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Also responsible for collecting and editing editions of PBS's poems ... Friendship. Connection between life and death. Rejection. by a parent. by a loved one ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Frankenstein

  • by Mary Shelley

Mary Wollstonecraft William Godwin - Mary Jane
Three children, including Claire Clairmont
Fanny Imlay
commits suicide
Mary Godwin Percy Bysshe Shelley Harriet
commits suicide
Five children only Percy Shelley lives into
Two children
Born 1797 mother died in childbirth Died 1851
in England (lived with son and his wife)
Chief Works
  • Frankenstein (1818) History of a Six Weeks Tour
    (1817) Valparga (1823) The Last Man
  • (1826) The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (1830)
    Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837)
  • Also responsible for collecting and editing
    editions of PBSs poems
  • Published posthumously Matilda (1959)
    considered to be most autobiographical

  • Mother Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of
    the Rights of Women) independent early feminist
  • Father William Godwin (Political Justice The
    Adventures of Caleb Williams) revolutionary
    political thinker
  • Husband Percy Bysshe Shelley celebrated
    Romantic poet friend of Coleridge, Byron, Keats

  • sent to Scotland at age 15 returned and met PBS
    eloped to Paris in 1814 took Claire Godwin
    disowned Mary PBS had noble connections
    (baronet), but inheritance was tied up in
  • spent two years traveling to avoid debt
    collectors moved to Switzerland with Byron
  • In Switzerland, MS conceived the idea for
    Frankenstein from a dream sprouting from a
    contest and a conversations about science and
    scientists, galvanism and the principle of life
  • Wrote Frankenstein with PBSs editing help in
    1816 (She was 19!)

  • PBSs wife commits suicide (1816) and PBS and MS
    are married continued difficulties
  • 1822 PBS drowns in sailing accident (Italy) MS
    (25) and single surviving son return to England
  • broke tradition, proving a woman could earn a
    living as a writer
  • prior to her death, she reconciled with her
    father, paid his debts, sent her son to Harrow
    and Cambridge from annuities she received from
    her father-in-law
  • her son inherited the baronetcy (1844)

About the Novel
  • Nineteenth-Century Novel (Golden Age of the
  • continued use of epistolary form "written in the
    form of a series of letters exchanged among the
    characters of the story with extract from their
    journals sometimes included (Norwich 148). This
    genre exhibits the quality in which there are two
    separate audiences to the letter a character of
    the novel and the reader.
  • dealt with the foibles of society (bad habits

About the Novel
  • The Nineteenth-Century Novel
  • spent time of childhood of characters to
    demonstrate how mature adults developed from the
    happiness or deprivations of their childhood
    (VF has happy childhood, but is affected by
    significant events)
  • the use of settings to mirror human emotions
  • the outcast hero the hero with the alter-ego

About the Novel
  • The Gothic Novel
  • new genre
  • setting isolated medieval castle complete with
    ghosts, secret passages, and cries in the night
  • solitary hero, lonely settings, bizarre
  • capture a sense of mystery and otherness
  • proprietor of castle handsome, solitary,
    mysterious (Byronic hero)
  • initially terrify vs. enlighten, therefore
    responsible for low repute of the novel at the
    beginning of the 19thC
  • precursor to Romantics evident parallels to
  • Altered genre move towards imagination and
    feeling set in the present (versus the past)
    evokes horror, but not terror themes are serious
    and universal

About the Novel
  • Science Fiction
  • Frankenstein has been called the first sci-fi
  • term not used prior to 1851 includes 20,000
    Leagues Under the Sea, War of the Worlds
  • branch that centers on scientific discovery
    exploring the benefits and the dangers
  • often begins with recent developments and
    extrapolates what might happen if this
    development were pursued
  • comments on social and moral effects of
    experiments and developments
  • includes believable details to make readers
    suspend disbelief about impossible premise
  • stock character mad scientist

Historical Background
  • 18th C advances in science blood circulation,
    understanding of gases that compose the air, and
    the discovery of new planets experimentation
    with electricity (Luigi Galvani galvanism
    induced spasms in the body of an executed
    criminal through the use of and electric
    current), principle of life a philosophers
    stone and/or fountain of youth
  • turn towards nature as subject tranquility and
    peace, but also moral influence
  • increase in trade interest in Chinese (Asian)
    and Indian objects

  • a vast and complex movement in literature and the
    fine arts that began in the late eighteenth
    century as a reaction against the strict
    Classicism that had dominated the arts.
  • Faded slowly in the mid-nineteenth century with
    the advent of realism and in the wake of the
    effects of the Industrial Revolution
  • term Romanticism / Romantic was introduced
    about fifty years after the movement
  • linked to early days of French Revolution and
    ideas of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity
  • a reaction against the values of the previous age
    order, symmetry, and a reliance on reason

  • Age of Revolution
  • France Rousseau (1712 1778)
  • Innate goodness of man
  • Advocated peoples rights to revolt against
    social and political inequities.
  • Man is born free and everywhere he is in
  • Democratic ideals
  • American Revolution (1776)
  • All men are created equal
  • French Revolution (1789)
  • Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
  • Battle between common people and the authority of
    the monarchy, aristocracy, and church.
  • Reign of Terror killed 25,000

