Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Guidelines for this assignment are Minimum of 3 typed pages or at least 750 words. MLA-style sour - Study Help

Guidelines for this assignment are 
Minimum of 3 typed pages or at least 750 words. 
 MLA-style source documentation and Works Cited
Plagiarism receipt requires, 2% maximum
Please see the attachment for guidelines.
Assignment Instructions: Frankenstein Critical Analysis Evaluation Essay

Note: Please review the source guidelines below very carefully. If you do not choose from the provided sources below, this will cause a grading delay and you will need to resubmit the assignment.

For this assignment, you will write your evaluation essay. You are required to submit only your final draft for this assignment (though we encourage all students to take advantage of the additional feedback a draft can provide). Use the grader’s feedback and the rubric to make revisions to your draft before submitting the final. Your second draft will be graded.

Now that you have completed Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, you are in a good position to consider what critics have written about the novel. You will need a total of two critiques (also known as critical analysis essays) for this assignment.

First, use the selection of links below to locate a critical analysis essay written about the 1818 version of Mary Shelley’s novel. You may focus most of your attention on this first critique. If the author of your critique is not specified, focus on the publication of the critique. 
Choose from among these sources:

· Romantic Circle’s Critiques: 
Critique 1

Critique 2

Critique 3

Critique 4

Critique 5

Critique 6

Professor Naomi Hetherington’s critique

The questions in the study guides should have helped you evaluate this criticism in your head. Now it’s time to write it down!

Your evaluation may go more smoothly if you approach the guiding questions in this order:

Evaluate the critic/author:

Who wrote the criticism you read? What credentials does the author have?  (If you are using a valid source, you should be able to find these easily)

Find the thesis of the article:

What is the thesis of the critical article you’ve chosen? What point does the author want to make about Frankenstein?

Evaluate the thesis:

Do you agree with this thesis? Why or why not? We’ve covered many ideas in the study guides. Can you find points within the guides that support your agreement or disagreement with the critical writer(s)? Look for new supporting information rather than revisiting the same ones the critics have chosen.

Evaluate the support:

Whether you agree or disagree with the thesis, does the critic provide sufficient research from the text and outside references to make a strong case? What does the article have for support from the text or outside sources? In your opinion, what makes these references valid? Do you feel the author uses this support properly?

Next, locate a second critique about the novel that includes ideas somewhat similar (genre classification, for instance) to any of the discussions you have in your essay. The second critique can either support or refute any of the claims in your paper. The objective of this portion of the essay is to further support your opinion of the primary critic’s thesis or support. Therefore, for example, if you choose a secondary article that refutes any of your claims, you will need to counteract those ideas to bring the focus of your essay back in alignment with your essay’s thesis (your personal opinion of how the primary critic is either correct or incorrect in his or her thesis claim and/or how the first critic is either effective or ineffective in his or her support). Every discussion in this essay should ultimately support the claim you make in your thesis.

For instance, if the first critic argues that Shelley’s writing is juvenile, and if you agree, does the second critic also support this thesis? How so? If the second critic does not support your assessment of the first critic’s thesis, what evidence can you use from the text to argue that the second critic is incorrect? Consider another example: if the first critic believes the novel is autobiographical, and if you disagree, does the second critic help you argue your own view of the first critic’s thesis? If so, how? Perhaps the second critic disagrees with your view and feels the novel is autobiographical– if that’s the case, be prepared to use evidence from the text to refute the second critic’s thesis and support your own argument. Using two critiques in this way will allow you to create a polished, comprehensive Evaluation Essay that allows you to connect your own ideas to those of seasoned critics.

In addition to addressing each of the evaluative components above, develop your essay so it has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. You must include an evaluative thesis statement in both the introduction and the conclusion. Ensure that each of your claims is supported with valid evidence from the literary criticism you have chosen; the novel, Frankenstein; and/or the study guides.

Using proper MLA style, insert parenthetical citations for all borrowed information in addition to a Works Cited page for Frankenstein and your chosen literary critiques; you are not required to cite the study guides if you use them.

Helpful Hints: For a thesis statement, try answering a question like: How and how well does this piece of criticism state and support its argument regarding Frankenstein?

You might use these as possible guidelines in crafting your thesis statement:
(Critic, aka author of the critique) uses (add critic title) to (add an adjective to describe the effectiveness of the argument such as “adequately” or “inadequately”) argue that (add critic’s thesis) by (explain why and/or include your support).
(Critic)’s (add critique title) (add an adjective to describe the effectiveness of the argument such as “adequately” or “inadequately”) argue that (add critic’s thesis) because (explain why and/or include your support).

