Why did Mary Shelley write Frankenstein?
She wrote it as a response to a challenge to a contest by Lord Byron and her husband, Percy Shelley, to think of a horror story. Whoever wrote the best story would be declared the winner.
What discussions influenced the development of her idea?
She was listening to her husband, Shelley, and Lord Byron talk about the nature of life, and the possibility of creating a creature.
In the preface, what does the author say she is trying to preserve?
She is trying to “preserve the truth of the elementary principles of human nature.”
What is the structure, or form, of the novel?
It is an epistolary novel. This means it is written as a series of letters.
Who was writing the letters?
They were written by Robert Walton.
To whom were the letters written?
They were written to Walton’s sister, Mrs. Margaret Saville, in England.
Where was the writer, and why was he there?
He was in the Arctic, exploring unknown regions.
How did he meet Victor Frankenstein?
He and the crew found Frankenstein stuck on a large piece of ice. They rescued him and brought him aboard their vessel.
How did Robert feel about his guest?
He liked Frankenstein, and hoped they would become friends.
Why was Frankenstein in the Arctic?
He was pursuing the creature.
Who told this part of the story?
Victor Frankenstein told his story to Robert Walton.
How did Elizabeth come to live with the Frankensteins?
Caroline Frankenstein saw her with a peasant family, and offered to raise her in better circumstances.
Who was Frankenstein’s closest friend?
It was Henry Clerval.
What was one of the themes of the writers who influenced Frankenstein?
The authors he liked wrote about raising ghosts or devils. He tried to mimic them.
What natural phenomena influenced Frankenstein?
He watched a tree being hit by lightning during a storm. He became interested in the theories of electricity and galvanism.
What two major events happened to Frankenstein when he was seventeen?
His mother died and he went to the university at Ingolstadt to study.
What goal did Frankenstein decide to pursue?
He wanted to try to renew life in a corpse, to “bestow animation upon lifeless matter.”
How did Frankenstein feel when his experiment succeeded, and the creature came to life?
He was horrified and disgusted.
What happened to Frankenstein the day after he completed his creation?
He became ill with a fever and delirium for several months.
Who took care of Frankenstein during his illness?
Henry Clerval did.
What did Clerval give Frankenstein when he was better?
He gave him a letter from Elisabeth.
How did Frankenstein and Clerval spend the next several months?
Frankenstein introduced Clerval to the professors. They studied and went for walks.
What news did the letter from Frankenstein’s father bring?
Frankenstein’s youngest brother, William, had been murdered.
What did Frankenstein see just outside the gates of Geneva as he was returning home?
He saw the monster he had created.
Who was accused of committing the murder, and why?
Justine, who lived with the family, was accused. She had not been with the family on the night. William was murdered. Several people had seen her the next morning looking confused and frightened. A servant found the locket that Elizabeth had given to William in Justine’s pocket.
What was Frankenstein’s reaction to this accusation?
He was sure the creature had committed the murder. He was torn between wanting to save Justine and not wanting to reveal his horrible secret to anyone. He considered himself the real murderer.
What did Frankenstein do about his dilemma?
He appealed to the courts to let Justine go free, and told his family that she was innocent, but he did not tell anyone about the creature.
What happened to the accused person?
She confessed under pressure from her priest. She was convicted and hanged.
What was Frankenstein’s state of mind after the trial and its conclusion?
He was filled with remorse for all he had done. He was also fearful that the creature would commit other crimes.
Where did Frankenstein go to seek relief?
He traveled to the Alpine valley and the village of Chamounix.
Whom did Frankenstein meet after he had ascended to the summit of Montanvert?
He met his creature.
How did Frankenstein react to this meeting?
He was full of rage and horror. He threatened to kill the creature.
What did the creature want of Frankenstein?
He wanted Frankenstein to listen to the account of his life so far.
How did the creature feel when he first felt life?
He felt confused because of all of the new sensations.
What was the reaction of the villagers the creature encountered?
They shrieked, and threw rocks and other things at him, and drove him away from the village.
Where did the creature take shelter?
He stayed in a lean-to attached to a cottage.
What observations did the creature make about the people in the cottage?
He saw that they cared for each other, that the two younger people treated the older man with great respect, and that they were often sad and hungry.
What does the creature learn to do, and how does he learn this?
He learns to speak, and then to read, by observing and listening to the cottagers. He found a portmanteau that had several books in it, and he read them. He then read the letters that were in the pocket of the coat he had taken from Victor Frankenstein.
What was the elder De Lacey’s reaction when the creature entered the cottage and began speaking with him?
The elder man was blind, and therefore could not see how hideous the creature looked. He invited the creature in and agreed to listen to his story.
What was the reaction of the rest of the De Lacey family when they saw the creature?
Agatha fainted, Safie fled, and Felix hit him with a stick until he left the cottage.
What did the creature do to the cottage when he returned and found that the De Laceys had
He set fire to it in a rage.
What was the reaction of the man whose daughter was saved from drowning by the creature?
He took the girl from the creature’s arms, and shot the creature when he pursued the pair.
What discovery did the creature make when he approached another human?
He seized a small boy, and discovered that he was William Frankenstein.
What did the creature do to this person?
He strangled the boy.
How did the creature feel after his deed?
He was delighted that he was able to create despair for his creator.
What did the creature tell Frankenstein about the locket?
He said he found the locket on the boy, and took it. Later when he saw Justine sleeping, he put it in her pocket, intending that she should take the blame for the murder.
What did the creature ask Frankenstein to do, and why?
He asked Frankenstein to create a female for him. He said that he was malicious because he was unhappy, and that if he were content he would not bother any more humans.
How did Frankenstein react to this request?
At first he refused, but as the creature continued his argument, Frankenstein felt compassion for him, and finally agreed to create a female.
What threat did the creature make when he saw Frankenstein destroy his second creation?
He said, “I will be with you on your wedding night.”
What happened to Frankenstein when he landed his boat?
He was accused of murder.
Who had been the creature’s most recent victim?
It was Henry Clerval.
What happened at Frankenstein’s trial?
Witnesses were able to prove that he was on the Orkney Islands at the time the body of Clerval was found. He was acquitted and released.
What event occurred next in Frankenstein’s life?
He married Elizabeth.
What happened on Frankenstein and Elizabeth’s wedding night?
The creature broke into the room and killed Elizabeth.
What happened to Frankenstein’s father as a result of this latest tragedy?
He died of grief.
What was the magistrate’s response when Frankenstein told him the entire story of the creature?
The magistrate believed him, but said that he didn’t think he and his men would be successful in catching the creature.
What did Frankenstein do after he left the magistrate?
He decided to pursue the monster and kill him.
What request does Frankenstein make of Robert Walton?
Frankenstein knows his strength is failing. He asks Robert Walton to destroy the creature if he ever has the opportunity.
What happened to Frankenstein?
He died of natural causes while in the cabin on the ship.
What happened to the creature?
He came into the cabin and saw the dead Frankenstein. He told Walton that he was going to travel in the far north and kill himself. We last see the creature as he floats away into the darkness on an ice raft.