Assignment: Lecture 3 and Concluding Frankenstein

Above, I embedded a video recording of our third lecture, which covers the last part of the Frankenstein lecture, discussion of definitions of Science Fiction, and feedback from you all about SF that you’re currently reading, watching, and playing.

If you need to review any of our past lectures, I created a playlist where I’ll link to all the lecture videos. You can find it here.

Before next week, you should write at least 250 words summarizing the lecture and your reading of Frankenstein. You get to choose what to include in your summary, but what you write should always be focused on what we discuss and what you are reading in the class. I’m evaluating these weekly writing assignments based on best effort. They are meant to help you synthesize ideas from the class while building in regular writing practice.

Also, look at the syllabus for our next readings by H.G. Wells and E.M. Forster. If you need to prioritize your reading, focus on Forster’s “The Machine Stops” first. And, please use Wikipedia, Google Search, YouTube, and other resources to find out about the stories–who wrote them, what they are about, etc.–before you read them. Knowing a little bit about the stories in advance makes it easier to dive into them and think about what they might mean.

Finally, you all gave some great examples of contemporary SF that you’re watching and interested in. Here’s the list that we generated in class with a few more examples that I thought of based on individual conversations with students in the class:

Blade Runner
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Ex Machina
Cloud Atlas
The Three Body Problem
The 100
Black Mirror
The Twlight Zone
The Fifth Element
Mass Effect
Blue Gender
Final Fantasy VII
Altered Carbon
The Expanse
Janelle Monáe
Sun Ra

19 thoughts on “Assignment: Lecture 3 and Concluding Frankenstein”

  1. Various definitions of science fiction by major contributors to the craft were discussed in order to calibrate our understanding around what exactly SF is. Some major contributors / important figures discussed included John W. Campbell Jr. (Editor of “Astounding SF,” which is now “Analog”), who thought of SF as a predictive and forward-looking genre that focuses on how new technology affects people, Rod Sterling (of The Twilight Zone), who described SF as the impossible made possible, and Hugo Gernsback, an inventor, writer and editor who provided the first definition of SF (or “scientification”), imagining SF as a useful vision of the future; fiction but prophetic to real life. The class traded their must-see/read/play list of essential SF works.
    After finishing the third volume of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the class discussed the final chapters of the plot of the story, the underlying themes present and what stood out to us. Running through the whole of the novel were themes of abandonment, hubris and the callousness of human beings.
    Victor Frankenstein, considering himself incapable of caring for the creature that he’s created, literally abandons the creature in the house where he’s created. Throughout the novel, it seems like Victor is constantly on-the-run in one way or another: off to school in Bavaria and away from his family in Switzerland, then into a temporary frenzy while he avoids the monster in Ingolstadt , then what he believes is away from the monster as he returns home to Geneva, then on a solo-mission of sorts in Scotland and Ireland where he ditches Clerval to attempt to create a mate for the creature, then eventually on-the-run in chase of his creation (to kill it). Victor is plagued by a hubris and lack of commitment that lead him to make thoughtless decisions informed by his capabilities and instincts while also taking fickle and temperamental positions on whether the creature is his friend or enemy, whether or not he should create another, and whether or not he should take any kind of responsibility for his creation or simply pretend it never happened. We see that Frankenstein ultimately takes a very firm position that leads him to dedicate his remaining life to destroying his creation. However, it is not before all of his loved ones are killed or ruined directly or indirectly by the creature.
    Hubris, as was a common theme to many ancient, foundational stories (Icarus, Prometheus, etc.), is central to the story of Frankenstein also, and Shelley’s message was clear: those with a reckless will, who place themselves at the center of the expense of their energies, will eventually end in sadness and ruin. The creature, a literal entity in the novel, but potentially also a metaphor for the realization of one’s hubris, took everything from his creator, who in a focused concern on “saving his own skin” traded the lives of those around him. Finally, the book shows the callous superficiality of the world that we live in. The creature, a kind, curious and generally gentle soul before his emotional turmoil peaks, is shunned and feared by all those who encounter him – because of the way he looks. His own creator can’t stand to be in his presence, and even a blind man becomes hesitant and fearful after shaking the creatures hand and understanding what “it” is. In the story of the creature, we see what can become of those people who are marginalized from society instead of being taken in. The creature in that way shares a longing that one might identify in some of those who commit random acts of violence in modern times.
    Upon the death of his creator, it is made clear that the creature is not sadistic or violent in his permanent nature. He mourns his creator and laments the way things turned out in the end. Ultimately, it seems that every major character in the book wishes that things had turned out differently.

