Notes on Chapters 4-6 of Frankenstein
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Reading Guide for Frankenstein Dear student: the answers to these questions should be based on YOUR experience with reading the novel: not your friend’s, not your older sibling’s, not any internet source. The answers should be written in your own words, not repeated from the book. We expect you to do your best in understanding what is going on. If you run into trouble, ask or e-mail your teacher with your questions or concerns. “I don’t get it” is not a specific concern. “I don’t get why the narrator is so fixated on the snow and ice” is a specific concern. Letter 1: 1. Who writes this letter? To whom is he writing? 2. Why is he in St. Petersburgh? How does he feel about being there? 3. What has he been doing for the past 6 years? Letter 2: 4. What does the letter-writer desire most of all? 5. Why does he respect the lieutenant (also referred to as master) so much? 6. How is the letter-writer’s view of the ocean typical of the Romantic period? Letter 3: 7. How does he feel about the newly-undertaken voyage? Letter 4: 8. What is the strange sight that the crew sees on the ice? 9. What do they pick up from the ice? What state is he in? 10. Why does the stranger say he was out on the ice in the first place? 11. As the letter-writer talks to his guest, the stranger finally says, “Unhappy man! Do you share my madness?” What had the writer just been discussing that might be this “madness”? 12. Why does the letter-writer admire the stranger? 13. Why does the stranger agree to tell his story? Chapter 1: 14. Describe how Victor Frankenstein’s parents met. 15. How did he get to have a sister? What is her name? How does he describe their relationship? Chapter 2: 16. Where were the children brought up? 17. Describe Henry Clerval. 18. What does Victor love to read when he is young? Why does he love them? 19. What does Victor witness that turns him from his previous studies? Why might he refer to this moment as “a strong effort of the spirit of good”? Chapter 3: 20. What was a defining moment for the Frankenstein family? What was its cause? 21. Why does Victor leave? Where does he go? 22. What does M. Krempe give to Victor? 23. What does the chemistry professor, M. Waldman, explain to Victor in class that inspires him to return to his previous studies? Chapter 4: 1. What scientific question does Victor devote himself to? 2. What secret does he discover? 3. How did Victor create his experiment (i.e. what was his plan, what materials did he use, how did he put it together, etc.)? 4. How did he feel about his creation? Chapter 5: 5. When the creation comes to life, what is Victor’s reaction? 6. When is the last time we see the creation? 7. What are the long-lasting effects on Victor? Who takes care of him? Chapter 6 8. Who is Justine? How is she described? 9. What do we learn about Victor’s two brothers: names, ages, personalities? 10. How do Victor’s professors treat him? Why does he react to them as he does? 11. What are Victor’s last memories of Ingolstadt? How might they be considered Romantic? Chapter 7 1. Why did Elizabeth blame herself for William’s death? 2. What makes Victor suspect his creation is the murderer? 3. How did Justine get blamed for the murder? Chapter 8 4. Why does Elizabeth’s testimony in favor of Justine backfire? 5. Describe Frankenstein’s feelings and reaction at the trial. 6. Why did Justine confess? Chapter 9 7. How is the house in Belrive different from the house in Geneva? 8. How does Victor try to escape to deal with his grief? Chapter 10: 1. Where is Victor headed, and what does he feel when he finally arrives? 2. Whom does he meet there? 3. How does this individual feel about himself? About Victor? 4. There is irony in this individual’s comments to Victor. Give one example of irony and explain why it is ironic. Chapter 11: 5. Give a short summary, in your own words, of the creation’s first few days. What is the one object he can distinguish? 6. How do others react toward him? 7. What sorts of things is he learning? Does this surprise you? What does he learn that you might take for granted? 8. Where does he finally end up? Describe the setting. 9. Who lives nearby? Describe these new characters briefly. Chapter 12: 10. Name two things that surprise the creation about the people nearby. 11. What does he begin to learn from them? 12. How does he feel about them? Explain why he feels as he does. Chapter 13: 13. Who arrives to the cottage? How does her stay indirectly help the creation? 14. How does the creation begin to feel about himself, given what he has learned and is learning from the people nearby? Chapter 14 1. Who is Safie’s father? 2. How did the De Lacey family end up in the cottage? What events led to their exile? Chapter 15 3. What are the books that the creation finds? How does each affect him? 4. How is the creation like Adam? How he is different from Adam? 5. What is the significance of the papers that the creation finds in his clothing? 6. What happens when the creation reveals himself to the cottagers? Chapter 16 7. Who, from Paradise Lost, does the creation now identify with? 8. What happens to the cottage? 9. What was the creation’s act of kindness? How was it rewarded? 10. Why does the creation kill William? How does he get away with it? 11. What is the creation’s demand to Victor? Chapter 17 12. How does the narrator and point-of-view shift at the beginning of this chapter? 13. If Victor fulfills the creation’s demand, what does the creation promise he will do? 14. At the end of this chapter, what does Victor decide to do about the problem? Chapter 18 1. What does Victor’s father propose to his son? 2. Describe Victor’s new plans for travel. Why does he need to go to that destination? Who goes with him? 3. What word does Victor use several times to describe his position in relation to his creation? Is it a position of power? 4. Contrast Henry’s reaction to the natural world to Victor’s reaction. Why are the reactions different? Chapter 19 5. While in London, what can’t Victor stand? 6. Where is their final destination? How does Victor get Henry to leave? 7. Where does Victor set up shop? What is his end goal? Chapter 20 8. What momentous decision does Victor make in this chapter? What reasons lead him to this decision? 9. What threat does the creation make to Victor? 10. What does Victor need to do before he leaves? 11. Describe the problem that Victor faces after he completes his mission. 12. How do the townspeople receive him? Why? Ch. 21 1. What was the only evidence of murder on the body? 2. Why was Victor a suspect? 3. Who is the murder victim? 4. In what physical/mental state did Victor pass his months in prison? 5. Who comes to visit Victor? Who did Victor initially think it was? 6. What evidence set Victor free? Ch. 22 7. Why does Victor now “abhor the face of man”? 8. Why does Victor’s father think he is mad? 9. What does Elizabeth say that she fears in her letter? 10. What words continue to haunt Victor? 11. What precautions did Victor take as his wedding approached? Ch. 23 12. What happens to Elizabeth? How does Victor react? 13. What does Victor tell the magistrate? 14. What is the magistrate’s response? Chapter 24: 1. What becomes Victor’s sole purpose for living? 2. In order to accomplish this task, what does he have to do? 3. How does the creation “scoff” at him? 4. How does Victor’s story bring us full-circle—how did he get to be where Walton first met him? 5. What does he ask of Walton? What does he think of the creation? Is it an accurate portrayal of the creation? Walton, in continuation: 6. Why does Walton believe Victor’s story? 7. What is the bitter irony of Victor’s life, as he describes to Walton? 8. How does Victor help Walton during the crisis aboard ship? What is the end result for Walton, and how does he feel about it? 9. Some of Victor’s last words to Walton are: “In a fit of enthusiastic madness I created a rational creature, and was bound towards him, to assure, as far as was in my power, his happiness and well-being. That was my duty; but there was another still paramount to that. My duties towards the beings of my own species had greater claims on my attention…Urged by this view, I refused, and I did right in refusing, to create a companion for the first creature” (204). Do you agree with Victor’s assessment of his behavior and of his duties? Why or why not? 10. What does the creation say to Walton about his attitude toward his previous violent actions? Does he excuse his actions, or take responsibility for them? What are his reasons for doing as he has done? 11. What is the creation’s plan?