More specific thesis examples:

John Smith uses “Frankenstein Critique Essay” to adequately argue that Victor’s mother created the first monster by coddling Victor as a boy.
John Smith’s “Frankenstein Critique Essay” does not effectively argue that Victor’s mother created the first monster because the novel Frankenstein too strongly supports inherent good or bad, which means nurturing roles cannot be held responsible.

The guidelines for this assignment are:

Length: This assignment should be a minimum of 3 typed pages or at least 750 words.

Header: Include a header in the upper left-hand corner of your writing assignment with the following information:
· Your first and last name 
· Course Title (Composition II)
· Assignment name (Evaluation Essay, Writing Assignment 4)
· Current Date

· MLA-style source documentation and Works Cited
· Your last name and page number in the upper-right corner of each page 
· Double-spacing throughout 
· Standard font (TimesNewRoman, Calibri) 
· Title, centered after heading 
· 1” margins on all sides
· Save the file using one of the following extensions: .docx, .doc, .rtf, or .txt

Underline your thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. 

Reminder: You need 
at least two critiques
 in addition to the novel in Works Cited in order to receive the highest score. In other words, you need three sources total in cited in the essay and on the Works Cited page in order to earn the maximum points in the corresponding column on the grading rubric. Failure to meet the source minimum will result in a severe decrease in your grade.

Grading Rubric for the Critical Analysis

Last Name 2

First Name Last Name
Composition II
Critical Analysis Evaluation
20 September 2015

Frankenstein: Shelley’s Case for Secular Origins Comment by Author: Good, strong title.

Helpful source:

Jane Smith is a faculty member for the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Lifelong Learning. An author and writer, she holds several degrees and has taught at numerous colleges across England. Smith’s gender and BS in Religious Studies from Newton University give her a unique ability to analyze and interpret Mary Shelley’s literary work. Smith’s essay entitled “Religious Aspects in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” effectively and adequately argues that Shelley’s work reflects the traditional Christian belief in the spiritual origin of man in favor of a materialistic worldview, pointing to Shelley’s overarching use of contrast between her own Frankenstein myth, and Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Greek tale of Prometheus. Comment by Author: Strong thesis that addresses the assignment’s four objectives.

Create a thesis statement for this paper that explains (1) the critic’s thesis (claim), (2) if you think the critic effectively or ineffectively supports his or her claim, (3) how (evidence), and (4) why (broad novel example). For section (3), focus on one major reason that you and the critic share in support of the critic’s claim. For component (4), include a broad example from the novel to explain why the critic’s evidence best represents his or her claim, and be sure to choose an overall scenario from the novel that you can break down into specific scenes from the story as support.

To determine whether or not you agree with the critic’s claim, focus on the quality of evidence he or she provides but not the quantity.

Take a look at the sample thesis: “John Smith uses “Frankenstein Critique Essay” to (2) adequately argue that (1) parental influence drives a child’s behavior through adolescence because (3) Victor’s parents create the first monster, which is evident by the way (4) they coddle Victor as a boy.” Here, I agree with John Smith’s thesis (claim) that (1) parental influence drives a child’s behavior through adolescence, and I think Smith’s evidence that (3) Victor’s parents creating the first monster in Victor (vs. the creature being the first “monster” of the novel) is strong. The broad scenario from the novel that I believe presents a good supporting argument is, (4) “because they coddle Victor as a boy.” Therefore, each of the three body paragraphs following the précis would provide a separate example of a situation in which Victor’s parents coddle him in the story that likely leads to his poor, “monstrous” behavior so that I can effectively support my thesis.

Conversely, you may disagree with the critic’s thesis and/or support. In this case you will choose the one piece of evidence from the critique that serves as the argument’s (claim’s) worst flaw. Then, you will show how and why the thesis and/or poor support are incorrectly drawn/ineffectively argued with two to three relevant, related examples from the novel. In this approach, you are essentially refuting the critic’s claim and/or worst evidence flaw with a few examples from the novel. Be sure to spend a little time explaining the critic’s flaw before you refute with the two to three novel examples (these two to three broad examples should be represented under an umbrella term in the thesis; see examples above).

In sections one through three of her essay, Smth presents three theological interpretations of Frankenstein, all of which complement each other and point towards Shelley’s Christian theme. While many critical readers prefer to take Frankenstein at mere face value, Smith prefers to analyze the powerful theological symbolism of Shelley’s famous work. Smith offers plentiful direct literary evidence for her argument, heavily referencing the numerous contrasts made by Shelley between Frankenstein and Milton’s classic Paradise Lost with direct quotations, and also between Frankenstein and the ancient Greek myth about Prometheus. These literary contrasts, Smith argues, are the “keys” Shelley gives her readers with which to “unlock” her book. Smith adeptly utilizes these keys and strongly confirms her argument of Shelley’s central secularist theme. Comment by Author: Exemplary precis paragraph.

