Frankenstein: Writing!

“Students learn most avidly and have their best ideas when

they get to choose which questions to explore

- Alfie Kohn, Schools Our Children Deserve

One part of our revolutionary unit is the freedom that you will have to choose what, how, and how long you write. Use your notes to your advantage, shape your mini-presentations for Ed Cafes to help you write, and dig deep to the questions that interest you -

Some ground rules:

- 8 pages total

- ‘process’ means you must have an edited rough draft and some sort of ‘idea development’ (outline, etc)

- one paper can be creative, but it must have accompanying Author’s Statement explaining intentions etc. (Artist’s Statement does not count toward page count). Final papers as creative papers must be approved by me by December 9th  

Feedback from various audiences:

- one paper must be peer edited (with complete peer edit sheet)

- one paper must be self edited (with significant ‘re-visioning’ evidenced on rough draft and in final)

- one paper must be conferenced with me (I am really excited about this requirement!)


Potential Prompts

Is Victor Frankenstein the real monster in Frankenstein? Look at his obsession with physical ugliness, irrationality, selfishness, asocial tendencies, asexual nature, overly-passionate quality, lack of empathy, dereliction of filial duties. Consider his words, deeds, and reputation as you collect your evidence.

Collect evidence in the novel of the humanity rather than the monstrousness of the Creature. Write on that, or compare/contrast with evidence about Victor to explore their relationship.

Pull up an e-text version of Frankenstein. Use the ‘Search’ function to explore use of specific words in the text. For example: ‘fiend’ ‘monster’ ‘devil’ ‘wretch’ ‘creature’ - after searching, find patterns within the instances the word was used, who used it, and to whom it applies. These patterns will help you shape a thesis. An extension of this would to be explore the role of religion in the novel (God, creator, daemon, devil, angel, salvation, etc) and construct a thesis and write a paper about the role of religion or religious references in Frankenstein.

(Creative) The Creature reads Victor’s diary fo the creation of the Creature himself, This is an extremely interesting moment in the novel, but Mary Shelley does not provide us with contents or even an excerpt from Victor’s actual diary - recreate Victor’s diary of the creation of the Creature (make sure to write in the style of Victor - vocabulary choice, garmmar, diction, tone, syntax, etc and accurately reflect Victor’s character - ideas, attitudes, beliefs, etc).

(Creative) Safie’s letters are missing. So are Felix’s letters. Use the guidelines above to write these letters.

Texts that inform Frankenstein (read and write to compare/contrast)

  1. Mary Shelley’s Journals
  2. Shekespeare’s The Tempest
  3. Works by Percy Shelley
  4. Laurie Sheck’s A Monster’s Notes

Looking at the novel through a ‘lens’ can highlight various elements and give a different perspective to understanding the characters, events, and even meaning. Some lenses to consider:

Patterns to note:

- rebirth

- symbolism of weather

- space between

- city/country

- fire/water

- solitude

- society - overall, groups of people

- family

- when do roles of Victor and monster change

- nature

- corruption (mental and physical)

- logic - if/then