in London? He “was principally occupied with the means of obtaining the information necessary for the completion of his promise” to create a female monster.

52. Why does Victor settle on the Orkney Islands as the place where he will work? “…I determined to visit some remote spot of Scotland, and finish my work in solitude. …and fixed on one of the remotest of the Orkneys as the scene of my labours.”

Chapter 20
53. Why does Victor destroy his second creation? How does the monster react to the destruction of his “bride”? He realizes the female might “refuse to comply” with the agreement to “quit the neighbourhood of man;” she might hate the male monster and leave him alone again. What if they had children?

“The wretch saw me destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for happiness, and, with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew.” The monster threatens Victor: “your hours will pass in dread and misery…” and he tells Victor, “…I shall be with you on your wedding-night.”

Chapter 21
54. When Victor finds out who was murdered, what happens to him? What does he say that sounds like a confession? “I gasped for breath; and throwing myself on the body, I exclaimed, ‘Have my murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life? Two I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny….”

55. What is the outcome of the grand jury inquiry?
“The grand jury rejected the bill, on its being proved that I was on the Orkney Islands at the hour the body of my friend was found; and a fortnight after my removal I was liberated from prison.”

Chapter 22
56. What does Elizabeth ask in her letter to Victor? What does she offer him? Why? She asks Victor if he loves someone else. If so, she releases him from his promise to marry her, so he won’t be miserable.

57. What does Victor assume are the monster’s plans for his and Elizabeth’s wedding night? Victor assumes that the monster will kill Victor on his wedding night.

Chapter 23
58. Where does Victor see the monster? What does the creature do when Victor spies him? Victor sees the monster leaving the “room into which Elizabeth had retired…I saw at the open window a figure most hideous and abhorred.” The monster grins and jeers and points to Elizabeth’s corpse.

Chapter 24
59. What does the monster do when he sees Victor visiting the graves of his father, William, and Elizabeth? The monster laughs and whispers to Victor: “I am satisfied: miserable wretch! you have determined to live, and I am satisfied.”

60. Where does the pursuit of the monster take Victor? How does the monster encourage Victor in the chase? The Mediterranean, the Black Sea, Tartary, Russia, northward. Victor would hear news of the monster passing through a day or two before or even spot him.

Bonus question: How is Victor able to justify his early treatment of the monster, and what is his final message to Walton? How do their stories relate?

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