Could you please suggest a conclusion on the topic of "The Danger of Knowledge in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein"?

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althair's profile pic

althair | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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The goal in writing a conclusion to an essay, if that is what you seek, is to attempt to revisit the main points made in the essay briefly without merely repeating the Introduction or sounding redundant.  This can be accomplished because your reader knows more about your reasoning and evidence when he or she reads your conclusion than when reading your introduction.  Thus you might refer back to your strongest example, or best point, and the reader should understand your point even though only briefly stated (in the conclusion) because of having read the more detailed body paragraphs earlier.  However, another way to make a conclusion less redundant is to suggest an application of the main idea to a larger context.  When we get burned, we don't want to merely learn not to touch a hot pan just removed from the oven; we want to learn to not touch hot things in general.  Now, I do not want to write a conclusion for you, but I do believe that where the science of Frankenstein was complete science fiction, in the sense that mankind was ages away from being able to do what Victor Frankenstein does in the novel--that is NOT the case today!  Perhaps we are not yet bringing the dead back to life, or creating a new life out of the body parts of dead people--but our "knowledge" has grown thousands upon thousands of times over in the nearly two centuries that have passed since Mary Shelley wrote her novel.  Today, we are capable of doing many, many things, whether it be in the fields of biology and medicine, or of atomic physics, or manipulation of genes in living organisms (all right, that falls under biology and medicine)--many people don't approve of GMO's (genetically modified organisms) in their food.  So we have the KNOWLEDGE (which M.S. could only fantasize about) but do we have the WISDOM to use that knowledge for good?  

Rules for essay writing can be a pain, and can be contradictory.  On the one hand I suggest adding a new direction, a new application, to the conclusion. This is sound practice--but don't turn it into a new essay! (or another body paragraph). Just point the reader in the direction of thinking about how what you have already said about the particulars of Frankenstein might be applicable in more modern contexts.  Some writers make the mistake of developing a new point about the topic, another example for instance, in the conclusion.  This is not good practice.  If you wish to write about another example, add one or more body paragraphs to do so, and then write a Conclusion to the whole essay.  

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shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is considered by many to be the novel that launched the literary genre of science fiction. Good science fiction often questions the wisdom of scientific advancement. In that vein, many science fiction novels have examined ideas that man might be better off leaving alone (2001 A Space Odyssey springs to mind).

Shelley’s Frankenstein looks at a noble idea (creating life) and shows how such an endeavor might backfire on its creator. Frankenstein’s monster is repugnant to him, and ends up murdering his wife.  Dr. Frankenstein thought he knew what he wanted to accomplish, but didn’t visualize what such an accomplishment would really mean.

If I were writing an essay on the danger of knowledge in the novel Frankenstein, my conclusion would focus on how the Shelley's warning still applies today. In fact, with the way technology is advancing at an ever-faster rate, I would argue that her warning is even more important today. Do we really know where all of this communication ability (smartphones, texting, video surveillance, etc.) will take us? Are we more exposed to danger from our enemies through computer hacking? Raising questions like those in your conclusion will leave your reader with something to think about within the context of the points you raise in your essay.

In her introduction to the novel Shelley wrote about a dream she had of a man who created a monster similar to what she wrote about in Frankenstein. This quote is a good indication of her thoughts on the dangers of knowledge:

. . . for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

You might consider using this quote in your conclusion.

As you write your conclusion, remember not to simply repeat what you have already written. Don’t say anything about the dangers of modern technology until you get to the conclusion--let that be a shift in perspective offered by your conclusion. Also, don’t introduce new evidence in your conclusion. That is the job of the essay body. And whatever you do, for heaven's sake, don't start out with the words "In conclusion"!

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