Why is Frankenstein valuable and worthy to be studied in the English classroom?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a work that is studied as part of the English literature curriculum for several reasons.

First, it is part of an effort to redress the gender imbalance in literary studies, in which, historically, novels by men have been studied more than novels by women.

Second, it is a seminal book,that has spawned many imitations. There are numerous references to Frankenstein and his monster in both high and popular culture, and reading the book therefore helps develop cultural literacy.

Next, the novel represents an important part of the history of both Romantic literature and the Gothic novel. It is also an important text in terms of the way it portrays how science was regarded both as a solution to problems of the world but also as a form of human arrogance and transgression which could give rise to monsters, both literal and metaphorical. 

Finally, the novel makes an important argument in the nature versus nurture debate about the nature of evil. The monster, in a sense, becomes a true monster because he is treated as one; in some ways, Victor is more inherently monstrous than his creation. 


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