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How would I approach a research paper about Frankenstein using the Moral-Philosophical...

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ty402 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 8, 2012 at 10:55 AM via web

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How would I approach a research paper about Frankenstein using the Moral-Philosophical approach to literature?

I apologize as this question may seem obvious or a bit redundant.  According to a list I have from class the Moral-Philosophical approach "aims to interpret literature within a context of the philosophical thought of the time period or group ".  That makes sense, and Romanticism would obviously relate to Frankenstein in this regard.  My teacher agreed, and thought this was a good idea and would make a straight-forward paper.

However, we are supposed to use multiple sources and I do not know where to start or what kind of sources to look for.  Do I find sources simply about the beliefs under British Romanticism and relate those to examples in the book?  Or do I look up sources that that already talk about Romanticism in Frankenstein specifically and cite those?  Perhaps I just do not understand the Moral-Philosophical approach even though it seems pretty straight forward.  I'm getting desperate so any help, or push in the right direction, is greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 25, 2012 at 7:41 PM (Answer #1)

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The Moral-Philosophical approach to literature is an examination of a text's context in regards to the "philosophical thought of the time period or group." When examining Mary Shelley's Romantic novel Frankenstein, one would need to look at both the philosophies of the time period (the early 1800s) and the literary genre (Romanticism).

That being said, one would need to begin with a study of the time period. Research needs to begin with the political beliefs, religious ideology, scientific ideals, and morals taught during the 1800s. After examining the time period, one would need to examine the ideology of the Romantics themselves.

As a suggestion, when beginning to research the information required, one needs to begin with the ideology of the time period. By doing this, one can come to understand how the literary period was influenced, or contrasted with, other ideas of the time. After, the novel itself needs to be examined.

Therefore, the essay, in order to develop understanding (and proof of understanding) needs to open describing the time period first. The the essay needs to move in to the characteristics of the period. Lastly, the novel itself needs to be defined regarding how it "fits" into both the time period and the genre (or how it does not fit).

Research quarries have been referenced below in order to help.

Sources:

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