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Unformatted text preview: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein All-in-one resource from the experts at The Complete Original Work Expert Commentary Notes and Definitions Exclusive Character Map Review Exercises Free online subscription to CliffsNote-A-Day ª tips at cliffsnotes.com CLIFFSCOMPLETE Shelley’s Frankenstein Edited by Dr. Stephen C. Behrendt George Holmes Distinguished Professor of English University of Nebraska-Lincoln Complete Text + Commentary + Glossary Commentary by Anca Munteanu, Ph.D. HUNGRY MINDS, INC. New York, NY • Cleveland, OH • Indianapolis, IN About the Author Anca Munteanu earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and teaches at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. Her expertise is in nineteenth century British literature, with an emphasis on Romanticism. Publisher’s Acknowledgments Editorial Project Editor: Kathleen A. Dobie Acquisitions Editor: Gregory W. Tubach Copy Editor: Mary Fales Illustrator: DD Dowden Editorial Manager: Christine Meloy Beck Special Help: Jennifer Young Production Proofreader: Christine Pingleton Hungry Minds Indianapolis Production Department CliffsComplete™ Shelley’s Frankenstein Published by Hungry Minds, Inc. An International Data Group Company 909 Third Avenue New York, NY 10022 (Hungry Minds Web site) (CliffsNotes Web site) Note: If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as "unsold and destroyed" to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this "stripped book." Copyright © 2001 Hungry Minds, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book, including interior design, cover design, and icons, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher. 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CLIFFSCOMPLETE Shelley’s Frankenstein CONTENTS AT A GLANCE Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Novel Text and Commentaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 CliffsComplete Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213 CliffsComplete Resource Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 CliffsComplete Reading Group Discussion Guide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226 CLIFFSCOMPLETE Shelley’s Frankenstein TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction to Mary Shelley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction to Frankenstein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Character Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Letter 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Letters 2–3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Letter 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Chapter 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Chapter 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Chapter 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Chapter 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Chapter 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Chapter 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Chapter 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Chapter 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Chapters 9–10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Chapter 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Chapter 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Chapter 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 Chapter 14. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Chapter 15. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Chapter 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 Chapter 17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Chapters 18–19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 Chapter 20. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158 Chapter 21. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166 vi CliffsComplete Shelley’s Frankenstein Chapter 22. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176 Chapter 23. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 Chapter 24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192 CliffsComplete Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213 CliffsComplete Resource Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 CliffsComplete Reading Group Discussion Guide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226 Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN INTRODUCTION TO MARY SHELLEY In the introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley presents herself as “the daughter of two persons of distinguished literary celebrity.” She was also the lover and wife of one of the most prominent poets of the second generation of Romantics and the author of the most disturbing novel of the period. In her time, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley was, and continues to be, a subject of enormous interest and fascination. Her life and literary career give insight into a period of radical transformations, many of them generated by the two major revolutions of the period: the Industrial Revolution (1780–1830) and the French Revolution (1789–93). Mary Shelley’s turbulent life and prolific literary career reflect the hopes and disillusions of a complex time of transition. They also reflect the ambiguities inherent in any period— issues that fundamentally question the old order of things and, at the same time, envision revolutionary ways of inaugurating a new social, economic, and political order. As her own words reveal, Mary Shelley’s exquisite parental heritage played an important role in her life and literary career. The revolutionary works and radical ideas of her parents, and the contradictions between these ideas and their personal lives, significantly influenced Mary. Frankenstein is dedicated to her father, and many of the ideas in the novel engage in a very precise and often critical dialogue with Godwin’s Political Justice (including his ideas on rationalism, happiness, technological progress, and moral evil). Between 1814 and 1816, Mary read almost all her mother’s books, and Frankenstein also engages in a profound conversation with Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (on such issues as domestic affection, education, and the dynamics between rational and emotional). Grasping all the implications of Mary Shelley’s novel is difficult without having a sense of her parents’ social, political, and philosophical ideas. Mary Shelley’s Mother, Mary Wollstonecraft A rebellious but sensitive child, Mary Wollstonecraft grew into a daring and independent young woman. At 21 years of age, she declared herself against marriage because she perceived it as nothing more than legalized slavery for women. After her mother’s death, Mary Wollstonecraft left her home and worked as a governess. With the help of Fanny Blood, a close and dear friend, Wollstonecraft set up a school for girls, and in 1786, she wrote her first book, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters, advocating for an educational system to free women intellectually and economically. At age 28, she went to London to become a writer. She wrote a largely autobiographical novel titled Mary: A Fiction (1788) and met the famous liberal publisher Joseph Johnson, who hired her as an editor and introduced her to London’s radical intellectuals. The French