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Frankenstein. The Movies Got it WRONG!. Throw out EVERYTHING you think you know about Frankenstein. The monster is not green (that tends to disappoint my students the most for some reason). He’s not incoherent; in fact, he becomes very intelligent and can speak well.

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the movies got it wrong
The Movies Got it WRONG!
  • Throw out EVERYTHING you think you know about Frankenstein.
    • The monster is not green (that tends to disappoint my students the most for some reason).
    • He’s not incoherent; in fact, he becomes very intelligent and can speak well.
    • And, most important, his name is not Frankenstein. Frankenstein is the name of the doctor who creates him.
  • So, basically, if you watch a Frankenstein movie instead of reading the book, you will fail.
it s a frame tale
It’s a Frame Tale
  • A frame tale is a story within a story.
    • Think of any movie you’ve seen where the movie starts at an exciting moment, flashes back to show you how the characters got to that moment, and then completes the story.
    • Think of a picture frame. The “frame” goes around the larger story and holds it in place.
the frame
The Frame
  • So here’s how it works in Frankenstein:
    • This guy (Robert Walton) is sailing in the Arctic and writing letters to his sister back home about his journey.
    • He finds Victor Frankenstein floating about on a piece of ice. Weird!
    • Frankenstein decides to tell Walton his story. Walton writes it all down in the letters.
    • So the “frame” is the letters written by Walton. Those are narrated by Walton. When Walton starts writing down what Frankenstein tells him, the “I” becomes Frankenstein. The meat of the story (the picture inside the frame) is Frankenstein’s story.
here s where it gets fun
Here’s Where It Gets Fun
  • Like Inception with its dreams within dreams, Frankenstein has a story within a story within a story.
  • At one part of the story, Frankenstein meets up with the monster, and the monster tells Frankenstein his story.
  • Then, the “I” becomes the monster, and Walton is writing down what Frankenstein is telling him that the monster said.
  • In case that’s not baffling enough, at one point in his story the monster will tell us some background information on someone he’s watching…which kind of makes it a story within a story within a story within a story.
  • WHOA!
don t be scared
Don’t Be Scared
  • Write this down. It will help later.
  • The letters at the beginning and end of the book (the frame) are written by Robert Walton, who is listening to Frankenstein speak.
  • Chapters 1 – 10 and 17 – 24 are from Frankenstein’s point of view as he tells his story to Walton who writes it down.
  • Chapters 11 – 16 are from the monster’s point of view as he tells his story to Frankenstein who tells it to Walton who writes it down.
a picture
A Picture

Robert Walton



the theme
The Theme
  • Science vs. Nature
  • Victor Frankenstein is a scientist obsessed with discovering the secret to creating life, who sees himself like God and his creation like the Adam who will worship and adore him.
  • In the end, Frankenstein’s hubris, or excessive pride, leads to the creation of a killer monster who will ruin his life.
  • The author, Mary Shelley, wrote this novel just after the Enlightenment.
    • The period of Enlightenment emphasized the importance of reason and the pursuit of knowledge, giving rise to the scientific method.
  • Frankenstein is a critique of Enlightenment and the pursuit of knowledge at any cost.
  • Frankenstein is a Romantic novel.
    • Nope, not the roses and chocolates and moonlit beach type of romantic.
  • Romanticism was a reaction against Enlightenment.
  • It emphasized emotions over reason, and it stressed the importance of respecting nature.
  • Shelley’s character, Victor Frankenstein, demonstrates the destruction nature of science when it tries to undermine nature.
gothic literature
Gothic Literature
  • Frankenstein is also an example of Gothic Literature.
  • Gothic Literature includes mystery, horror, and elements of the supernatural.
  • Gothic works often have a brooding tone and atmosphere.
science fiction
Science Fiction
  • This novel is also considered one of the first examples of science fiction, and it inspired many other authors to write in his genre.
  • Uh, yeah!
  • Think of all the scientific advances going on today: genetic engineering, genetically altered food (which is called Frankenfood, by the way), etc.
  • There is ongoing debate about whether science is progressing too far, about whether we’re undermining nature too much, and about whether we tamper with things that we ought to leave to nature’s design.
    • Hmmm, sounds like a great paper topic. Hint, nudge, shove, wink, poke, kick….
the reading of frankenstein
The Reading of Frankenstein
  • You will read this book independently.
    • It is a difficult read. Mrs. Mehrens’ recommends you search out a good audio book (there’s a link on her website under Internet Resources and there are also apps for this on your iPad).
  • You will discuss the book in class in groups in an activity called a Literature Circle.
    • Go to Mrs. Mehrens’ website now and open the Literature Circle assignment under Class Assignments.
    • Read the assignment as a class.
literature circle due dates
Literature Circle Due Dates
  • Add these to your calendar:
  • October 30/31 (yup, just in time for Halloween):
    • Literature Circle 1
    • Read and have homework ready for the letters through Chapter 5. FYI, Chapter 5 is when the monster comes to life!
  • November 6/7
    • Literature Circle 2
    • Read and have homework ready for Chapters 6 through 10.
literature circle due dates1
Literature Circle Due Dates
  • November 11/12
    • Literature Circle 3
    • Read and have homework ready for Chapters 11 through 16.
  • November 13/14
    • Literature Circle 4
    • Read and have homework ready for Chapters 17 through 21
  • November 20/21
    • Literature Circle 5
    • Read and have homework ready for Chapter 22 – end