  2. During our lecture, we went back and finished up our retelling of the “Frankenstien” story and then moved unto giving out some examples of what types of science fiction media there is and some recommendations on what we could watch in order to help us have a small idea of what we can write about for our final essay. Out of all the examples and recommendations given to us during our lecture, I’ve heard of about 5 or 6 of those given. I don’t watch anime, I’m not really a huge fan of that genre, but I’ve heard about “Ex Machina ” and “Akira” because they’re such huge pieces of fiction that it’s actually all over the internet. An example that I had in my head while we were discussing ideas was a pretty obvious one, but I did not bring it up as a recommendation because I assumed everyone has seen it already, which is “Jurassic Park”. Both the book and films have examples of science fiction, using science as a way to solve a problem that could possibly in our real life. But, contrary to “Jurassic Park”, one example I was also going to say was “Godzilla”. I really feel like the newer films are great examples of science fiction, but just the entire idea of “Godzilla”, as in how he was created and what he stands for is a well written and established piece of science fiction.

  3. It wasn’t until I was a few pages into the machine stops that I realized it had been written in NINETEEN OH NINE… The technology that EM Forster describes the two main characters using to speak to one another is SO eerily similar to what we now know as FaceTime or any other video messaging app. I want to put myself in this man’s shoes and figure out how he had come up with the idea over 100 hundreds years ago!! What an imagination he must’ve had if you think about it. It makes me wonder if we’ve been modeling systems over what Forester had come up with in his short story..I guess no idea is original.

    Another thought that struck when reading this was that Vashti’s relationship with her son, Kuno reminded me of our generations interacting now. Similar to how Greta Thunberg has come forth to speak in front of an older generation about how she, a 12 year old kid, is appalled at the lack of effort being put into saving our planet. Vashti didn’t quite understand why Kuno would ever want things to change. She was very much stuck in the ways of which she grew up with.

    Lastly, I loved that forester used astrology as a way of telling the time of year in the story. There was mention of Scorpio season, which I’m assuming was relating to daylight saving and Kuno was able to tell the sun would set early. There was also mention of retrograde that I might relate to some planetary retrograde.

  4. In this lecture we spoke more about the definition of various definitions of science fiction definitions. Such as scientification which is a combination of a charming adventure story combined with a prophetic vision and scientific knowledge. Extrapolation also plays a part in science fiction. Later about the later chapters of Frankenstein and how the themes of this novel persevere to pop culture nowadays. For our homework we were to read “The Time machine Abridged”, A story written by E.M Forester in 1909 about the use of time travel and a description of what the traveler felt and saw. After stopping he comes across Small four-foot creatures who have not advanced in the arts and sciences. But later learns about the relationship between the new races that inhabit the earth. “The Machine Stops”, another story by E.M Foster, is a story about what happens when the world where the surface of the planet is uninhabitable, and humanity resides underground. Humanity uses the machine and rarely travel to different places

  5. Key points that I noted from the lecture, and re-reviewing the video, were terms defined from the definitions we discussed. After reading Hugo Gernsbacks take on science fiction I liked this word that was defined, scientification, this idea to inspire “scientific fact and prophetic vision.” I also noted from the lecture this idea of parallelism in correlation to John W. Campbell Jr. definition. He makes this connection between science fiction and how it builds theories and predictions to actual science. The next term I dwelt on was the German word that was defined for us, Gedankenexperiment, and that science fiction is a thought experiment. All these ideas confirm why I’m interested in science fiction literature, and how it can assist with future designs. I also enjoyed this idea of extrapolation, and that all science fiction is about the “here and now” as well as a prediction of the future.
    My thoughts at the conclusion of Frankenstein were mainly on this idea of consequence to action. Mary Shelly, and in correlation with our last lecture, seem to be posing this question to modern science. This is an issue that is prevalent with recent medications, and not knowing long term side effects they might have. Also, any new technology that’s discovered, there is always this issue of how it could be used in a negative way. Frankenstein disregards this continually in the story to his and all his loved one’s demise. I thought it was an interesting point from the lecture that the Creator acted as Frankenstein’s Nemesis. This got me thinking as to what might be a Nemesis of modern science, possibly the press?

