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Flashcards in Frankenstein Deck (66):

Who were the four writers involved in the infamous "ghost story" contest out of which Frankenstein emerged?

Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, Byron, John Polidori (The Vampyre)


When was Frankenstein written? Where was Frankenstein written?

1816; Geneva


Who are Mary Shelley's parents?

William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft


When was Frankenstein published?



What are some of the major intellectual questions Frankenstein engages with?

- Should there be limits to scientific inquiry?

- What's the relationship between human rationality and human emotion?

- What's the role of the individual in relation to society, or to the family?


What is the framing narrative of the novel?

Captain Robert Walton is attempting to make a voyage to the North Pole. The novel opens with letters he is sending his sister home from Russia.


What strange sight does Walton see on the ice?

He sees a sled being pulled by some dogs in the mist. The figure riding the sled is large and mysterious.


How does Walton come to meet Victor?

The morning after Walton and his crew see the first sled, they find Victor on another, very weak, and take him aboard the ship.


Where is Victor's family from?

Geneva, the same place Shelley first conceived Frankenstein.


What is the name of Victor's intended, and how did she come to be a part of his household?

Elizabeth Lavenza

She is Victor's cousin. After his aunt died, his uncle remarried, and asked Victor's parents to look out for their child.


What are the names of Victor's parents?

Alphonse and Caroline


What is a major character difference between the 1818 and 1831 editions of Frankenstein?

Victor takes more responsibility for his actions in the later edition.


Who is Victor's best friend?

Henry Clerval


What science is Victor first drawn to? How is he received at university?

Alchemy, especially that of Albertus Magnus (ancient Roman author).

He is essentially laughed at - this is a new scientific age, and chemistry is all the rage.


What university does Victor attend?



What does Victor's mother tell him on her deathbed?

That she wants him to marry Elizabeth


Which two professors at Ingolstadt encourage Victor's interest in science?

M. Krempe, who totally rags on alchemy in a mean way, and Waldman, who more kindly encourages Victor's interest in chemistry.


What was another name for science in the period?

"Natural philosophy"


What sight excited Victor to the power of electricity?

A tree getting struck by lightening


How long does it take Victor to master modern science?

Two years of intense study, during which he does not return home to Geneva.


What keeps Victor from returning home after his first two years at Ingolstadt?

He becomes obsessed with the question of what animates life.

He gets involved in some pretty dark stuff, including grave robbing to support his interests.


In what month does Victor finally have success at creating life?



What nightmare does Victor have the night after his success in creating the monster?

He dreams he sees Elizabeth walking in the streets of Ingolstadt, but when he kisses her, she turns into the dead corpse of his mother.


What Shelley poem is referenced in this book? Why is this strange?

Mutability; The book purports to take place in the 1700s, when the poem would not have been written.


Who does Victor meet when he flees from his apartment because of the horror of the monster?

Henry Clerval


What happens in the months after Victor's "success"?

He falls into a fever; Clerval nurses him.


Of who does Elizabeth write in the letters Clerval gives to Victor?

Justine Moritz


How does Justine Moritz come to work for the Frankenstein family?

She is sent to the family as a child because her mother doesn't really like her, and she nursed Victor's mother during her illness.


What did Clerval study at Ingolstadt?



What are the names of Victor's younger brothers?

Ernest and William


Who is suspected of William's murder? Why?

Justine Moritz; a valuable miniature William was wearing was found in her pocket.


From whom did William get the miniature he was wearing when he was murdered?



When does Victor first suspect that the monster killed his brother?

The very evening he arrives home. A violent storm causes him to ponder the question, and then, in a flash of lightning, he is sure he sees the outline of the monster.


How long does Victor spend at Ingolstadt without returning home?

Six years


Where was Justine when the murder occurred?

Visiting an aunt in a nearby town


Why does Justine confess?

To obtain absolution


Where does the Frankenstein family go to try and get away from the grief of William and Justine's death?

Chamounix, a mountain getaway


What happens at Chamounix?

Victor meets the monster while out hiking Mountanvert alone. The monster relates his tale.


