Frankenstein Application

Option #1: Can science go too far?
There is an ongoing battle between faith or spirituality and science that has been active even
before the time of Mary Shelley. What are some of the dilemmas she addresses that are still
important today? What are some of the ethical questions she brings up regarding the
scientific definition of life and death? What does she illustrate about the power science has
to blur the line between life and death? What is a current news item that is similar to this
issue?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address ethical issues of science and/or faith for audiences, regardless
of when they read the novel?”
Option #2: Discovery
Both Frankenstein and Walton are trying to discover something important to them. What
parts of their real lives drive them to discovery? Does that drive still exist today? While we’ve
mapped the globe, are there still geographical places for people to explore? In science, are
people still trying to discover the meaning of life, how to save life, and how to defeat death?
What methods do they use? Are there better ways to accomplish these goals than others?
What are some of today’s motivations for discovery?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address human discovery as a theme?”
Option #3: World Perception and Prejudice
Reread the paragraph where the creature describes the book from which Felix teaches Safie.
It begins: “The book from which Felix instructed Safie was Volney’s Ruins of Empires…”
What are some of the perceptions and prejudices from the book that Felix teaches Safie?
How have these perceptions and prejudices changed, if they have, in today’s society? What
are some present day situations and references that may claim a lack of prejudice or an
open-mindedness, but, in fact, are still very prejudiced, racist, sexist, etc.? Why do you think
these situations still happen? Can anything be done about it?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address human prejudice in the world throughout time?”
Option #4: Personal Perception
It could be argued that the creature did not consider itself a monster and didn’t do awful
things until people treated him like a monster. What are some real world instances in which
people’s actions could be a reaction to abuse from others? Who do you feel is accountable in
these situations? Why?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address the effect of peer perceptions on personal development?”
Option #5: Death and Suicide
At the end of the book, the creature promises to destroy himself. Is this a justifiable end for
him? Could he have been redeemed? Would he have had a place in the world of Shelley’s
novel? How could this relate to current-day issues like suicide or the death penalty?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address the value of an individual’s life and death?”
Option #6: Nature vs. Nurture
The creature argues that had someone properly guided him, he would not have been so
wretched. Frankenstein4 argues that the creature was evil to begin with, so it would have
been useless to teach him at all. What are some current debates – especially in education –
where these kinds of arguments still arise? How much of behavior do you think is based on
nature (how a person IS) and how much is based on nurture (what a person LEARNS or
EXPERIENCES)? What examples from the present support your opinion? What do you feel is
the truth? Why?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address existing personality traits versus how a person is taught to
act?”
Option #7: Feminism
The feminist perspective is often explored in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. How are the
women characters treated in the novel? What perceptions of women did Shelley use and
comment on? How did she handle the theme of motherhood?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley incorporate responses to feminist issues into the novel, Frankenstein?”
The guidelines for this assignment are as follows:

4
It is a common misperception that the creature is named Frankenstein. Keep in mind that the creature itself is not
Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein is the human protagonist in the novel. The creature, or monster, is Victor’s
creation.

Sample Solution

ACED ESSAYS