  6. We began the lecture by talking about the early definitions of science fiction. We learned how different writers had different views of science fiction. The very first definition dates back to 1926 made by Hugo Gernsback, who had a profession in electronics. He was the founder of many magazines that contain advertisements for his products as well as instructions on various electronics. In one of his magazines, “Amazing Stories”, he developed a new genre called ‘Scientifiction’. The idea was to inspire people with stories about the future and new inventions. These stories will not only be an interesting read, but they can be instructive, they can help us learn something. Hugo saw that science fiction can help us imagine as well as progress our future. I thought this was important, because science fiction literature has affected society significantly. It inspired people to pursue careers in different science related fields which has, in turn, resulted in many advancements in technology. A good example of this is the very first portable telephone created by Martin Cooper in 1973. Martin said that his inspiration came from the TV show, Star Trek in 1996. After this subject, we moved on to the final parts of Frankenstein and began to wrap up the story. In conclusion, we discussed the different characters and how they’ve changed throughout the story. The monster has learned a lot since he was brought into the world. His mind started off as a blank slate, and he began to observe and learn things. He learned a language by observing the family through the hole in the wall and how to read from the books he found. The monster that Victor created is the victim, he’s that one that’s been left behind. That being said, Victor is a terrible human being, he did not take responsibility of his actions. He’s basically a bad father who abandoned his child.

  7. After completing Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley I’ve learned to have much more appreciation for this novel than before. This is mainly because I can see the influence Frankenstein has had on SF including some of my favorite SF tales. The book is most effective to me because of Mary Shelley’s writing it is so exaggerated and “in your face”. For example when Victor first exposes the creature the description is so explicit, so harsh Shelley ensures that the reader themselves are disgusted and wants to leave the reader with a bad taste in their mouth. In addition her choice of vocabulary such as

  8. After completing Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley I’ve learned to have much more appreciation for this novel than before. This is mainly because I can see the influence Frankenstein has had on SF including some of my favorite SF tales. The book is most effective to me because of Mary Shelley’s writing it is so exaggerated and “in your face”. For example when Victor first exposes the creature the description is so explicit, so harsh Shelley ensures that the reader themselves are disgusted and wants to leave the reader with a bad taste in their mouth. In addition her choice of vocabulary such as “animated”, “tranquil” and “fortify” are so specific and work in creating the vision for this “hell on earth” life Victor seems to be living. The dialect and the way in which Frankenstein is written also helps the narrative of this story. “You shall” this and “I shall” that along with the creatures intelligence serves for a serious yet almost comical tone. If this dialect or speech rather was spoken in today’s world one would certainly think that the person speaking is from a different era. This is my second time revisiting Frankenstein (last time being in High School 5 years ago) and I am proud to say that it was a pleasant experience. This novel touches on some serious themes such as man playing God, abandonment, the danger of science and curiosity, human limits, trauma, and so much more. It is even more amazing how Mary Shelley’s life is a story of its own surrounded by tragedy and empowerment. During the lecture we discussed our thoughts and feelings based on the book. Many felt the creature was not responsible for his actions, some blamed society and others blamed Victor himself. Personally I feel Victor is at fault and that he is a fool for running away from his problems and failing to prevent tragedies as they took place right before his eyes. The class also shared some of our favorite science fiction including what we are currently watching now. There were some awesome descriptions during class so I am excited to check out some of the works on the list that the Professor provided for us. The Machine stops was to me a creepy SF tale that has a strong correlation to today’s reality. I even had a dream about the story a day after I read it…