What convinces Victor to listen to the Monster's tale?

He begins to feel some responsibility as the monster's creator, and the monster tempts him with the prospect of forever abandoning the world of man.


Describe the monster's first few days of life.

He was bewildered, his body unused to sensations like the sun, cold, or hunger. He could not communicate, and helplessly wandered around trying to survive.


Where does Frankenstein find shelter for the winter?

In a hovel which adjoined a country cottage. Through a small window he was able to watch the happenings of the people who lived there.


How does the monster learn to speak?

From observing and listening to the people inside the cottage


What are the names of the people in the cottage? What is their story?

Agatha, Felix, Father, and Safie

Agatha, Felix, and their Father are the De Lacey family - exiled aristocrats on the wrong side of French politics. Safie is Felix's beloved, who comes to live with them against the wishes of her father (who is partly responsible for their downfall).


What is Safie's religious background?

Her father is Turkish and a Muslim, but her mother was a Christian Arab, and she aligns more with her mother's beliefs.


How does the monster learn to read?

He finds a suitcase full of books, including Paradise Lost and classical texts. He also finds Victor's journal from the months leading up to his creation (it was in the pocket of the coat he took from Victor's lab).


Why does the monster kill William?

He wants to kidnap him, in the hopes that such a young child won't object to his appearance. When William screams, revealing he is related to Frankenstein. When he learns this, the monster wrings his neck.


What is the monster's argument for Victor creating a mate for him?

That Victor is responsible for the miserable existence he leads, and that if there was just one other creature who felt sympathy for his existence, he wouldn't have to be wicked.


Why does Victor need to go to England?

To learn the new scientific knowledge being discovered there; it is necessary for his creation of Frankenstein's wife.


Who accompanies him on his trip to England? How long is it to last?

Clerval; 2 years


What Romantic poets are quoted in this novel?

Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley


Where does Victor propose to finish his work on the monster's wife?

In a hut in the Orkneys (rural Scotland)


Why doesn't Victor complete his work on the monster's wife?

He believes it is morally wrong to unleash another such creature upon the world just to save himself. Though this monster has agreed to leave humans in peace forever, the wife hasn't - and what if they have kids? It's too risky.


What does the monster promise Victor after he destroys the monster's wife?

"I will be with you on your wedding night"


Who is Mr. Kirwin?

The Irish magistrate who presides over Victor's accusation of murder


Why does Victor decide to marry Elizabeth despite the monster's threats?

They are so deeply unhappy from all their family and friends that are dying. He doesn't want Elizabeth to think he doesn't love her.


What happens to Victor's father?

He succumbs to grief soon after Elizabeth dies


What happens when Victor tries to enlist the help of a magistrate?

The magistrate, amazingly enough, believes him, but tells Victor not to hope for much - it seems like the monster will be hard to apprehend. This infuriates Victor, who vows to find and kill the monster on his own.


What happens to Ernest?

He is the only Frankenstein to survive the book.


What does Walton do while listening to Victor's story?

He makes notes, recording Victor's history (ostensibly what we are reading).

Victor makes some corrections, but leaves it largely as it is.


How does Walton's expedition to the North Pole end?

In failure; he is lucky to make it back alive.


What service does Frankenstein render to Walton near the end of the novel? What is its significance?

He speaks forcefully and eloquently against mutiny and the abandonment of the expedition. For a moment, he is the friend Walton wanted him to be, and a vision of the man he could have been. Like his other endeavors, though, it isn't enough to make a difference.


What is the name of Walton's sister?



What happens to Frankenstein?

The monster eventually works his way on board the ship and kills him.


Why does the monster say to Walton that his suffering was greater than Frankenstein's?

Because besides being alone, he had to deal with the remorse and heavy conscious of actually having committed the murders.


What happens to the monster?

He jumps out of the window of the ship, assuring Walton that he will soon die and end this cycle of misery.


What inspired Shelley to write Frankenstein?

According to her, she had a nightmare vision of a monster and its creator. In her Preface to the 1831 edition, she suggests that evening talks about Darwin combined with the spooky atmosphere may have contributed to this vision.