FRANKENSTEIN Study Guide
Homework: Please write your answers on separate paper.
1. Who is writing Letter 1 (and all the letters)?
2. To whom is he writing? What is their relationship?
Mrs. Saville, his sister
3. Where is Robert Walton when he writes Letter 1? Why is he there? What are his plans?
St. Petersburg, Russia. He is hiring a crew for his ship. He intends to sail to the North Pole and discover magnetism.
4. What does Robert Walton tell us about himself?
He is passionately committed to discovery and adventure. He wishes he had a friend with the same sensibilities and he says he is self-taught.
5. Where is Walton now? What do you ...view middle of the document...
Walton is intrigued and wants to hear Victor’s story.
Ch 1- 5
11. What is the man's background? (Do we know his name yet?) Where is he from?
The man was born in Geneva, Switzerland. His father held a public office and both his parents doted on him and idolized him. His name is first mentioned on p. 21 by his mother.
12. What is the story of the man's mother, Caroline Beaufort? How does the man feel toward his parents, and what responsibilities does he feel they had toward him?
Victor’s father’s best friend was Caroline Beaufort’s father. Beaufort fell into poverty and eventually died. Frankenstein Sr. rescued the young Caroline and married her when she came of age. Their “duty from heaven” was to raise Victor to be good and their guidance is responsible for all his future happiness or misery.
13. Who is Elizabeth Lavenza and what is her story? What gift does the man's mother give him? Do we know the man's name yet? Do we know his family name?
Elizabeth is the daughter of an Italian nobleman and a German woman. She was orphaned and taken in by a poor Italian family. Victor’s family adopts her and gives her as a present to him.
14. Who is Henry Clerval and what is his relation to Victor?
Henry Clerval is Victor’s childhood friend.
15. How does Victor characterize the interests and characters of Clerval, Elizabeth, and himself?
Clerval loves the stories of medieval knights and chivalry. Elizabeth enjoys the emotional aspect of poetry but does not pursue learning. She is nurturing and kind. Victor is fascinated with the study of science.
16. Who is Cornelius Agrippa and how does Victor find out about him? How does Victor's father respond, and how does Victor comment on that response?
On a rainy day while on vacation, Victor reads books he finds. Agrippa is an ancient scientist who studied alchemy. His books are outdated and unscientific. Victor’s father criticizes Victor for reading such nonsense. Victor decides to read even more on the subject after his father’s criticism.
17. What sort of science ("Natural Philosophy") is Victor learning from Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Albertus Magnus? How would a modern scientist respond to this sort of thinking?
Alchemy and the search for the fountain of youth. Modern scientists know these pursuits are foolish.
18. What happens when Victor sees an oak tree destroyed by lightning and hears an explanation? What does Victor then begin to study?
Victor decides to study electricity and galvanism – the process of using electricity to reanimate dead creatures.
19. Who or what does he credit for this change in direction? Who or what does he blame for his "utter and terrible destruction”?
He credits Krempe for encouraging him to study this field and he blames Waldman, his chemistry professor, for his destruction.
20. What happens to Elizabeth and to Victor's mother as a result of Elizabeth's scarlet fever? How does this compare with the mother's early history?