FrankensteinI'm looking for a "great" theme for my research essay on Frankenstein, any ideas?

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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I love this novel. There are so many themes to write about and/or discuss in the classroom.

My favorite theme, however, is the irresponsibility of a parent. When Victor creates the creature, he just takes off without showing any concern for the life he has created. This is such a HUGE theme with young people today (though it is certainly not new) that I find it hard to pass up focusing on this aspect of the story.

My second favorite theme is the aspect of "new science" that seemed like fantasy in Shelley's time, but not seem that way at all today. I love to discuss cloning with my kids: there are great articles out there to tie in with the story. The idea of acting God-like is also significant today.

Having grown up watching reruns of Boris Karloff in the movie Frankenstein (1931), it was not until I read the novel in college that I was able to become sympathetic to the sense of alienation the creature experiences through no fault of his own. "No man is an island..."

An unlikely book, written by a woman in a society whose writers were predominantly male, this book is one that speaks to its readers perhaps more today than at any point since its inception. Could Mary Shelley ever have imagined where this novel would "go" after she printed it and "sent it on its way?"

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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You may have already started your paper, but I think looking at Maslov's hierarchy of needs and then analyzing the needs of the monster and of Frankenstein is a really intersting angle to take on a more psychological analysis of the novel. At what level of the needs chart is the monster?  What happens to him because of that?  What can he do to achieve all his higher level needs?  Is it even possible?

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

It may be useful to consider the subtitle of the novel, The Modern Prometheus. There are two myths here to explore in terms of offending the higher being(s) which could be worth exploring in your thesis. As others have said, a great text choice!

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

You are so welcome.  I am glad to help.  The theme you've chosen is great, and you'll find much to support it in the book,

Victor is convinced that Fate has brought him to the creation of his creature.  He is drawn to the books of Abertus Magnus, Paracelsus, etc.  His father shunned the books, but without ever giving him a reason why to satisfy his curiosity.  He is drawn to the power of nature and determined to learn its secrets.  It is not until the death of his beloved mother, however, that he is determined to discover how to bring someone back from the dead. 

Your title is a good working title.  You may decide after having written your paper that a phrase you've used in the paper will serve you better, or you might stick with that phrase. 

Good Luck!

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I love this novel! My own favourite theme in this novel which is so relevant for today is the whole creator/creation debate. Victor puts himself in the role of creator, usurping the role of God. This really forces us to ask very hard questions about the limits of scientific advances. Just because we know how to do something doesn't necessarily mean we have to do it. So relevant in today's world of stem cells, cloning and the list goes on.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There are many themes with this novel...such a wonderful piece of literature!  Here are a few to consider:  science, friendship, love, nature, pursuit of knowledge, beauty, revenge, ambition, conflict with parents/children, and illness (both mental and physical).

All of these ideas could be used to analyze the characters in the novel.  For instance, when Victor is too long away from nature (symbolizing God and the Creator), he becomes sick and feverish and usually makes poor decisions.  This is when he creates the creature, attempts to create the female creature, and he suffers through the consequences of these actions.

You could also take the theme of beauty--Shelley's idea of how Caroline Beaufort's, Elizabeth's and Henry's beauty effects Victor and other characters...or even the idea of what beauty should be (the creature is beautiful inside, but hideous on the outside while Victor is the opposite).

The same is true for parent/child conflict.  You could study Mary Shelley, Justine Moritz, and/or Victor and the creature.

Fascinating stuff...good luck!

blueeyedcoach's profile pic

blueeyedcoach | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

You may have already started your paper, but I think looking at Maslov's hierarchy of needs and then analyzing the needs of the monster and of Frankenstein is a really intersting angle to take on a more psychological analysis of the novel. At what level of the needs chart is the monster?  What happens to him because of that?  What can he do to achieve all his higher level needs?  Is it even possible?

I have already started it,,,,,unfortunately.....i feel lost though...to some extent....sometimes i feel like i am getting somewhere and then i fell lost lol.....anyway thank you so much for your ideas......

blueeyedcoach's profile pic

blueeyedcoach | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

It may be useful to consider the subtitle of the novel, The Modern Prometheus. There are two myths here to explore in terms of offending the higher being(s) which could be worth exploring in your thesis. As others have said, a great text choice!

I will do that, thanks again.

blueeyedcoach's profile pic

blueeyedcoach | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

You are so welcome.  I am glad to help.  The theme you've chosen is great, and you'll find much to support it in the book,

Victor is convinced that Fate has brought him to the creation of his creature.  He is drawn to the books of Abertus Magnus, Paracelsus, etc.  His father shunned the books, but without ever giving him a reason why to satisfy his curiosity.  He is drawn to the power of nature and determined to learn its secrets.  It is not until the death of his beloved mother, however, that he is determined to discover how to bring someone back from the dead. 

Your title is a good working title.  You may decide after having written your paper that a phrase you've used in the paper will serve you better, or you might stick with that phrase. 

Good Luck!

Thank you so so much.

blueeyedcoach's profile pic

blueeyedcoach | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

I love this novel! My own favourite theme in this novel which is so relevant for today is the whole creator/creation debate. Victor puts himself in the role of creator, usurping the role of God. This really forces us to ask very hard questions about the limits of scientific advances. Just because we know how to do something doesn't necessarily mean we have to do it. So relevant in today's world of stem cells, cloning and the list goes on.

This is exactly what i have settled for. I began writing the paper this morning, then i decided to look at the answers on here to my question and there it was from you. Thank you so much. If you have any input or anything that will help me, feel free and i so appreciate it. On the name of my essay i thought i would title it "Science vs God", what do you think?

blueeyedcoach's profile pic

blueeyedcoach | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

There are many themes with this novel...such a wonderful piece of literature!  Here are a few to consider:  science, friendship, love, nature, pursuit of knowledge, beauty, revenge, ambition, conflict with parents/children, and illness (both mental and physical).

All of these ideas could be used to analyze the characters in the novel.  For instance, when Victor is too long away from nature (symbolizing God and the Creator), he becomes sick and feverish and usually makes poor decisions.  This is when he creates the creature, attempts to create the female creature, and he suffers through the consequences of these actions.

You could also take the theme of beauty--Shelley's idea of how Caroline Beaufort's, Elizabeth's and Henry's beauty effects Victor and other characters...or even the idea of what beauty should be (the creature is beautiful inside, but hideous on the outside while Victor is the opposite).

The same is true for parent/child conflict.  You could study Mary Shelley, Justine Moritz, and/or Victor and the creature.

Fascinating stuff...good luck!

Thank you so much for your ideas. I actually thought of all of them and settled with "Science vs God" something to that manner. What do you think?

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