Frankenstein Paper Topics
(Minimum 800 Words)

For this assignment, you write a well-developed essay with a clearly stated thesis that is supported using direct quotes from the novel. 
You will also use quotes from two (2) critical essays to support your argument, but will not simply summarize their arguments.

General Topics to Consider:

Potential questions to respond to (and potentially useful sources):

1.  Explain the significance of the dream Victor has the night that he succeeds in bringing life to his creation. Explain the symbolism of the images involved  in terms of the themes presented in the work as a whole.  You should incorporate discussion of Victor's view of and relationship to Family, Women, and Sexuality in your discussion, using quotes from other parts of the novel to support your discussion. (Poovey , Cottom ,Winnett) (Helpful Link)

2.  The word "doppelganger" was used repeatedly in our discussion.  Explain the degree to which both Clerval and the Creature can be seen as doppelgangers for Victor, discussing such issues as relationship to Nature, relationship to Women, and view of Self in your discussion.  Be sure to include quotes from Victor that describe his view of the similarities between himself and each of the other two figures. (Levine, Gilbert & Gubar, Mellor) (Helpful Link)

3.  Describe the criminal justice system(s) presented in this novel, using the three examples of William's murder, Clerval's murder, and Elizabeth's murder, as well as the official responses to these acts, in your discussion.  Is the system/are the systems fair? Do all crimes get investigated in the same way?  Do some people receive preferential treatment? If so, who? What characteristics determine the treatment the different suspects receive?  Incorporate your responses to these questions into a smooth discussion.  Do not just answer the questions in order.  Make sure to include quotes describing each of these situations. (Sayres , Wake , Vincent )

4.  An important concept that we discussed was the relationship between appearance and reality. Describe what this relationship is, using the examples of three different characters, including Victor, the Creature, and one other figure.  Are these figures always "what they seem"? What factors contribute to the distinction between appearance and reality?  Incorporate your responses to these questions into a smooth discussion, using quotes to describe each of the three characters. (Lipking, Dutoit )



5. Explain the similarities and differences with regards to the relationship between Victor and Elizabeth and Safie and Felix.  How does each man view his "partner"?  Look at passages on pages 19, 24-25, and 85-86 for some ideas.
(Winnett , Mellor)

6. Compare the relationships between Victor and his father and that between Victor and his creature.  What are the similarities and differences?  Some important quotes can be found  on pages 22, 25-26, and 67-68.  You may also consider Victor's question to Clerval. "How could you suppose that my first thoughts would not fly towards those dear, dear friends whom I love, and who are so deserving of my love?" (40), in light of the fact that he is lying. (Lipking, Levine, Moers, Gilbert & Gubar)

7.  What are the similarities and differences involved in the comparison between the relationships involving Victor & Elizabeth and the Creature and his potential female mate?  How do Victor and the Creature view their "partners" and their future "married" lives?  Look specifically at the discussion between Victor and the Creature, esp. pages 101-4. (Mellor, Winnett )

8.  In what ways is Frankenstein a gothic novel?  Describe at least  three different characteristics of gothic literature that are exemplified by the novel, being sure to provide extensive examples from the novel to support your claims. (Moers, Gilbert & Gubar)

9. Why does the Creature frame Justine for the murder of William? What does this say about the way he has learned to view women?  What does this say about the criminal justice system and society in general? (Wake , Mellor)

10.  What is the function of solitude in this novel?  Look specifically at Victor and the Creature.  Do they have the same view of solitude? Does it have the same effect on them? Explain. (Mellor, Poovey, Lipking)

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