Activity one: The Plot Timeline Add to the timeline by supplying a piece of evidence to support the event that is being described.
- Sailed into the Arctic: Robert Walton captains a ship sailing into the arctic. – ” I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyages which have been made in the process of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole.
- Stuck on ice and saw gigantic figure on sled: The ship gets stuck on ice and R. Walton sees Victor Frankenstein – ” … ,we were nearly surrounded by ice, which closed in the ship on all sides. -” and “only one dog remained alive; but there was a human being within it; whom the sailors were persuading to enter the vessel.”
- Picked up ill man: Frankenstein’s life functions aren’t working properly upon discovery and rescue of him. -“Two days passed in this manner before he was able to speak, and I often feared that his sufferings had deprived him of understanding.”
- Walton and Frankie develop a friendship: Walton is fascinated with Frankenstein’s story and the madness in his eyes. – “My affection for my guest increases every day. He excites at once my admiration and my pity to an astonishing degree.”
- Frankenstein is a child, Geneva is his home: His ancestors and family also grew up in this republic. -“I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic.”
- We hear about his family, Mum, Dad, adopted sister and younger brother: We learn of how when his mother gave birth to him and the adoption of his sister. ” Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents’ house— my more than sister—the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures.”
- Liz (sister) gets ill and mum looks after her and dies: Elizabeth catches a severe case of scarlet fever and while her mother lay by her bedside with great care, she caught the fever and died soon after. -“Elizabeth was saved, but the consequences of this imprudence were fatal to her preserver. On the third day my mother sickened;”
- Frankenstein goes to Ingolstadt to go to university. Initially disappointed as he is told everything he studied is out of date/ fantasy: M. Krempe mocks Victor’s interest in alchemy and disregards any dreams he holds as fantasy -“I had sufficient leisure for these and many other reflections during my journey to Ingolstadt, which was long and fatiguing.” and “Such were the professor’s words—rather let me say such the words of the fate—enounced to destroy me. “
- Chemistry teacher inspires him and gives him hope that it’s not all wrong: On the same day Victor pays M. Waldman a visit who gives him motivation to continue pursuing his dream -“I have no doubt of your success. Chemistry is that branch of natural philosophy in which the greatest improvements have been” and “Thus ended a day memorable to me; it decided my future destiny.”
- 2 years study and becomes interested in alchemy: As he develops a close friendship with M. Waldman, Victor becomes more and more ambitious to make a discovery. -“Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of some discoveries which I hoped to make.”
- Studies decay and death in funeral homes: Reaching various levels of success as well as failure, Victor comes closer and closer to making a conclusion to his studies. -“In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation.”
- Change in narrative voice. He begins to address the reader via Robert Walton: Speaks directly to the reader using authorial intrusion as if the reader is Walton and Frankenstein is telling his story to an intrigued Walton. This is indicated by the fact that the friend he addresses’ eyes enlighten with intrigue as Walton had when he discovered Victor for the first time. – “I see by your eagerness and the wonder and hope which your eyes express, my friend, that you expect to be informed of the secret with which I am acquainted; that cannot be; listen patiently until the end of my story, and you will easily perceive why I am reserved upon that subject.”
- Tells us he has discovered a secret: Frankenstein keep his project and studies secret, conducting experiments in a solitary chamber. – “One secret which I alone possessed was the hope to which I had dedicated myself; and the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places.”
- Spends almost a year on “his creation”: Frankenstein has fully committed himself to his studies, not seeing or talking to friends for a long time. – “Winter, spring, and summer passed away during my labours; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves—sights which before always yielded me supreme delight—so deeply was I engrossed in my occupation.”