  9. In our last lecture class we went over some of the definitions of Science Fiction. Hugo Gernsback had the first published definition of Science Fiction; he called it Scientifiction in his “Amazing Stories” magazine in 1926. We talked about other definition pertaining to Science Fiction like Gadankenexperiment, which is a thought experiment and Extrapolation, which is to extend from, looking forward. Here and now, this is the right now. Science Fiction at its core is always about the time it is written. We wrapped up our discussion by talking g about Frankenstein. Frankenstein was a saturated novel, a critique of the age of enlightenment. Victor was about alchemy and science; he was supposed to be like a parent to his creation instead he abandon the creature. The creature being abandoned, having to hide from the world, having to teach himself how to talk and read, how to be human-like by watching others from afar. Also beginning the reading of “The Machine Stops” the story is set in a time where humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the earth. Everyone live below the surface in individual rooms. Machines have taken over the world; they provide everything that human need. Traveling is permitted and communication is done by instant messaging and video. The two main characters are Vashti and her son Kuno. Kuno lives on the opposite side of the world to his mother, he wants his mother Vashti to come visit him but Vashti is content with the world of machines. She doesn’t want to go visit Kuno, going against the rules of the machines. She eventually makes the trip to Kuno’s room, he than confides in his mother that he has visited the surface of the earth without the permission of the machines and he has seen humans living there outside the world of machines.

  10. At the beginning of our last lecture, we discussed the benefits of proper note-taking and their importance to successfully passing the course. As in previous lectures, the Cornell method was discussed, but we also briefly discussed the Sentence method which involves writing important ideas in complete sentences and then translating them into outline format. We also discussed several definitions of science fiction by various authors of the genre. We then concluded the discussion on Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus that was started several weeks ago.
    The first to define and describe SF or “scientifiction” as he referred to it was Hugo Gernsback, an entrepreneur-inventor and writer. In describing SF Gernsback stated, “By “scientifiction” I mean the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story- a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision… Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading- they are always instructive. They supply knowledge in a very palatable form…New adventures pictured for us in the scientifiction of today are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow… Many great science stories destined to be of historical interest are still to be written…Posterity will point to them as having blazed a new trail, not only in literature and fiction, but progress as well.” Although his quote does not mention Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, his idea that SF can influence the future is supported by her science saturated novel, Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. One such example in Shelley’s book is the concept of galvanism- the use of electricity to stimulate muscle movement- which today is frequently used for physical therapy to strengthen muscles and even to attempt to restart the human heart when necessary. Another example in Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus that supports Gernsback’s idea that the science fiction of today can be realized in the future is the creation of the creature using body parts from different hosts, which at the time was unfathomable, but today is a common practice in organ transplantation surgeries.
    The lecture ended with a discussion of Victor Frankenstein and his irresponsible behavior. Victor irresponsibly created a life that he ultimately abandoned and as a result brought negative consequences upon himself and his loved ones. The creature he created was a blank slate that as a result of Victor’s irresponsible actions and society’s unaccepting ways was driven to commit heinous acts. Shelley’s Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus conveys a strong message of the importance of personal responsibility and compassion and warns of the detrimental effect on society that irresponsible scientific experimentation can have.

  11. In the beginning of the lecture, we discussed the announcements and opportunities that were available to us on Open Lab that were provided by the professor. We were also notified that the Writing Center was back and available at our service. We also discussed the various definitions of science fiction, including definitions from important figures such as John W. Campbell Jr., Rod Sterling, and Hugo Gernsback. Members of the class shared movies, tv shows, books, and so on regarding science fiction with the class that they thought the rest of us should take a look at. We then discussed Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the main character of the story, Victor Frankenstein. Many classmates shared their thoughts regarding Frankenstein and how his actions affected the way we viewed his character. To sum it up, he created a creature, only to abandon it as soon as he gave it life, leaving the creature to fend for himself in the harsh, cold world where he experienced drastic hardships. Everyone in class agreed upon the opinion that Frankenstein was an irresponsible fool and deserved what he got. For a minute, I tried to empathize with Frankenstein. I asked myself, how would I react if I had created a humongous, human-like, and hideous creature that came to life? I would probably scream and run for my life too. But eventually, I would go back to find a solution to whatever problem I think I have. Fear is not justifiable excuse for abandonment. It definitely isn’t a good enough excuse for what Frankenstein did to his creation. The story is a great lesson and demonstration of the effects of your actions and why taking responsibility is so important.

