Frankenstein Suggested Essay Topics
by Mary Shelley

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Suggested Essay Topics

Volume One: Letters One through Four
1. Why do you think Robert Walton is so eager to visit such a hostile environment?

2. Discuss the similarities between Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein, the man he rescues. Why does Walton feel such compassion for Victor, a total stranger?

3. Why is Walton so impressed with the shipmaster’s actions regarding his fiancée?

4. What Romantic concepts do the characters of Victor and Walton illustrate?

Volume One: Chapters One and Two
1. Victor is deeply affected by Caroline’s death. Discuss Victor’s reaction to his mother’s death and the influence it has on his scientific studies.

2. Discuss Victor’s friendship with Henry Clerval and compare it to his father’s relationship with Beaufort.

3. What is “modern science” as explained by M. Waldman, and how does it differ from the theories of Agrippa and the other scientists Victor studies?

Volume One: Chapters Three, Four, and Five
1. Why do you think Victor created such a horrible-looking creature? Did he realize what he was doing? Explain your answer.

2. What are some of the characteristics of the Gothic novel, and how does Mary Shelley use them in these chapters?

3. Victor tells us that his friend Clerval’s imagination was “too vivid for the minutiae of science.” What does he mean by this?

Volume One: Chapters Six and Seven
1. After Justine is accused of William’s murder, why do you think Victor never tells anyone about the creature?

2. Explain why Justine confesses to the crime, even though she is innocent.

3. Discuss Victor’s experience with lightning and Shelley’s use of it when Victor sees the creature.

Volume Two: Chapters One and Two
1. The creature tells Frankenstein: “misery made me a fiend.” Do you think the creature’s unhappiness justifies his murderous behavior? Explain your answer using examples from the text.

2. Victor contemplates suicide while sailing on the lake, and again when climbing the mountain. Discuss the change in Victor’s personality from his university days.

Volume Two: Chapters Three, Four, and Five
1. Describe the creature’s feelings towards Victor when he first came to life. How do they differ from Victor’s first reaction to his creation?

2. Discuss the creature’s attitude towards knowledge. Why does learning new things excite him and at the same time cause him so much pain?

3. Explain how the creature feels towards the peasant family. Why do you think he is so moved by their gentleness and kindness?

Volume Two: Chapters Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine
1. Discuss the Romantic notion of good and evil. How does it relate to the creature’s actions so far?

2. Explain why the creature feels it is so important to come out of hiding and talk to the elder De Lacey.

3. Describe how the creature feels when he finds Victor’s journal in his pocket.

Volume Three: Chapters One and Two
1. Victor says of his father that “a more indulgent and less dictatorial parent did...

(The entire section is 738 words.)