Please be sure it only summarizes your primary critic’s work (not both critiques) and his or her opinion(s). Avoid inserting your own opinion, and be sure it is clear that any claims made in this paragraph are those of the critic. The purpose of the précis is to summarize how the author develops and supports the major claim and to give a statement of the author’s purpose. Please see the following source as well as the details in Topic 4’s lesson presentation regarding a precis paragraph:

In her first theological interpretation from Frankenstein, Smith introduces the theme of the “over-reacher” and points out how Shelley morphs the traditional view of the proud, rebellious Satan into a humble, yet noble being through the opposing characteristics she gives Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein is traditionally the mad scientist who reaches beyond God’s will to create life. Smith points out that Shelley directly compares Frankenstein to Milton’s Satan and the Greek Prometheus, both classic over-reachers: Satan aspired to overthrow God’s authority in heaven, and Prometheus stole fire from the gods. The Prometheus comparison is not difficult to make because it is contained in the alternative title of Shelley’s book: The Modern Prometheus. As for the comparison with Milton’s Satan, Smith quotes what Frankenstein tells Walton, “All my speculations and hopes are as nothing; and, like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal hell” (Shelley 261). But Smith notes that while Frankenstein is compared to Satan, he is also elevated to the role of tragic hero. Walton writes in Frankenstein, “What a glorious creature must he have been in the days of his prosperity, when he is thus noble and godlike in ruin” (Shelley 260). This new twist turns the conventional view of the egotistical over-reacher on its head, combining the two traditionally incompatible extremes of good and evil into one. In this way, Shelley is painting an overarching parody of classic Christian theology, presenting secular materialism as a replacement. Comment by Author: If a source makes a quote in a source that has a different author, name the quoting source that is within the larger source in your signal phrase. List the main, larger source in your reference list and in the parentheses. Example: John Carter argued that… (qtd. in Smith 98). John is the quoting source within the main, larger source which is authored by Smith. See the Citing Indirect Sources section:

Next, Smith addresses the theological theme of “creation mythology,” arguing that Frankenstein’s characterization is a direct counter to Christianity’s (and hence, Milton’s) “divine grace.” She stresses that Shelley takes the three main characters of Paradise Lost, God the Father, Adam, and Satan, and combines the three into just two of her own: God the Father and Satan both represented in Frankenstein, and Adam and Satan both represented in the monster. Shelley portrays Frankenstein (the God/Creator figure) as an imperfect being creating another imperfect being with imperfect motives. She paints him as a type of Satan, the opposite of what he should traditionally be. Frankenstein describes his self-absorbed motives to Walton,
“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs” (Shelley 51). Smith argues that by placing the character Frankenstein in God’s place as the monster’s creator, yet giving him the same motivations as Satan’s, Shelley pokes fun at the idea of either one’s actual existence. Truly, Smith is not alone in her claim, for an offended contemporary reviewer of Frankenstein wrote in March of 1818, “We are accustomed, happily, to look upon the creation of a living and intelligent being as a work that is fitted only to inspire a religious emotion, and there is an impropriety, to say no worse, in placing it in any other light” (Edinburgh Magazine). As for the monster, he directly calls himself both a type of Adam and of Satan: “Like Adam, I was created apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect…Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him,…the bitter gall of envy rose within me” (Shelley 153). Once again, Smith utilizes her evidence well—Shelley’s intertwining of classic opposites into single characters strongly supports her claim that Shelley was in fact questioning the very foundation of their reality.
The third theological theme Smith offers is Shelley’s presentation of “the human condition:” creatures without a holy creator, possessing a “creative-creaturely dichotomy” which bars us from reconciling ourselves to self-acceptance. Smith argues that when seen as representing two sides of the same person, Frankenstein and the monster combined show the irreconcilable, inner turmoil of secular humanity. As proof of her argument, she points to the way Shelley has both Frankenstein and the monster go through many of the same mental and physical experiences with nature, and how Frankenstein seems to be able to know what the monster has done or will do. Following the murder of his own brother by the monster, Frankenstein knows in his heart the true perpetrator. He tells Walton, “I considered the being whom I had cast among mankind…nearly in the light of my own vampire, my own spirit let loose from the grave, and forced to destroy all that was dear to me” (Shelley 81). Yet in their seemingly uncanny union, Frankenstein and the monster will never be reconciled, for each blames the other for their wrong actions, viewing themselves victims of each other. This depiction of humanity eternally at war with oneself is a poetic expression of man without a Creator. Given Smith’s evidence, Shelley’s work takes on a frighteningly hopeless and secularist worldview. Comment by Author: Good organization.

