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Unformatted text preview: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
A Message on the
Danger in the
Quest for Power Images of
“Frankenstein” 1 2 3 Why is it a Classic?
truths It warns us of
human’s relentless It
Influenced by the Romantic
Period, the scientific inquiry of
her time, and her own life,
Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel,
Frankenstein, presents a clear
message on the irony and
danger in the quest for power. Setting the Stage . . . What influenced Shelley to write
this novel? The Romantic Period The Gothic Novel Scientific Research Her own life The Romantic Period Time of political revolution and new ways of looking
at the world (especially in the light of the French
A time of expression.
Britain was becoming the most powerful nation in
the world. Britain’s prosperity (Industrial Revolution)
eventually created a sense of British righteousness.
Critiqued the single-mindedness of the
Enlightenment period; much more self-conscious.
– “Whereas the Enlightenment period saw man in common,
that is, as creatures endowed with Reason, the Romantics
saw diversity and uniqueness . . . Discover yourself -express yourself, cried the Romantic artist . . . instead of
the motto, "Dare to know!" the Romantics took up the
battle cry, "Dare to be!" The Romantics were rebels and
they knew it” (Kreis). The Gothic Novel Out of the late Romantic social
climate, the Gothic novel grew: “a
new and fearful genre for a new and
fearful time. A crumbling way of life
emerges as a crumbling and
haunted Gothic manor; the loss of
English social identity becomes the
Gothic hero or heroine's search for
identity.” (Ruotolo) The revolutions in America and
France helped developed a culture
of fear present in society and
represented in Gothic literature-*fear of
imprisonment or entrapment,
*fear of rape and personal violation,
*fear of evil triumphing over good and
chaos over order. Gothic
its name from
makes up its
settings. Characteristics of the
Gothic Novel Writing style is filled with: innovation,
spontaneity, freedom of thought and
expression, idealization of nature, etc. A lot of mysterious disappearances as
well as other supernatural occurrences. The main protagonist is usually a
solitary, egocentric character. Nature is used frequently to create
atmosphere. Evoke terror. Show the dark side of human nature. Scientific Research of
the Time In the Victorian period, “[s]cience begins
to dominate public discourse, and even,
according to some writers, partially
displaces religion as a coherent world
view. A[n outcome] of scientific
dominance is the belief that when
science advances, so does human
society: science and progress, in other
words, go hand in hand. Through most
of the Victorian Era . . . science is not so
specialized into isolated disciplines that
the ordinary, well-educated citizen
cannot follow its movements” (Drake). Scientific Research of
The Industrial Revolution led to massive leaps forward in engineering.
Formalization of the study of science at
university; many men focused on the study of
Concept of Electricity and warmth led to the
discovery of the Galvinization process (term for
current electricity produced by Volta's battery
invented in 1799)--key to the animation of life. Scientist Johann Konrad Dippel (1673-1734) a mad
scientist who studied human anatomy. The late 18th century saw a revolution in
Chemistry—change from alchemy to Chemistry
(atomic theory of matter). This new theory
suggested that elements could be put together
to create matter. The Author - Mary
The desire to acquire knowledge and
the intense passion for research and “ the intense passion for research and
study is evident throughout the novel,
Frankenstein and is demonstrated
through the three narrators . . . the
narrators’ quest for new knowledge
and knowledge of origins parallel
Mary Shelley's lifelong scholarly
pursuit and her interest in her own
biological origins due to her birth
causing her mother's death”
< Her Parents:
Writer Percy B.
Shelley Timeline of Mary
Shelley’s Life Aug. 30, 1797 Mary is born to well-known parents: author and feminist Mary
Wollstonecraft and philosopher William Godwin. Mary Wollstonecraft dies
giving birth to Mary. 1813 Mary meets the young poet Percy B. Shelley, a devotee of her father`s
teachings 1816 They go to Geneva, this time spending time with Byron and his friend
Polidori 1816 William is born. 1816 In Geneva, Byron suggests they should all write a ghost story.
Mary begins writing Frankenstein, the only story of the four that was ever
as a novel. 1816 Percy`s wife drowns herself; Percy and Mary marry in December. 1818 Frankenstein
Tragedies after Frankenstein 1819 Mary suffers a nervous breakdown after the death of William. 1819 Percy is born; only child of Mary`s to survive childhood. 1822 Percy Sr. drowns during a sailing trip in the Bay of Spezia. 1822 She has a dangerous miscarriage. 1826 She writes The Last Man, which depicts the end of human civilization. Feb. 1,1851 Mary Shelley dies in London, possibly of a brain tumor.
(“About”) Shelley’s Purpose
As you read the novel, be sure to ask: Given all of these influences on
Shelley’s life, why would she write a
novel like Frankenstein? Is it more
than just a simple ghost story?
Have fun analyzing!!!! Works Cited “About Mary Shelley: Timeline.” Cyber Studios Inc. 2005
< ; 5 Mar. 2005. Drake, Alfred. “Romantic and Victorian Characteristics.” Alfred J Drake. <
cter.htm> 26 Mar. 2005. Kreis, Steven. “Lecture 16: The Romantic Era.” The History Guide. 2000.
< ; 26 Mar. 2005. Ruotolo, Christine. et. al. “The Gothic: Materials for Study.” University of Virginia.
< ; 5 Mar.
2005. Woodbridge, Kim, A. “The Life of Mary Shelley.” Kim Woodbridge 2001.
< ; 26 Mar. 2005 ...
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