Frankenstein Notes Essay, Research Paper
1. We commonly refer to the enormous monster as “Frankenstein”, when in fact he was never given a name.
2. Many references are made throughout the story to other famous literary works, such as Milton’s, Paradise Lost and Coleridge’s, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
3. Victor is a seeker of knowledge; he seeks answers to what occurs in nature and the physical world.
4. Upon his arrival at the University, Victor puts all his time and energy into his studies; he even disregards his health and family.
5. Many gothic elements of the grotesque are found throughout this book.
6. The environment of the book is described as dark and eerie.
7. After the creation of his monster, Victor suffers a so-called “living torture” for the consequences of his actions.
8. The weather plays a big role in setting the overall tone of the book.
9. The idea that man is born good, but it is society and other pressures that create an evil in man is relevant and part of the romantic theme depicted in the story.
10. The central concern of the novel is the basic need for companionship. Humans seek other individuals for their mate, in which they can share a life-long relationship together.
1. capacious: able to contain or hold much; roomy; spacious.
2. paroxysm: a sudden outburst as of laughter, rage, or sneezing; fit; spasm.
3. chamois: a small goat antelope of the mountains of Europe.
4. galvanism: electricity produced by a chemical reaction.
5. chimera: an impossible or foolish fancy.
6. dogmatism: dogmatic assertion of opinion, usually without reference to evidence.
7. lassitude: state or feeling of being tired and listless; weariness; languor.
8. mien: a way of carrying and conducting oneself; manner.
9. ignominy: loss of one’s reputation; shame and dishonor; infamy.
10. aiguilles: a peak of rock shaped like a needle.
11. hovel: a small shed for sheltering animals or storing supplies.
12. offal’s: refuse; garbage.
13. viands: food of various kinds; especially choice dishes.
14. vestige: a trace, mark, or sign of something that once existed but has disappeared.
1. Robert Walton is the narrator of the novel. The time period in which the story is told is in the 1800’s.
2. The characters of the story are Victor Frankenstein, the “monster”, Robert Walton, Alphonse, Caroline, Ernest, and William Frankenstein, Elizabeth Lavenza, Justine Mortiz, Henry Clerval, M. Krempe, M. Waldman, M. De Lacy, Felix De Lacy, Agatha De Lacy, Safie, Mr. Kirwin, and Margaret Saville.
3. The setting takes place in Europe.
4. The general themes of the novel are use of knowledge for good and evil purposes, the use of new technology in modern life, the treatment of the poor and uneducated, and the powers of nature and the human physiology.
5. Brief Synopsis:
The novel begins with the explorer Robert Walton looking for a new passage from Russia to the Pacific Ocean. After weeks at sea, the crew of Walton’s ship finds a man, Victor Frankenstein, floating on an iceberg near death. In Walton’s series of letters to his sister in England, he retells Victor’s story. Victor goes off to the University of Ingolstadt to pursue his dream. But before this happened, Victor’s mother Victor Frankenstein grew up in Switzerland with his adopted sister Elizabeth. Alphonse and Caroline were their caring parents. Growing up, Victor, had an extreme love for the sciences and he one day and Elizabeth become ill with scarlet fever, his mother dies of this horrible disease. At the university, Victor meets with his two professors. Here he becomes very involved with his studies. He devises a plan to re-create a being out of dead body parts through chemistry, alchemy, and electricity. After bringing the creature to life, Victor feels that he is not ready to take care of this “monster”. He then runs away in fear and disgust of his creation and conscience. Meanwhile, the monster wanders through the countryside in search of his creator. Henry Clerval, Victor’s friend, comes to visit Victor and restore his health. Alphonse Frankenstein writes to his son telling him that someone has killed his younger brother, William. At this point, Victor knows who the killer is but cannot actually tell his family or the police. Victor then travels back home. On his way home, Victor comes in contact with the monster. The monster is coming to confront Victor with a proposition, to make him a mate of his own. At first, Victor refuses, but the monster asks for his side of the story to be heard. They then go off to a place where the monster tells his story. The monster has taught himself to read and understand language. One day, he wanders through the woods and comes across letters written by Victor and he then learns of his creation. The monster feels the rejection of mankind and decides to take revenge on his creator. Victor agrees to create the second monster under one condition, that the monster leaves Europe. Victor begins his work after he agrees to marry Elizabeth immediately upon his return. Taking residence just off the coast of Scotland, Victor abandons and destroys his second project. The monster vows to take revenge on Victor for not upholding his end of the bargain. With a wedding date set, Victor distresses over the thought that the monster will come after him on his very special day. He makes sure that he covers all the entrances into his room, so that the monster could not get in, but instead the monster gets into Elizabeth’s room and strangles her. Victor now wants revenge against the monster and chases him across Europe and Russia. He nearly catches him when he is discovered, withered away, by Robert Walton. Near death, Victor is taken aboard ship to recover from his struggles. The monster appears out of the mist of the water. He enters the cabin where Victor is and tells Walton his side of the story. Victor dies, and the monster disappears in the waves and darkness, never to be seen again.
6. During the course of the story, Victor changes the most. He is a modern scientist unleashed upon an unsuspecting society. Not fully aware if the consequences of his creating a new race of humans, he spends his entire life trying to destroy the same creation. Victor is also the uncontrolled ego who must satisfy his urge to know all and use that learning to create a new race of man. His excesses ultimately destroy him. Victor represents the part of the psyche that is governed by the instinctive impulses of sex or aggression.
7. The monster is the image of the real world. He represents the conscience created by Victor, the ego of Victor’s personality. He is the psyche which experiences the external world or reality, through the senses, that organizes the thought process rationally, and that governs action. It mediates between the impulses of identification, the demands of the environment, and the standards of the superego.
Originally, the novel seemed very difficult to read and understand, but as I continued to read on, I became more involved with the plot. Overall, the novel was enjoyable. It discusses important themes such as, good vs. evil, evolving technology, and the powers of nature. Also, the romantic and gothic movements were involved in the making of this novel. These movements give the novel the overall atmosphere of the plot.
8. This novel can be related to real life by describing the theme of the evolving technology. Since the Industrial Revolution pervaded all parts of European and British society in the time of this novel, the questions of how far the current wave of advances should push the individual in terms of personal and spiritual growth. The impression that perhaps the technological advances robes the soul of growth when man becomes too dependent on technology. Personal freedom is lost when man is made a slave to machines, instead of machines being dominated by man. Thus Victor becomes a lost soul when he tries his ghastly experiments on the dead and loses his morals when he becomes obsessed with the dead. Victor’s overindulgence in science takes away from his humanity, and he is left with the consequences of these actions having reasoned out the reality that his experiments may not have the desired effects.
9. The literary criticisms did provide a further understanding of the novel. The various types of criticisms provided different views upon the characters, the setting, and the plot. They give an overall understanding of where the novel comes from and what it is trying to explain.