Sample thesis: “John Smith uses “Frankenstein Critique Essay” to adequately argue that Victor’s parents create the first monster because they coddle Victor as a boy.”

Following the précis paragraph after the introduction, create three body paragraphs, each dedicated to one instance in the novel where Victor’s parents coddle him in a way that leads to Victor portraying the first “monster” in the novel. Start each of these body paragraphs with an argumentative topic sentence—“The first way Victor’s parents coddle him that leads to him portraying the novel’s true monster is…”—then briefly explain the critic’s related thoughts, if applicable (depending on how much support the critic uses, this part may only work well in the first body paragraph); next, include examples and excerpts from the novel to present your own support; then, in at least two of the three paragraphs, include support from a second Frankenstein novel critique; and finally, include discussions that draw conclusions from your examples to explain how they support the claim in your thesis.

Follow these same ideas and structures no matter if you agree or disagree with the critic’s claim and/or support. If you disagree, explain the critic’s flaw(s) in a paragraph after the précis and then refute the critic’s claim and/or support using material from the secondary critique and examples from the novel and in the next couple paragraphs.

TOPIC SENTENCE: Critic John Smith adequately supports the idea that the Frankenstein novel is a mirror of Shelley’s life by showing the link between the electric spark used to give life to the creature and Shelley’s knowledge of Galvani’s discovery that electric pulses were responsible for muscle movement in frogs. NOVEL SUPPORT: Further evidence of Shelley’s knowledge of the importance of electrical currents in giving life is evident when Victor says, (add quote from the novel). SECONDARY CRITIQUE SUPPORT: Jane Doe, author of “Frankenstein Critique,” also strongly supports the idea that Shelley was well aware of electrical pulses and their significance in bodily movements. Doe explains that Victor’s application of the pulses during the monster’s creation is far too coincidental to Shelley’s specific understanding of the concept, NOVEL SUPPORT: which holds very true when considering Victor’s statement to Walton: (add quote from the novel).

In conclusion, Smith’s arguments come from numerous angles. Shelley’s depiction of the classic over-reacher merges the traditional embodiment of the two separate entities of good and evil into one. The portrayal of Frankenstein as a creator and the monster as his Adam turns the traditional Christian view of a Creator and his creation upside down, questioning its truth. In the end, Shelley’s humanity is unhappily able to reconcile all the conflicting identities, and settles into an eternal enmity with itself. Each argument’s angle comes together to form a complete whole, leaving Smith’s reader no doubt as to the overarching theme of secularism: humanity without the holy and divine Creator.

Works Cited Comment by Author: Be sure to correctly identify your source. For example, is it a review from a journal or magazine, or is it a simple article posted on a webpage? Did it originally appear in a print source? You may have to conduct a bit of research to make this determination. It is important that you identify your source in order to create an appropriately formatted works cited entry.

Please review the Purdue Owl website listed below for MLA Works Cited format. Please remember that each entry needs at least one parenthetical citation or signal phrase within the essay. Use the left navigation menu on the page to locate the type of reference you need:

You can also visit or Straighterline’s citation generator at to have citations generated for you. Be sure to select the correct source type first and then be sure the boxes contain the appropriate elements.

NOTE, some of the citation generators may not include placeholder elements for components that are missing from your source. For example, according to the MLA Handbook 7th Edition, which is considered the ruling document for MLA format, when a web source or other source requiring publisher information does not list a publisher and/or publication date, you should use N.p. and n.d. respectively in their typical positions within the entry. Many websites have publishers. Please use the following source to check for the publishers of your web entries: The publisher will be listed under Registrant Org.

The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany: A New Series of “The Scots Magazine” 2 (March 1818): 249-253. U of Maryland. Mar. 1998. Web. Sept. 14, 2015.
Smith, Jane. “Religious Aspects in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Keats-Shelley Review 11 (1997): 1-39. Web. UPenn. n.d. Web. Sept. 14, 2015.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Ed. Brantley Johnson. New York: Simon, 2009. Print.

ENG 102 Evaluation Rubric
















Thesis & Focus

Thesis, central idea, audience, purpose, digressions

Lacks an identifiable thesis. Limited or no awareness of audience and purpose.
Readers cannot discern the essay’s central idea.

Thesis was attempted but unclear and/or inconsistently addressed. Reveals limited awareness of audience and purpose. Central idea either lacking or inconsistently addressed.

Thesis is identifiable, but perhaps too narrow, too broad, or otherwise problematic. Awareness of audience may be adequate but inconsistent. Central idea is perhaps too general and supported by irrelevant examples.