  12. During our last class we discussed early definitions of Science Fiction. Ranging from the German word: Gedakenexperiment (thought experiment), to scientifiction, to inspire people with stories about the future. My favorite definition so far is Rod Serling’s take on SF, sort of as the bridge between fantasy and reality.
    In E.M. Forster’s short story, “The Machine Stops” had taken me by surprise, although I hadn’t read for long, I found that I couldn’t stop turning each page. A story published over a century ago created a narrative that predicted technology that greatly resembles some devices we possess in modern times. The communication device Vashti uses to do with her son, Kuno, is identical to modern video chat. Forester’s own ideas of the future seem alarmingly accurate. With an ever evolving technological world, the idea of the subterranean rooms doesn’t sound far off from current reality. There are already so many methods and tools that reduce the need for one to leave their homes for their basic needs and entertainment. The rooms Forester illustrates perfect this form of being cared for in nearly every aspect of life.
    The one thing that seems limited by this recluse lifestyle is the originality individuals hold, their unique ideas that are to be shared and discussed. Characters seem to, at the very least, rely on information from the past to spark thought for discussion. But there are also characters that go out into the world to achieve their own ideas through experiencing the outer world first-hand. People such as Kuno, who derived an idea from the stars, or Vashti’s colleague, who explored the ocean. It could be argued that new experiences are some of the most viable ways to produce original ideas, aside from using prior knowledge and questioning that knowledge to create new hypotheses, as we also touched on last week.

  13. In our last lecture, we started by discussing the definitions of science fiction. One of the early definitions was Scientification created by Hugo Gernsback. The definition was a charming romance fused with scientific fact and prophetic vision. Also what makes something part of the science fiction category is the level of interest it brings according to Gernsback. Furthermore, we discussed John W. Campbell Jr who was from the golden age of science fiction and one of the most influential science fiction editors of all time. Campbell edited for “Astounding Science Fiction”, a very famous science fiction magazine. Also, the idea of the “here and now” is interesting because it says all science fiction at its core is about the current time that it is written in. That’s very fascinating because many of these science fiction readings and movies have to do with the future but it is basically written on the society currently. Furthermore, we discussed our favorite science fiction pieces that we thought were very underappreciated and would recommend to others. I found this very helpful because I’m not necessarily familiar with the best science fiction movies and books but this activity gave me a glimpse of what I should consider checking out in order to get more comfortable with the popular genre of science fiction. Lastly, we concluded Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by discussing the multiple themes that we identified in the reading and changes that the key characters endured. One theme that was implemented was the rejection from the society that Frankenstein faced that caused him to desire a companion. For homework, we had to read “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster and I found it really intriguing. The idea of a futuristic society that lives underground because Earth is no longer habitable for human life is different. I liked the idea of the Machine having control of humans but at the same time humans having technology do whatever they want at their disposal.

  14. During our last Leccture we analyzed different definitions or ideas of what science Fiction really is or how other Authors interpreted the definition. Science Fiction or referred too as “SF” has a broad and bright scale of what it actually is. the way different Authors or people in the industry describe their own version of what SF is to them and how they think other individuals should view it. really breaks the terminology into a subjective matter and makes room for more arguments/conversations for the current and upcoming generations.

    After finishing up Mary Shelley Frankeinstine one thing that really strikes me is how modernized this story is and how mezmorizing that actually is the fact that this story was published in the 18th century. Mary Shelly broke the barrier in character development and story development the transitions in Frankeinstine feel like it was written last week. the creature in Frankeinstine character development went along with the story the more the story develops the more the creature develops and by the end of the story the creature stands toe to toe with victor his creator as the main focus of the story. Marry Shelley not only created a timeless story but created the bases for SF we know and love today. finally we discussed proper note taking techniques for better development and better understanding of what the topic we are discussing personally I’m a old school type of guy kinda hard to break a habit I’ve been using for 15 plus years.

    1. Our lecture focused on different Science Fiction definitions, as well as our own suggestions for science fiction for each other to seek out. As someone who has never felt a strong connection to the science fiction genre, I took this class wanting to learn more about it. I figured it had a hand in other adajcent genres i’m more familiar with. More interesting to me is that science fiction is more of what I would describe as a culture with it’s own language and community. The many definitions that people come up with shows how the idea of science fiction can be interpreted in many ways and many people. Authors like Mary shelly managed to used the genre to break barriers for women writers and I noticed the list provided by the class crosses mediums, time periods, and countries.

