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Sample Essay Outlines

  • Topic #1
    Discuss the true nature and personality of the creature in Shelley’s Frankenstein.

    I. Thesis Statement: Although the creature behaves viciously and murders several people, he is not inherently evil or malicious.

    II. Creation of the creature
    A. The creature as a product of Victor Frankenstein:
    1. Construction of creature from body parts
    2. Victor brings the creature to life
    3. Rejection of the creature by Frankenstein
    4. Confusion and pain of rejection
    5. Experience of physical senses
    6. Emotional response
    B. The creature as a lost innocent:
    1. Wanders in the woods, alone and confused
    2. Discovery of food and fire
    3. Seeking shelter from natural elements

    III. The creature in society
    A. Second rejection by humans:
    1. The peasant flees from the creature
    2. He is isolated from society
    B. Creature understands he is repulsive to humans:
    1. Prefers to hide in the forest, away from people
    2. The creature realizes he is ugly
    C. The benevolent nature of the creature:
    1. Admiration of the De Lacey family
    2. Anonymous acts of kindness towards the family
    3. Appreciation of music and literature
    4. Attempt to communicate with M. De Lacey
    a. Seeks companionship from the father
    b. Experiences sadness instead of anger at Felix’s attack
    5. Burns down cottage after De Laceys move out
    a. First violent act in response to rejection
    D. The creature attempts to save the drowning girl:
    1. Attacked by girl’s father
    2. Further rejection by society

    IV. Creature’s relationship with Frankenstein
    A. Rejection and abandonment by “father”:
    B. Creature discovers identity of his creator:
    1. Creature experiences true rage
    C. Creature demands a mate from Frankenstein:
    1. Only wants to be left alone with a companion
    2. Promises not to harm anyone
    D. Creature’s last hope destroyed by his creator:
    1. Frankenstein tears apart the mate
    2. Creature vows revenge
    3. Kills Henry and Elizabeth
    E. Frankenstein becomes as miserable as his creature:
    1. His loved ones are dead
    2. He feels responsible and guilty over their deaths

    V. The creature’s true nature and desires
    A. Love and acceptance by society
    B. Companionship
    C. An end to his lonely isolation
    D. Final desire: a fiery, anonymous death;
    1. Creature understands he can never find peace or happiness in human society
    E. The creature as a product of society:
    1. Prejudice and behavior of humans

    VI. Conclusion

  • Topic #2
    Illustrate Mary Shelley’s use of Romantic concepts in Frankenstein.

    I. Thesis Statement: Frankenstein is a classic example of literature written in the Romantic tradition.

    II. Romanticism
    A. History of romanticism in literature and the arts:
    1. Examples
    B. Characteristics of Romantic literature:
    1. Feelings and emotionalism vs. intellect
    2. Emotional response of characters
    3. Nonrealistic portrayal of characters
    4. Dramatic settings
    a. Mountain landscapes
    b. Germany and the Rhine
    c. Scotland
    5. Bizarre stories and events
    C. Major Romantic writers:
    1. Mary Shelley
    2. Percy Bysshe Shelley
    3. Lord George Gordon Byron

(The entire section is 919 words.)