Thesis is established and is consistently addressed throughout most of the paper. Awareness of audience is sufficient. Central idea is clear and maintained in most of the essay.

Thesis is clearly established and maintained throughout the entire paper. Paper demonstrates a sophisticated awareness of audience and purpose. Central idea/focus maintained throughout.

Support & Development

Thesis support, thesis development, Evaluation of chosen critique, Use of second critique, use of examples, logic, and reason

No support of thesis with relevant facts, examples, reasons, or evidence. No topic development. Student fails to evaluate most or all of the chosen critique. Topic development is flawed or non-existent.

Support is minimal, logically flawed, and/or inaccurate.
Student may fail in some ways to evaluate the critic/author, the thesis, and the support of the chosen critique. A second critique may be altogether missing from the Evaluation.
Topic development may have been attempted, but does not form conclusions and/or fails to exhibit clear reasoning.

More support is needed. Some examples may be vague. Student evaluates the critic/author, the thesis, and the support of the chosen critique although evaluation may be flawed. A second critique is used, perhaps ineffectively, to inform the Evaluation. Some irrelevant support may be present, but most evidence supports thesis.

Support is sufficient but perhaps flawed in some way.
Student clearly evaluates the critic/author, the thesis, and the support of the chosen critique. A second critique is used somewhat effectively to inform the Evaluation. Most assertions are supposed with examples from the chosen critique and the novel. Thesis is supported and developed in most paragraphs.

Essay completely supports the thesis with logical arrangement of evidence. Student clearly and effectively evaluates the critic/author, the thesis, and the support of the chosen critique. A second critique is effectively used to inform the Evaluation.
All assertions are supported with examples from the chosen critique and the novel, and the thesis is supported throughout.

Coherence & Organization

Introduction, conclusion, body paragraphs, transitions, topic sentences

No clear introduction, body, or conclusion. Little-to-no transitions. Demonstrates little-to-no understanding of organization. Many sentences within paragraphs do not relate to each other and/or the paragraph’s topic. May contain no discernable topic sentences.

Introduction, body, and conclusion attempted but problematic. Few transitions. Perhaps numerous digressions. Mostly missing or problematic topic sentences. Demonstrates little understanding of organization.

Identifiable introduction, body, and conclusion; yet one significant weakness is present: undeveloped introduction, undeveloped conclusion, illogical paragraph order. Adequate transitions, perhaps some digressions. Some paragraphs may lack clear topic sentences.
Demonstrates basic understanding of organization.

Clear introduction, body, and conclusion although improvements could be made. Most paragraphs have clear topic sentences. Essay establishes a clear plan of development. Transitions are clear throughout most of the paper. Demonstrates good understanding of organization.

Clear and effective introduction, body, and conclusion: Introduction establishes the essay’s main idea, and conclusion summarizes thesis and main ideas without merely copying and pasting from the introduction. Clear and effective transitions are present throughout the paper. Demonstrates excellent understanding of organization.

Language & Style

Word choice, repetition, redundancy, awkwardness, article misuse, wrong word form (their/there, etc.), typos/misspellings, vocabulary

May contain more than 6 errors in word choice, wordiness, redundancy, or awkwardness.
May contain more than 6 errors in inappropriate language for academic audience.
Fails to demonstrate competent language use; sentences and vocabulary are inappropriate, facile, and/or incoherent.

May contain 6 errors in word choice, wordiness, redundancy, or awkwardness.
May contain 6 errors in inappropriate language for academic audience.
Contains repetitive, incorrect, and/or insufficient sentence structure and/or limited vocabulary.

May contain 4 – 5 errors in word choice, wordiness, redundancy, or awkwardness.
May contain 2 – 3 errors in inappropriate language for academic audience.
Demonstrates competency with language use but sentence constructions and vocabulary may be limited or repetitive.

May contain 2 – 3 errors in word choice, wordiness, redundancy, or awkwardness.
May contain 2 – 3 errors in inappropriate language for academic audience.
Demonstrates sufficient knowledge and skill with varied sentence construction and vocabulary. Unnecessary repetition is minor.

May contain 1 error in word choice, wordiness, redundancy, or awkwardness.
May contain 1 error in inappropriate language for academic audience.
Demonstrates sophisticated knowledge and skill with varied and complex sentence construction and vocabulary. Little-to-no unnecessary repetition.


Fragments, subject-verb agreement, verb tense errors, verb form errors, run-ons, pronoun agreement

Contains more than 5 different grammar errors.
The identical 3 – 4 errors may be repeated throughout.

Contains 4 – 5 different grammar errors. The identical 2 – 3 errors may be repeated throughout.

Contains 2 – 3 different grammar errors. The identical 1 – 2 errors may be repeated throughout.

