Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Influences and Literary Elements

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Influences and Literary Elements

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Influences and Literary Elements

What do you already know about… �The character named “Frankenstein”? �The way the monster

What do you already know about… �The character named “Frankenstein”? �The way the monster was created? �The way the monster looks?

Think about this… �Can you sympathize with people who get frustrated with or even

Think about this… �Can you sympathize with people who get frustrated with or even give up their children because they have physical or mental handicaps?

Think about this… �What can happen to a person in the long run if

Think about this… �What can happen to a person in the long run if he/she doesn’t have consistent support from a parent early on in life?

Influences on Frankenstein �Mary Shelley had radical parents (a feminist and a philosopher) who

Influences on Frankenstein �Mary Shelley had radical parents (a feminist and a philosopher) who didn’t believe in marriage and lived separately �Mother died 11 days after Mary’s birth �Mary ran off with married poet Percy Shelley as a teenager �Percy’s pregnant wife drowned herself Mary Wollestonecraft Shelley �Mary and Percy had a number of children who died in infancy or were miscarried �Apprehension of giving birth runs through novel

Influences on Frankenstein �Mary and Percy spent a rainy vacation in Switzerland �To pass

Influences on Frankenstein �Mary and Percy spent a rainy vacation in Switzerland �To pass the time, Lord Byron suggested a ghost story contest �Mary literally dreamt up the story of Frankenstein for her entry �Mary named Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner as a major influence �She was only 19 when she finished the novel. Switzerland, one setting of Frankenstein

Influences on Frankenstein �Prometheus of Greek myth �Stole fire from Zeus and gave it

Influences on Frankenstein �Prometheus of Greek myth �Stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals. �Zeus punished him by binding him to a rock for an eagle eat his liver every day. �Story implies that Prometheus overreached the boundaries of human knowledge. �Frankenstein is subtitled The Modern Prometheus. Trace this idea throughout the novel!

Characteristics of Romanticism �Valuing sensitivity and feelings over intellectualism �Valuing the wisdom of people

Characteristics of Romanticism �Valuing sensitivity and feelings over intellectualism �Valuing the wisdom of people who might not be well- educated or sophisticated �Appreciating people for being unconventional and unique �Maintaining childlike curiosity and spontaneity �Maintaining a strong connection with nature �Considering science and technology dangerous Mary and Percy Shelley were well-entrenched in the Romantic movement. Examine how Shelley incorporates these elements in the novel.

Frankenstein – Gothic Novel Characteristics � Dark, creepy settings � Castles, graveyards, old houses

Frankenstein – Gothic Novel Characteristics � Dark, creepy settings � Castles, graveyards, old houses � Atmosphere of mystery and suspense � Novel overshadowed by a threatening feeling, and/or a fear of the unknown. �Omens and visions � Phenomenon can be seen as a portent of coming events.

Frankenstein – Gothic Novel Characteristics �Supernatural or inexplicable events �Fantastic, dramatic events, such as

Frankenstein – Gothic Novel Characteristics �Supernatural or inexplicable events �Fantastic, dramatic events, such as ghosts appearing, giants walking, or inanimate objects coming to life. �High, “overwrought” emotion �Characters experience feeling of impending doom, and suffer from “raw nerves. ” Crying, emotional speeches, breathlessness and panic are all common.

Frankenstein – Gothic Novel Characteristics �Women in distress � Female characters find themselves fainting,

Frankenstein – Gothic Novel Characteristics �Women in distress � Female characters find themselves fainting, terrified, screaming, and/or sobbing as an appeal to the pathos and sympathy of the reader. �Women threatened by a powerful, impulsive, tyrannical male � Often categorized as Byronic heroes

Other Notes �Novel’s frame tale: Walton, an explorer, is telling the story of Victor

Other Notes �Novel’s frame tale: Walton, an explorer, is telling the story of Victor Frankenstein through letters to his sister (then Victor fills in). �Scientific exploration of the day also inspired the writing. Galvanism �Galvanism (reanimating bodies with electricity) �Polar expeditions �“Frankenstein” is the name of the man who made the monster. The monster is known only as “the creature. ” The creature is not green!

Robert Walton’s narrative (written in letters to his sister, Margaret Saville) Frankenstein’s narrative (told

Robert Walton’s narrative (written in letters to his sister, Margaret Saville) Frankenstein’s narrative (told to Robert Walton) The creature’s narrative (told to Victor Frankenstein)