      A work like Frankenstein was made to feel like it could have been written at any time. Shelly was able give the characters the ability to grow and trancend the time period it was written.

  15. The class started with the concept of Science Fiction. And, the pillars that determine what belongs to the genre. The 3 pillars that are fundamental in the genre are the charming romance, the scientific facts of the world that surrounds the author, and the prophetic vision. The third one is the one who stands out before the eyes of the readers. This prophetic vision is where the author extrapolates the science, theories or ideas that are around in the world. The extrapolation can be for the near future or a distant one in the long centuries. Finally, science fiction is always about people being influenced by science and technology.
    John Wood Campbell Jr. one of the greatest editors of science fictions was the next topic. He was the creator of many magazines, one of those magazines that are still on publishing is the Analog science fiction magazine. This fact shows how relevant is his work even nowadays.
    The class has a good list of movies and videogames who based their stories on the science fiction genre. Some of those examples were Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, Ex-Machina, Cloud Atlas, Terminator, The Fifth Element, Starship Troopers, Half-life, Halo and Mass Effect. Those examples build their universes on the possibilities that science fiction offers, the possibilities on this genre are almost limitless.
    In the last segment of the class, we close with the last fragment of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where concepts such as the real monster was human society. And, it wasn’t the creature. How the death that was an outstanding element that impregned the whole narrative. This was a reflection of the life of the author and how death was an element that always be around the people at that time.

  16. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a gothic novel, told through letters between Walton and Victor, telling the story of Victor and the creature.
    Created with a black slate by Victor Frankenstein, the creature attempts to “fit in” in the world. Using his inductive and deductive reasoning with some rationalization he attempts to talk people. After multiple failures, it’s rage at the world brings back to his creator, Victor Frankenstein, demanding it to create another creature like it to serve as its’ mate. Victor creates then destroys the creature’s future mate and flees from it as it kills one of his friends, William. After killing Victor’s wife Elizabeth, it finally tracks down Victor. The creature finds Victor dead, it becomes sorrowful, lamenting over its actions because, it knows that it can never truly be “one of them”. It would only be viewed as a monster walking the Earth. The creature disappears without a trace vowing to kill himself.
    The various definitions of SF by infamous contributors were discussed in order to identify what our definition of SF is/are. J. O. Bailey believed that science fiction I a narrative of imaginary invention or discovery in the natural sciences and consequent adventures and experiences. Hugo Gernsback believed that SF was like the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story. Stories with a charming romance (an adventure story) intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision (a foreshadowed future). Using these definitions it is determined that SF can be many things, but it is rooted to have a theme either telling the world though the character eyes or showing the world if something were to happen.

  17. We finally finished up Frankenstein in this lecture and the impact it had on the world of SF.during this lecture spoke more about the various definitions of science fiction definitions. The very first detention dates all the way back to 1926 made by Hugo Gernsback, whom was the founder of very popular magazines.”sceintiffication” which is a combination of a charming adventure story combined with some sort of scientific knowledge. The stories we had to read were “the time machine Abridged” and “The machine stops”, which is a form of ” realistic Fiction” if you think about it. “A World where the surface of the planet is uninhabitable” something we should look forward too in the next 50 years. Humans have to resorte to living underground to survive. Time machine Abridge is about time travel and the experiences the traveler saw on the journey throughout time.

  18. “I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend” (p. 84)
    -The Monster

    Sometime after abandoning his monster and leaving it to fend for itself, Frankenstein receives a letter from his father informing him that his younger brother William had been strangled to death. Justine, friend, and servant to the Frankenstein family is suspected of committing the crime; however, in his heart, Frankenstein knows that it is his creature who has killed William. The priest that oversaw the obtaining of her confession was berating her with threats of eternal hell fires after death unless she confessed. Ultimately, Justine gives in and falsely confesses to committing the murder because preacher gave her fears of going to hell if she did not. She is executed by hanging later that day.

