Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

ISBN 978-1-60857-041-6

Grammardog Teacher's Guide contains 16 quizzes for this Gothic novel.  All sentences are from the novel.  Elements of Romanticism include descriptions of the power of nature to revive the human spirit, the nobility of the common man, the joy of country life, and the conflict between science and the supernatural realm.  Religious and literary allusions include Adam, Eve, Satan, Homer, Shakespeare, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Paradise Lost," King Arthur and Dante.

PLOT SUMMARY:  Can man create a human being? The Grammardog Guide to FRANKENSTEIN features sentences from the novel in 16 grammar, style and proofreading quizzes that reinforce plot, characters and themes.  The novel published in 1818 marks the beginning of science fiction.  The structure of the novel is a frame story with three narrators:  Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein and the creature.  The reader passes into three frames and then out again to the original narrator.

The story begins in a series of letters from Robert Walton to his sister in England.  Walton is in Russia organizing an expedition to the North Pole.  His ship picks up a stranded man on an ice floe.  The man rescued, Victor Frankenstein, takes over the narration and tells the story of how he came to be at the North Pole.  Frankenstein recounts his happy childhood in Switzerland with his friends Elizabeth and Henry.  He tells Walton about his mother’s death and his college years in Germany where he conducts scientific experiments in a laboratory in his apartment.  Frankenstein succeeds in creating a giant man made out of body parts salvaged from corpses.  The ugliness of the creature repulses Frankenstein who runs out of the apartment when the creature comes to life.  When Frankenstein returns, the creature is gone. 

Frankenstein tries to forget about the creature until word reaches him that his younger brother William has been murdered.  Frankenstein suspects that the creature committed the murder.  Afraid to tell authorities about his creation, Frankenstein lets an innocent woman named Justine be hanged for the murder.  On a hike up Mont Blanc, Frankenstein meets the creature who leads him to an ice cave.  The narration passes to the creature who tells the story of what happened to him after he left Frankenstein’s apartment.

The creature wanders in the woods until he finds shelter in a shed attached to a farm cottage.  He learns to speak and read French by watching and listening through a knot hole in the shed where he observes the family in the cottage.  He also learns empathy, kindness and love.  The creature is innocent until he finds books in the woods and learns about man’s history of war and violence against his fellow man.  When the creature tries to make face-to-face contact with the family, they are horrified by his looks and beat him and flee the cottage.  The creature is filled with anger, bitterness and revenge.  He burns the cottage to the ground and strikes out to find his creator, Victor Frankenstein.  When he learns that the little boy he meets in the woods is William Frankenstein, he strangles him to death, steals a pendant from around the boy’s neck and plants it on Justine whom he finds sleeping in a barn.  The creature demands that Frankenstein make a female creature to be his wife.  If he has a wife, the creature promises to go away to South America.

The narration passes back to Victor Frankenstein who agrees to create a female to get rid of the creature.  Frankenstein goes to England accompanied by his friend Henry. He and Henry go on separate tours, agreeing to reunite in a few months.  Frankenstein sets up a laboratory on one of the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland where he works on creating a female creature.  The creature has followed him to Scotland and spies on him in the lab.  Frankenstein decides he can’t go through with the project.  He loads the half-created female in a boat and rows out to sea.  He dumps the female parts in the ocean and rows to land in Ireland.  The creature takes revenge by strangling Henry on the beach in Ireland.  When Frankenstein goes ashore he is arrested and jailed for the murder of Henry.  With moral support from his father Frankenstein endures an investigation where witnesses confirm at a hearing that Frankenstein was not in the area where Henry’s body was found.  Frankenstein is cleared of all charges.  After he and his father return to Switzerland, Frankenstein decides to marry Elizabeth.  They wed and leave for a honeymoon in Italy.  On her wedding night, Elizabeth is murdered by the creature.  Frankenstein then sets out to kill the creature.   He chases him over Europe and finally to the North Pole. 

Robert Walton takes over the narration.  He tells how Frankenstein dies and the creature boards the ship and stands over the body of his creator asking for Victor to pardon him for his crimes.  The creature admits to Walton that he is a wretch who has destroyed “the lovely and the helpless.”  The creature says, “Farewell, Frankenstein,” and tells Walton he plans to set himself on fire.  The creature jumps out the cabin window onto an ice floe that carries him away into the darkness.

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