Over the next few weeks, we aim to post regularly on the topics covered in lesson. This will help us all with extending our revision, as well as students who are absent or may be from other classes or even schools. This week, our focus is on Frankenstein – here’s an overview of Tuesday’s session.
We started by answering a ‘BIG QUESTION’ based on the novel. We were also prompted to use certain writing techniques to remind us to keep our own language varied and interesting:
We wrote for around 10 minutes and then shared our responses with each other. Each table was asked to identify their best responses. Here they are:
After this starter, Ms Ryan then did a context ‘mini-lecture’ to remind us about the Romantic Literary movement which Shelley belonged to. Here is an overview of their basic beliefs:
- A belief in the individual and emotional experiences of mankind.
- A belief in the power of nature.
- A belief in the corrupt aspects of science, technology and industrialisation.
- Romanticism is in contrast to ‘enlightenment’ where there was a pursuit of reason and rationality – romantics called for more emotion and passion over reason.
We followed up on the lecture by responding to this question:
How is this revealed in the book? GO FOR GOLD: Provide quotations.
Here are some of our responses:
- Victor is a symbol of both the enlightenment movement (in his desire to achieve success in the field of science and discovery) and the Romantic movement (with his frequent, restorative excursions into nature).
- Victor ‘played God’ with disasterous consequences. Shelley was warning society about the dangers of over-ambition or ‘meddling’ with nature and God.
- The monster has many Romantic qualities – also finding solace and comfort in nature.
- Mary Shelley’s own novel has many INTERTEXTUAL links to other Romantic greats – such as Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner.
Ms Ryan has provided these links to help exemplify ROMANTICISM further:
Shmoop – Romanticism VS Enlightenment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyQb3Pn8Fjc
The Romantics – Frankenstein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzrjNTy2glM&t=19s
History of Romantics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiRWBI0JTYQ
We then coverered a major theme – FAMILY and SOCIETY. Ms Ryan provided an extract from the revision website, LitCharts:
In its preface, Frankenstein claims to be a novel that gives a flattering depiction of “domestic affection.” That seems a strange claim in a novel full of murder, tragedy, and despair. But, in fact, all that tragedy, murder, and despair occur because of a lack of connection to either family or society. Put another way, the true evil in Frankenstein is not Victor or the monster, but isolation. When Victor becomes lost in his studies he removes himself from human society, and therefore loses sight of his responsibilities and the consequences of his actions. The monster turns vengeful not because it’s evil, but because its isolation fills it with overwhelming hate and anger. And what is the monster’s vengeance? To make Victor as isolated as it. Add it all up, and it becomes clear that Frankenstein sees isolation from family and society as the worst imaginable fate, and the cause of hatred, violence, and revenge.
Here is the website for reference – there is A LOT more useful information to be found here: https://www.litcharts.com/lit/frankenstein/themes/family-society-isolation
To end, we looked at a set of longer quotations which we had to reduce down to micro-quotations. Ms Ryan has suggested doing this as they are easier to remember and also suit the criteria from the higher bands in the mark scheme ‘Judicious and embedded evidence.’
Why not try reducing these quotations down to make them more memorable. You can also identify the speaker, part in the novel and any interesting language features:
“Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents’ house—my sister—the beautiful and … of all my occupations and my pleasures”
“My mothers tender caresses/ my father’s benevolent pleasure/ are my first recollections”
“My parents were possessed with the very spirit of kindness and indulgence”
“No father had watched my … no mother had … me with smiles and caresses ”
“No human could have passed a more happier childhood than myself”
“When I mingled with other families, I distinctly discerned how peculiarly fortunate my lot was, and gratitude assisted the development of love”
“You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being”
“No Eve soothed my sorrows, nor shared my thoughts; I was alone. I remembered Adam’s supplication to his Creator. But where was mine? He had abandoned me: and, in the bitterness of my heart, I cursed him.”