Contains 1 grammar error, which may be repeated throughout the essay.

Contains either no grammar errors, or 1 – 2 different errors with no repetition.

Punctuation & Capitalization

Comma errors, comma splices, apostrophe errors, capitalization errors, semicolon errors, colon errors

Contains more than 5 different punctuation/capitalization errors.
The identical 3 – 4 errors may be repeated throughout.

Contains 4 – 5 different punctuation/capitalization errors. The identical 2 – 3 errors may be repeated throughout.

Contains 2 – 3 different punctuation/capitalization errors. The identical 1 – 2 errors may be repeated throughout.

Contains 1 punctuation/capitalization error, which may be repeated throughout the essay.

Contains either no punctuation/capitalization error, or 1 – 2 different errors with no repetition.


margins, spacing,

underlined thesis

*Length for Evaluation is 750 words minimum

Doesn’t meet formatting requirements:

Formatting may be missing four or more elements (either no title, incomplete heading, inappropriate spacing or margins, or thesis not underlined).

Length may not meet minimum requirements.

Doesn’t meet most formatting requirements:

Formatting may be missing three elements (either no title, incomplete heading, inappropriate spacing or margins, or thesis not underlined).

Length may not meet minimum requirements.

Meets some formatting requirements:

Formatting may be missing two elements (either no title, incomplete heading, inappropriate spacing or margins, or thesis not underlined).

Length may not meet minimum requirements (an essay that does not meet length minimum will score no higher than 3 in this category)

Meets most formatting requirements:

Formatting may be missing one element (either no title, incomplete heading, inappropriate spacing or margins, or thesis not underlined).

Length meets minimum requirements of 750 words.

Meets all requirements.

Formatting is appropriate in terms of heading, title, margins, spacing, underlining thesis.

Length meets minimum requirements of 750 words.

Use of Research


Source minimums, incorporation of sources (including use of signal phrases), use of research to argue topic, MLA in-text quote formatting, Works Cited list

This paper requires at least two critiques in addition to the novel (three total sources).

Source minimum requirements are not met.
Research is insufficient, irrelevant, or inadequate.
Sources are not incorporated at all, or are done very poorly.

Five or more errors in documenting sources using MLA style may be present.

Works Cited page either omitted or formatted very poorly. It may be difficult or impossible to discern which sources are in the list.

Source minimum requirements may not be met (Note: If source minimum is not met, the essay will score no higher than 2 in this category).
Research is superficial and/or sources are incorporated poorly.

No more than four different errors in documenting sources using MLA style may be present. These identical errors may be repeated.

Works Cited page may contain significant formatting errors, and some sources may be omitted from the list.

Source minimum requirements (two critiques + novel) are met.
Research may be superficial, sources may be poorly incorporated.

No more than three different errors in documenting sources using MLA style may be present. These identical errors may be repeated.

Works Cited page may contain significant formatting errors, but all sources are listed.

Source minimum requirements (two critiques + novel) are met.
Fairly thorough research with mostly effective use of sources.

No more than two different errors in documenting sources using MLA style. These identical two errors may be repeated.

Works Cited page may contain minor formatting errors, but all sources are clearly listed.

Source minimum requirements (two critiques + novel) are met. Thoroughly researches the topic, uses sources effectively.

No more than one different error in documenting sources using MLA style. This identical error may be repeated.

Works Cited page may contain minor formatting errors, but all sources are clearly listed.

La Belle Assemblée, or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, 2d Series, 17 (March 1818):

This is a very bold fiction; and, did not the author, in a short Preface, make a kind of
apology, we should almost pronounce it to be impious. We hope, however, the writer had
the moral in view which we are desirous of drawing from it, that the presumptive works of
man must be frightful, vile, and horrible; ending only in discomfort and misery to himself.

But will all our readers understand this? Should not an author, who has a moral end in
view, point out rather that application which may be more generally understood? We
recommend, however, to our fair readers, who may peruse a work which, from its
originality, excellence of language, and peculiar interest, is likely to be very popular, to
draw from it that meaning which we have cited above.