- Monster is created and comes to life, but Victor soon realizes the mistake he has made: Upon first glance Victor sees the beauty, but the horrid contrast hits him and he quickly associates the monster with negative descriptors. – “but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast… the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. “
- Monster escapes, as Victor loses his mind: Victor, upon realizing his mistake becoming ill with fear and regret. -“My heart palpitated in the sickness of fear… the apartment was empty, and my bedroom was also freed from its hideous guest”
- Henry Clerval visits Victor in Ingolstadt to help him recover from his nervous fever: Clerval acts as the only nurse to help Victor feel better as an act of friendship and pure kindness. -” I perceived Henry Clerval, who, on seeing me, instantly sprung out… ‘Dearest Clerval,’ exclaimed I, ‘how kind, how very good you are to me. This whole winter, instead of being spent in study, as you promised yourself, has been consumed in my sick room.”
- Some time passes before Elizabeth tells Victor via letter that he needs to recover from being ill, motivating him to get better: Seasons have passed by, with Clerval still nursing Victor back to health. -“I perceived that the fallen leaves had disappeared and that the young buds were shooting forth from the trees… Get well—and return to us. You will find a happy, cheerful home and friends who love you dearly.”
- For a brief time, Victor is filled with content and positivity, forgetting about the monster’s existence: There is a brief change in tone and mood, which is refreshing and calming after the many chapters of gloominess. -“Clerval called forth the better feelings of my heart; he again taught me to love the aspect of nature and the cheerful faces of children.”
- Victor’s youngest brother William is murdered, causing deep sadness and grief in him and his family: Victor receives a letter from his father Alphonse, telling him that his youngest brother has tragically been killed and Justine Moritz is accused of the crime. -“William is dead!—that sweet child, whose smiles delighted and warmed my heart, who was so gentle, yet so gay! Victor, he is murdered!”
- Victor decides to return to Geneva to visit his family, but encounters the monster on the way there and comes to the frightening conclusion that he killed William: While travelling to Geneva despite the incoming storm brewing in the mountains, Victor is shocked to encounter the monster he created 2 years ago. -” 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 daemon, to whom I had given life. What did he there? Could he be (I shuddered at the conception) the murderer of my brother?”
Activity Two: New Language. In the opening passage of chapter 1, students should identify words they do not understand. They should make a list of these words on their blogs and write down what they THINK they word means. After this, they should grab a dictionary (or Google it) and compare what they thought with what the word is defined as. It would be useful to correct their work on the blog leaving both definitions up so we can see the difference. Explain how you came to the definition you did. What words around the mystery word did you know and use to make your guess?
Genevese guessed definition: People who belong to Geneva, Switzerland. I guessed this because Geneva is where Frankenstein is from therefore like Chinese is to China, Genevese is someone who originates in Geneva.
Genevese real definition: A native or inhabitant of Geneva. [ from 17th c.]
Syndics guessed definition: Those who belong to a syndicate. Rough guess as syndic may be short for syndicate.
Syndics real definition: a government official in various countries.
Indefatigable guessed definition: Something that isn’t affected by anything else. The surrounding sentence the word belongs to is, “…knew him for his integrity and indefatigable attention to public business.”, the words suggest his attention to public business won’t change.
Indefatigable real definition: Persisting tirelessly (of a person or their efforts) .
Deplored guessed definition: To dislike or disagree with. The sentence that the word belongs to, “He bitterly deplored the false pride which led his friend to a conduct so little worthy of the affection that united them.”, suggests that he despises the false pride his friend holds.
Deplored real definition: feel or express strong condemnation of (something).
Sustenance guessed definition: Something to live off. The word sustenance is contained inside the sentence, ” but it was sufficient to provide him with sustenance for some months”, and the definition is hinted when Beaufort provides himself with a small sum of money to “live” off or sustain himself for some months.
Sustenance real definition: The maintaining of someone or something in life or existence.
Adversity guessed definition: To be different and avert from the typical career path. The sentence the word is contained in, “But Caroline Beaufort possessed a mind of an uncommon mould, and her courage rose to support her in her adversity.”, suggests Catherine Beaufort is different, comparing her to an uncommon mold.
Adversity real definition: A difficult or unpleasant situation.
Pittance guessed definition: To realize something bad. The word pittance reminds me of pitted which is to be set in conflict.
