Friday, February 26, 2010
Close Reading Questions for Shelley's Frankenstein, pp.19-71
Answer TWO of the following...
1. Carefully read Shelley’s 1831 Introduction to Frankenstein: how is she positioning the story for her post-Gothic readership (as the Gothic craze by this time had more or less died out)? Also, how might she playing into the conventions of Gothic prefaces written by Walpole and Coleridge?
2. Why do you think Shelley opens the novel with the letters (and story) of Walton, the Arctic explorer? What might he—and the epistolary form—add to the work from the Gothic or the novelistic point of view?
3. The young Victor becomes enamored with the writings of Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Magnus, all of whom sought “the raising of ghosts or devils” (47). Why do the Enlightenment figures in the text (his father, his teachers) scorn these books, and what role do they play in his ultimate decision to create life?
4. How might the nightmare Victor has in the beginning of Chapter V reflect on his own psychology in creating the Creature? What might the dream “see” that he cannot—or refuses to witness?