The story of Frankenstein is told in a letter from a Captain Walton to his sister, Mrs. Saville,
residing in England. Walton is almost as much of an enthusiast as the wretched
Frankenstein, whom, as the Captain is in search of finding the north west passage, and
penetrating as far as possible to the extremities of the pole, he meets, engaged in the
pursuit of the demon-being of his own creation: Walton rescues Frankenstein from the
imminent danger of losing his life in this pursuit, amongst the floating flakes of ice; and
after this Prometheus recovers, in part, his bodily strength, and relates his history to

Frankenstein is a Genevese; (these people are not naturally romantic) but Frankenstein’s
mind has been early warped by a perusal of those authors who deal in the marvellous. His
father is a respectable Syndic, and has taken under his protection a niece, born in Italy. In
due time, Frankenstein and his fair cousin become lovers, and their union is sanctioned by
his father. He has also the blessings of a sincere friend, Henry Clerval, of a stronger mind
than the Prometheus, who is absorbed in the study of natural philosophy, which he
declares as “the genius that regulated his fate.”—When he becomes a student at the
University of Ingoldstadt, he bewails, as his first misfortune, the death of his mother; and
when his grief has begun to subside, he devotes himself entirely to chemistry and his
favourite science: the structure of the human frame particularly excites his attention, and,
indeed, every animal endowed with life: he then proceeds to examine the cause of life and
death—(how vain)—and finds himself capable (we use the writer’s own words) “of
bestowing animation on lifeless matter!!!”

This reminds us of the famous philosopher who declared, that, give him but matter
enough, and he could create a world! Why, then, could he not form one in miniature, about
the size of an egg or a walnut?

To return to Frankenstein; he had no longer any doubt but what he could create a perfect
man! But his workshop, and the process he was compelled to observe, disgusted him; for

he tells Walton, that “the dissecting-room, and the slaughter-house, furnished him with
materials.” On a dark night of November he completes his work, and the eye of the
creature opens; whom, in order to make superior to his species, he has formed eight feet
high! He is soon after surprised by a visit from his friend Clerval; and trembles at the idea
of his seeing the monster he has created: he steals up softly to his apartment, and finds
that the demon has fled.

After a fit of illness, which causes a cessation of his studies, he is afflicted, on his return to
them, by a letter from his father, acquainting him that his little brother William is
murdered; the picture he wore round his neck being found in the pocket of an interesting
young girl, the attendant on Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s cousin, she is accused, and suffers
innocently. After visiting the parental roof, as the unfortunate Prometheus is wandering
among the Alps, he beholds the frightful being he has formed, and he feels convinced in
his own mind that he is the murderer of his brother.—This being seems, indeed, to have a
supernatural power of following his maker wherever he goes, and he soon after meets with
him near Mont Blanc. He here relates to Frankenstein how he has supported his miserable
existence; but he feels the charm, and the imperious want of society, by having beheld, in
a cottage, an old peasant and his daughter, with a young man; they are indigent, but, in
comparison with his forlorn state, most happy. Delighted with the picture of social life and
its affections, he seeks to contribute to their wants; piles wood before their cottage, when
they want fuel, and other offices unperceived: by listening, he gains speech, and
understands the meaning of different words. The arrival of an Arabian lady serves to
complete the savage’s education: he hears the young man read to her, and obtains a slight
knowledge of history. This part of the work is rather prolix and unnatural; the monster
learns to read, and is delighted with Paradise Lost, Plutarch’s Lives, and The Sorrows of

The demon then confesses himself the murderer of Frankenstein’s brother; and, moreover,
declares his intention of immolating the rest of his family, if he does not create a female
like himself, with whom he may retire to undiscovered wilds, and molest mankind no more.
Frankenstein, at first, positively refuses, but at length consents.

After pausing some time in travelling, Frankenstein and Clerval visit Scotland; and the
former retires from the society of his friend, to undertake, in the solitude of the Orkney
Islands, the dreadful task assigned him. When he has half finished the wretched work, he
reflects that, perhaps, he is bringing a curse on future generations, and he tears the thing
to pieces on which he is engaged. The monster presents himself, and after some severe
upbraidings, he tells him he will be with him on his wedding night.

The fragments of a human being lying before him, urge Frankenstein to seek his safety by
flight; he packs them in a basket, sails from the Orkneys, and sinks them when he has
attained the midst of the sea: he next arrives at a good harbour, where he is taken up for
murder; and for the murder, too, of Clerval, his friend, whose mangled body is presented

before him: this deprives him of reason; and in a gaol, loaded with irons, like a malefactor,
he suffers all the agonies of the mind, accompanied with frenzied fever. He is, however, at
length, honourably acquitted, and accompanies his father, who comes for him, back to
Geneva, where preparations take place for his wedding; for which, when the day is arrived,
Elizabeth is found dead, after coming from the sacred ceremony, and lying across her
bridal bed. He now makes a solemn vow to find out the fiend of his creation, and to
destroy him, though the work of his own hands. He traverses wild and barbarous countries;
where, in some places, he beholds inscriptions on the rocks and trees, as, “My reign is not
yet over”—”You live, and my power is complete,” &c. &c. By perseverance, Frankenstein, at
length, meets with him, where Captain Walton first discovers him; and whom Frankenstein,
after bringing his narrative to a close, intreats to avenge his cause by killing the monster,
should he die. He expires soon after; and this wonderful work of man comes in at the cabin-
window of Captain Walton’s ship, breathes a soliloquy over the coffin of his creator, and
then plunges into the icy waves, the same way as he entered.