Revolution began when Wollstonecraft was 30, and its initial ideals of a new order based on justice, equality, and freedom, made her one of the most ardent supporters of the revolution. In 1790, she wrote Vindication of the Rights of Men in response to a conservative attack on the revolution’s ideology. In the work, she argues for equality and 2 CliffsComplete Frankenstein to England, but finding Imlay living with an another woman, she again attempted suicide, this time jumping into the Thames River. Saved by boatmen, Wollstonecraft remained in a state of depression for several months. Her scandalous affair with Imlay, her out-ofwedlock birth to Fanny, and her suicide attempts all seriously damaged her reputation and her image in the popular press of the time. In April 1796, Mary Wollstonecraft met the radical philosopher William Godwin. They soon became lovers, but being notoriously against the institution of marriage (Godwin often described the affair as one of “property—and the worst of properties.”), lived separately for about a year. Only when Mary became pregnant with their child did they agree to become a family for the child’s sake. Mary and William wed at St. Pancras church in March 1797. The new family then settled at 29, The Polygon, in Somers Town. Mary Wollstonecraft. © Bettmann/CORBIS justice and for the supremacy of reason. Her second political tract, Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), is a passionate defense of the rights of women to equal education. The book expresses Mary’s fundamental belief that all human beings are equal in their capacity to reason. She insists that female inferiority is simply a way for men to justify an abusively secured position of superiority; by perpetuating a female image of weakness and fragility, they could exclude women from higher understanding. The book quickly became one of the most widely read texts of the day and established Wollstonecraft as the prominent feminist thinker of her time. In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft traveled to France, where she fell madly in love with Gilbert Imlay, a handsome American businessman, and later, in 1794, she gave birth to an illegitimate child, a girl—Fanny Imlay. Abandoned by her lover, she attempted suicide but was saved by him, and then she was sent to Scandinavia for business. In September 1795, she returned After Mary died giving birth to their daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, in 1797, her husband published all her private love letters to Gilbert Imlay and to Henry Fuseli, an eccentric Swiss painter with whom she had a complicated affair in 1792. In the introduction, he writes that the collection of letters “may possibly be found to contain the finest example of the language of sentiment and passion ever presented to the world.” Godwin thought that he was paying tribute to her enormous literary talent. However, many readers disagreed; Robert Southey, another poet of the time, rightly observed that the collection “stripp[ed] his dead wife naked.” Godwin’s well-meant but irresponsible gesture amplified the already strong public perception of Mary Wollstonecraft as a depraved woman and an inveterate atheist created by the scandal with Imlay and the two suicide attempts. Her reputation as a serious feminist writer, which was established by the publication of her Vindication in 1792, was significantly injured. Introduction to Mary Shelley 3 Somers Town. Mary Shelley’s Father, William Godwin Educated to serve as a minister, William Godwin renounced the ministry and became the most influential political thinker of his time. His famous book, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793), shocked England and won him the enthusiastic approval of nearly all radical intellectuals of the period. The book’s central argument is that if people were instructed to reject emotion and social sentiments and center their lives on reason, equality, and perfectibility, they would be able to govern themselves. As a result, institutional authorities—nations, organized religions, and customs—would be unnecessary, and any form of government would be superfluous. He maintained that education was a central factor in training men and women to be useful, happy, and virtuous, and in helping them to become independent and self-sufficient individuals. Godwin hated monarchy but opposed revolution as well, regarding it as degrading and antirational. He rejected certain values and dispositions, such as charity and guilt, but encouraged equality, justice and generosity. He also declared that individuals have no inviolable rights, that private property is evil, and that contractual arrangements (such as marriage) are harmful. Individuals should not be selfishly interested in their own benefit and pleasure, but in the general good of the community. He maintained that community— a community based on egalitarian principles, discernment, and equity—is the only source of authentic happiness and moral virtue. True to his philosophical principles, Godwin owned no property; he supported his family largely on money gained from his published work and lived discreetly in the cheap suburb of Somers Town. He was often visited by many loyal disciples, including William Wordsworth, Robert Southey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and his future son-in-law, Percy Shelley, who claimed that he became “a wiser and better man” after reading Godwin’s book. After his wife’s death, however, Godwin’s popularity, impact, and visibility declined considerably. His 4 CliffsComplete Frankenstein exaggerated optimism in man’s perfectibility exposed him to serious personal disappointments, and the publication of his unpopular wife’s love letters damaged not only her reputation—for which he felt inconsolably guilty—but also his book sales and his own public image. With the exception of a few loyal friends, he lived in solitude and became increasingly conservative. Four years after Mary Wollstonecraft’s death, Godwin married Mary Jane Clairmont, but the marriage was somewhat turbulent, largely due to constant financial hardship. Following his new wife’s advice to publish literature for children, Godwin opened the Juvenile Library in 1805, but despite the second Mrs. Godwin’s keen practical sense, money was always insufficient for a large family of seven. Godwin continued to publish novels (some of them very well received), biographies, and political writings, but the family was never financially secure. early passion for reading as a necessary condition for the development of imagination—a faculty that Godwin insisted must be cultivated as early as possible in a child. “Without imagination,” he explained, “there can be no genuine ardour in any pursuit, or any acquisition, and without imagination there can be no genuine morality, no profound feeling of other men’s sorrow.” To excite Mary’s imagination and to reveal to her the magical universe of literature, Godwin advised his daughter to read books that he considered essential for all children’s early education. These books included Mother Goose, Robinson Crusoe, Arabian Nights, and Aesop’s Fables. In 1801, when Mary was four years old, Godwin dismissed Louisa Jones and married Mary Jane Clairmont, a widow and mother of two children. To Mary, who resented her stepmot...
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