General Topics to Consider:
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.
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.
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.
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
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 may be found on pages 68 and 70 and on pages 125-27. 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?" (90), in light of the fact that he is lying.
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 on pages 168-72, especially the creature's statement: "I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse" (169), and later, "I demand a creature of another sex, but as hideous as myself" (170).
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.
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 in the novel?
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.