Pittance real definition: A very small or inadequate amount of money.
Scarcely guessed definition: To do something with the bare minimum. Scarcity means to be in short supply therefore scarcely must be to do something with short supply.
Scarcely real definition: Only just; almost not.
Activity Three: Victor Frankenstein, A Gothic Protagonist? Students should use the criteria from our blog post on the gothic protagonist to create a table. In this table, they should list traits, actions and comments from Victor Frankenstein that they believe make him fit into the six descriptors of a gothic protagonist. They should supply evidence to support their ideas in each section of the table.
|1. Has distinct contrasting qualities to their character.||He cuts up bodies but then feels guilty about it.||” So deeply was I engrossed in my occupation. The leaves of that year had withered before my work drew near to a close;”|
|2. Usually of a high social rank or holds a position of power.|
|3. Often surrounded by devices that foreshadow something negative.||Negative foreshadow takes form of a train, storm and a river eg. “train of my ideas” and “avert the storm”|
|4. Driven by strong emotions rather than logic or reason|
|5. Generally secretive or surrounded by an air of mystery.||Lonely, reserved and generally keeps to himself.||Victor decides to keep the Frankenstein’s monster project a secret from others.|
|6. Has a need to know||Nosy, “has a thirst for knowledge”, intensely curious and ambitious||Decides to study the human anatomy in university in order to develop understanding of how to build Frankenstein’s monster.|
Activity Four: Tone and Mood. Refreshing their memories by looking at our blog post about tone and mood students should explain what tone AND what mood they believe is being developed in the passage below. They should reference specific sentence structures and language choices made by the author to support their answer. This should be published on their personal blog.
Activity five: In chapter 3 and 4, there are many instances of foreshadowing. They should identify three examples of foreshadowing in chapters 3 and 4 and explain what they think the author is hinting at when she uses this device. Students should pay close attention to any language devices (metaphors, irony, simile etc.) and the vocabulary choices when discussing their examples. This should be posted on their personal blogs.
Example one: “The next morning I delivered my letters of introduction and paid a visit to some of the principle professors. Chance – or rather the evil influence, the Angel of Destruction, which asserted omnipotent sway over me from the moment I turned my reluctant steps from my father’s door – led me first to M. Krempe, professor of natural philosophy.”
Personification is used to foreshadow eventual destruction. Chance is personified as evil in this passage, an angel who looks over Frankenstein, waiting to cause destruction over his life, which is hinted at being inevitable. Chance controls him like a puppet from the moment Frankenstein leaves home and asserts force over him while he visits the professors to make sure he is on a negative path. He is no longer in control and by giving chance or fate possessing and controlling abilities, the author hints that this evil influence is walking Frankenstein into eventual darkness and destruction.
Example two: “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, atleast by my example, 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.”
An analogy is used to explain the limits of knowledge in which a man should be happy with and foreshadows that by pushing the limits of science and what mankind knows of, Frankenstein will have entered a dangerous outer limit that he shouldn’t have crossed and it will result in an eventual unhappiness with his decision to create something greater than his nature allows. The analogy is that one is happier knowing that their town is the world in its entirety rather than knowing that there is a big wide world full of problems and issues. The same is with knowledge and if you know little (like when you are a child) you become naive and curious and once you know too much of the world and its darker elements you start to realize the dangers of being alive. He is talking to Walton in this passage when saying don’t learn from my mottoes in life, and if you can’t do that and are inspired to be like me, learn from my bad decisions.
Example three: “But my enthusiasm was checked by my anxiety, and I appeared rather like one doomed by slavery to toil in the mines, or any other unwholesome trade than an artist occupied by his favorite employment. Every night I was oppressed by a slow fever, and I became nervous to a most painful degree; the fall of a leaf startled me, and I shunned my fellow creatures as if I had been guilty of a crime. Sometimes I grew alarmed at the wreck I perceived that I had become; the energy of my purpose alone sustained me: my labours would soon end, and I believed that exercise and amusement would then drive away incipient disease; and I promised myself both of these when my creation should be complete.”