  • Age of Revolution
  • Napoleon (1799)
  • Military genius conquered most of Europe
  • 1812 disastrous retreat from Russia
  • 1815 defeated at Waterloo
  • Congress of Vienna (1815)
  • Tried to restore monarchies in Europe
  • Limited the spread of democracy
  • Romantic individualism tied to nationalism
  • Italy and Germany united

  • Key Concepts
  • Focus on self individual experience
  • Doctrine of the Basic Goodness of Man man is
    born good and is corrupted by society (Rousseau)
  • Emphasis on emotion overflow of spontaneous
    feeling recollected in tranquility (switch from
    prose to poetry)
  • Glorified nature tranquility, peace, moral
    influence, landscapes, creatures of the natural
    world, weather

  • Key Concepts
  • Preference for melancholy few cheerful
    characters spirit of gloom pervades
  • Interest in the exotic and supernatural
    willing suspension of disbelief
  • Political ideology
  • Variety of form
  • Human perfectibility Prometheus and Faust were
    favorite models

Structure of the novel - Frankenstein
  • framed narrative a story within a story (MS
    uses a double frame a story within a story
    within a story)
  • three points of view three different selves
  • begins at the end of the plot, then is told
    mainly in flashback (lots of foreshadowing)
  • structured around key scenes monster
    encounters glimpses mark turning points in plot
  • after final murder, structure turns to pattern of
    pursuit characters move in opposite directions,
    yet follow one another almost colliding at
    intervals (figure eight)
  • wild-coincidences non-traditional ends in

Setting - Frankenstein
  • many geographical locations moves all across
  • settings are fully described
  • wild and rugged terrain is favored
  • key confrontational scenes occur in dramatic
    settings accompanied by violent weather (reflects
    character emotions)
  • not definitively set in the past

Point of View - Frankenstein
  • three narrators allow three perspectives
    (angles) new layers of meaning
  • each account is addressed to a single
    listeneraudience has some effect on how the
    narrator shapes his account shift sympathies
    with different narrators
  • author is distanced from material
  • reader does not feel the main narrator (Walton)
    is a spokesperson for the author
  • sense of fairness one narrator quotes another
    no attempt to editorialize or to put one
    storyteller in a better or worse light

Point of View - Frankenstein
  • Robert Waltonnarrator, non-participant
    searching for confidant (soul mate) favorable
    impression of Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein 60 of narrative framed inside
    Waltons addressed to Walton alone attempt to
    warn Walton of the dangers of ambitious
    exploration (ambivalence?)
  • Monster narrative framed within Frankensteins
    narrative addressed solely to Frankenstein
    creates sympathy for monster

Style - Frankenstein
  • serious and careful, without humor or irony
  • Diction direct and understandable (in
    comparison to other 19thC works) shorter
    sentences, plainer vocabulary
  • simplistic melodramatic exaggeration is absent
    intensifies horrors described
  • scenery descriptions are majestic and sublime
    truly Romantic
  • scenery and weather are significant to important
    incidents and suggest grandeur and foreboding

Style - Frankenstein
  • little physical description of characters, with
    the exception of the monster
  • use of letters
  • use of dialogue monster formal, elegant
    language (Biblical form) Victors speeches hint
    dire events
  • abundant and extended use of allusions

Allusions - Frankenstein
  • Prometheus creator/ destroyer
  • Paradise Lost creator / creation disobedience
    loss of primal innocence denial of benevolent
    deity expulsion (allegory justification of
    the ways of God to man greater magnificence of
    Satan) the creation becomes more admirable and
    sympathetic than the creator
  • Rime of the Ancient Mariner sin and guilt
    comparisons to voyage of Mariner transgression
    of acceptable bounds of human behavior guilt is
    atoned for through prayer and love
  • Faust scholar sells his soul to transcend human
    knowledge and understanding punished for
    ambition in hell (thematic inference to strive
    beyond human limits is punishable)

Themes - Frankenstein
  • Nature of Good and Evil
  • Mans Limitations
  • Role of Scientific Enquiry
  • Effects of Ambition
  • Idealization of the Poor
  • Natures Reaction to the Affairs of Humans
  • Responsibility for Actions
  • Responsibiltiy to Others
  • Revenge
  • Doppelgänger alter ego shadow mirror image
    two sides of the same self ego vs. id

Themes - Frankenstein
  • Friendship
  • Connection between life and death
  • Rejection
  • by a parent
  • by a loved one
  • by society
  • Self-education
  • Adoption
  • Loneliness / alienation
  • Quest for knowledge / secret of life
  • Physical beauty

Romantic Themes - Frankenstein
  • Nature is valued
  • Emphasis on the individual
  • Emphasis on the emotions
  • Concern for the poor (idealization)
  • Belief in the innate goodness of man

Characters - Frankenstein
  • Victor Frankenstein
  • The Monster
  • Robert Walton
  • Henry Clerval
  • Elizabeth Lavenza
  • The DeLacey Family
  • Safie
  • Justine Moritz
  • Alphonse Frankenstein