    Sometime goes by as Frankenstein wallows at the losses of William and Justine until one day as Frankenstein transverses icy mountain peaks and meets his monster. Frankenstein yells hateful things towards his monster and attempts to attack it; however, his monster’s superior strength and speed allows him to easily avoid Frankenstein’s attempts to harm him. The creature convinces Frankenstein to listen to the life that he has lived since his creator had abandoned him.

    The creature reveals to Frankenstein that when the galvanism had shocked him to life, he entered the world with a blank slate of a brain. He had to use reason, observation, and trial and error, to learn how to survive. He was a rational being and any shortcomings that he may have seemed to have stemmed from being denied an education from his creator. After living in the forest and then being run out of a village by people who feared him because of his exterior, the creature found himself hiding and watching a family of refugees as they live their daily lives. Through his observations of the family, he is able to learn how to speak, to read, and to write. In mere months, the creature develops a fully realized intellect. The creature is superior to man in size, speed, and strength and has superior intelligence as well.

    During his time spent hiding and observing, the creature manages to read three important books, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther. Milton’s Paradise Lost retells the biblical story of Genesis, beginning with Satan being cast out of heaven and concluding with Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden. Frankenstein and his monster both reflect similarities and differences to God, Satan, and Adam in different ways throughout the novel. Plutarch’s Parallel Lives is a compilation of 48 biographies of famous men that write about dealing with moral virtues or failings. The book teaches the monster about society, the way men and women live among each other, and the values of what is morally right or wrong. Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther is about a young man named Werther who falls in love with a woman who is engaged to another man. When she goes through with the wedding, Werther feels intense sorrows from the rejection and commits suicide. The book teaches the monster how to feel emotions and causes him to feel the true sting of being rejected by the man who created him. All the books together have an intense impact on the inner thinking of the creature as he begins to truly understand his origin and begins to question his place in society.

    Eventually, the creature begins to think of the family that he is watching unbeknownst to them as his friends even though they had never met. With the newfound realizations he obtained from the books and believing that he had mastered language, the creature decides to try to talk to the refugee family that he had been watching and attempt to gain their acceptance. His attempts fail as the family is horrified by his appearance. One family member faints, the other runs away, and another begins to attack him. The creature escapes the cottage unharmed physically but is emotionally distraught. He vows vengeance on his creator and on mankind. He gets vengeance on the former by killing Frankenstein’s brother William and framing Justine for the murdered making the creature indirectly responsible for her death as well.

    The creature bargains with his creator. He tells Frankenstein that if he builds him a female creature to be his companion, he will disappear with her forever and will never bother humanity again. Frankenstein agrees to his creature’s commands and begins constructing a female monster for his creature to converse with. Upon completing the construction of a female creature but before pulling the galvanizing lever that would shock her to life Frankenstein has a terrifying realization. This new creature would be capable of thinking and learning too and it is impossible to predict what her mind would turn to. “She might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate” (P. 146) Frankenstein fears the possibility of his female creatures’ unknown choices. A greater fear lies in the possibility of his two creatures mating and creating a species of monsters superior to human beings. Deciding that there are too many things that could go wrong by giving this female creature life, Frankenstein decides instead to destroy his work. At which point the male monster angrily threatens Frankenstein saying, “I shall be with you on your wedding night.” (p. 149) and then flees.

    The creature kills Frankenstein’s best friend Clerval and Frankenstein is put on trial for his murder. Frankenstein is eventually found innocent and upon his return to Switzerland he marries Elizabeth; however, immediately after the wedding, the creature murders Frankenstein’s new wife. Frankenstein reflects on the deaths of William, Justine, Clerval, and his wife Elizabeth. He thinks to himself “I am the assassin of those most innocent victims; they died by machinations” (p. 166) Frankenstein’s is a cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific and technological discovery when they are used carelessly.

    Frankenstein vows to destroy his monster and pursues his creature all the way to the Arctic. While traversing the harsh environments of the Arctic, Frankenstein meets Captain Walton who provides him with safety upon his ship. Frankenstein dies while aboard this vessel at which point the creature reveals himself to Captain Walton and laments his creators’ passing. The creature, much like Elizabeth and Mary Shelley, must live with a heavy burden knowing that they are indeed the cause of their creator’s deaths. The creature, overwhelmed with regret, disappears into the dark icy waters of the Arctic vowing to end his own life.

Leave a Reply