An analogy is again used to describe the dangerous affect of obsession and dedication to one thing. Obsession is like a painful fever or a disease and Frankenstein believes that the more he labours to this obsession the closer he is to driving away this disease and by completing his creation he will be rid of this disease that consumes his life so much. This is foreshadowing as by being oppressed by this slow fever, he will eventually succumb to the wounds caused by this fever or disease and because of this obsession he will die as result.
Activity Six: The Age of Enlightenment. As Frankenstein was published in 1818 and the story is set around 100 years prior to this, students need to have an understanding of the world our characters and author lived in. They also need to have an understanding of the type of world gothic fiction emerged from. Students should conduct research into the time period known as The Enlightenment. They should look into areas such as politics, religion, technological advancement and science, gender roles, and society and everyday life. They should look to select 5 key areas to research. On their blogs, they should set up a new post that has their five headings in it. During their research phase, they should keep a record of what websites they visit or any material they read on this post. At the end of the research phase, students should write a paragraph explaining their understanding of each of their chosen areas. They should look to be as informative as possible and point out any connections between their research and the material we have read in Frankenstein so far. They should be aware that their classmates may use their research to help them gain better understanding in areas they did not look into.
Politics: This time was also a great advancement in politics. For example the English monarchy was made. The concept of democracy ‘a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives’ was put forth. Mary Shelley was wary of political issues during the time of writing this novel, as no matter what it would upset people by having such bold statements. Politics became much more significant to society during the age of enlightenment.
Religion:The church was still powerful during the age of enlightenment particularly the catholic church. Christianity was the main religion in this time period however there was a lot that religion could not explain which is why science became so popular. More and more people were explaining things that religion couldn’t explain. This was causing a lot of people to stop believing in religion and instead believe in science. Frankenstein was an atheist and believed in science over religion, though the protagonist doesn’t believe in religion, the author uses many religious references such as God, Satan and there is a direct comparison of the monster to Adam. Any aspect of religion that was not rational should be rejected.
Technological Advancement: The invention of the flying shuttle (weaves fabrics) made it possible to thread bigger things and at a faster rate. The invention of the locomotive allowed fast transport of large goods and a new method of transportation. The steam engine allowed a new source of energy to be made in the form of steam as well as the water wheel which converted running water into energy. As well as this energy and electricity itself became more advanced, paving the way more better communication.
Science: In the age of enlightenment the idea of science was starting to take off. Things that couldn’t be explained by religion were starting to be questioned. This is when famous scientists such as Isaac Newton and Galileo, Kepler and Leibniz started to discover new things. For instance laws of motion.Frankenstein was determined to be one of these famous scientists rising to fame during this age, and looked up to these figures as a motivation for his studies. In this age more people were starting to believe in science as opposed to religion.
Gender Roles: During the age of enlightenment, females were thought to be of lesser worth compared to males.Their work was often overlooked or claimed by males of a higher social class. Men had more opportunities with education, work etc. This means Frankenstein is automatically an of a higher social class, just by being a male thus being the second descriptor of a gothic protagonist. The world was very sexist in this time period.
Activity Six: The Introduction- Read the Introduction that is in the books at the back of the classroom. It is written by Mary Shelley for the 1831 edition of the novel. You will find it after the “Note on the Text”. After reading it through, write a blog post answering the following questions (you should be able to write about a paragraph per question):
- What does Shelley say about the novel’s origins? Shelley was staying
- What parallels can be drawn between the ‘birth’ of a monster and the ‘birth’ of Shelley’s novel?
Activity Six: Concepts and Influences- Find out more about the concepts/ influences listed, considering in what ways they might be relevant to the story of Frankenstein. On your blog, write a short paragraph about each concept/influence and its relevance to Frankenstein. The concepts and influences are alchemy, galvanism, grave-robbing, dissection, fantasmagoria, “The Vampyre”, John Polidori and Villa Diodati and the ghost story challenge.