This work, which we repeat, has, as well as originality, extreme interest to recommend it,
and an easy, yet energetic style, is inscribed to Mr. Godwin; who, however he once
embraced novel systems, is, we are credibly informed, happily converted to what he once
styled ancient prejudices.

We are sorry our limits will not allow us a more copious review of Frankenstein. The few
following extracts will serve to shew the excellence of its style and language:—


“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour
a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and
source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could
claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs. Pursuing these
reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in
process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had
apparently devoted the body to corruption.”


“It was on a dreary night of November, that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With
an anxiety almost amounting to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I
might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one
in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly
burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of
the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom
with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion,

and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!—Great God! His yellow skin scarcely
covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and
flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid
contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white
sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion, and straight black lips.”


“I considered the being whom I had cast among mankind, and endowed with the will and
power to effect purposes of horror, such as the deed which he had now done, nearly in the
light of my own vampire, my own spirit let loose from the grave, and forced to destroy all
that was dear to me.”


“All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all
living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art
bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How
dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you
and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you
at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood
of your remaining friends.

“God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy
type of yours, more horrid from its very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow-
devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and detested.”


“Great God! why did I not then expire?—Why am I here to relate the destruction of the best
hope, and the purest creature of earth. She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown
across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered
by her hair. Every where I turn I see the same figure—her bloodless arms and relaxed form
flung by the murderer on its bridal bier. Could I behold this and live? Alas! life is obstinate,
and clings closest where it is most hated. For a moment only did I lose recollection; I


“‘That is also my victim!’ he exclaimed; ‘in his murder my crimes are consummated; the
miserable series of my being is wound to its close! Oh, Frankenstein! generous and self-
devoted being! what does it avail that I now ask thee to pardon me? I, who irretrievably
destroyed thee by destroying all thou lovedst.—Alas! he is cold; he may not answer me.'”

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Creator and Created in Mary Shelley’s F rankenstein

Naomi Hetherington

Keats-Shelley Review 11 (1997): 1-39.


{1} Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley began writing Frankenstein in the summer of 1816 when she was just nineteen
years old.1 It is a tale so over-powered with sources and origins that it has gained a reputation in literary circles
as ‘the most protean and disputable of even Romantic texts’.2 Mary herself suggested several keys with which to
unlock it. The novel’s subtitle, The Modern Prometheus, refers to the two-fold Greek myth of the Titan who
created human beings from clay and stole for them fire from heaven.3 On the frontispiece there appears as an
epigram the fallen Adam’s supplication to God from Milton’s Paradise Lost:

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me Man? Did I solicit thee

From darkness to promote me?4

In his preface to the 1818 edition, Percy Shelley, writing anonymously as though he were the author, described
the novel’s genesis from a ghost story competition, begun as a wet evening’s entertainment. His opening line
alludes to current scientific investigations into the principle of life, particularly as regards the work of Erasmus
Darwin. In a new preface to the {2} 1831 text, Mary enlarged on these suggestions, explicitly naming galvanism
as Frankenstein’s method of creation so that he combines the roles of Prometheus Plasticator and Pyrophorus.5

She referred to a waking nightmare prompted by her husband’s and Lord Byron’s scientific discussions6 in which
she saw:

with shut eyes, but acute mental vision . . . the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the
thing he had put together.


Posterity has developed additional ways of interpreting Mary’s text. Modern ahistorical forms of criticism focus
on subconscious or unconscious elements within the author’s psyche. For instance, biographical critics have
examined Mary’s own relationships, in particular her marriage with Shelley, as a source of inspiration for her
character studies.8 Feminist critics, such as Barbara Johnson, have read the novel as the story of Mary’s
experiences in writing it and diagnosed a ‘frustrated female pen envy’.9

Here, however, I wish to concentrate on the allegorical meaning of the text, viewing it historically as a
construction of meaning accessible to Mary’s contemporaries and through them to posterity. Whilst modern
critical methods tend to be unsympathetic to allegory, it pervades Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment
literature. The tradition feeds into the poetic narratives of Shelley, Byron and the Lake poets, and the novels of
Mary’s father, William Godwin. Artistically, therefore, it is to allegory that Mary’s story belongs.10

{3} [photo of Montanvert???] Montanvert was exactly opposite, at the distance of a league; and above it rose
Mont Blanc, in awful majesty. I remained in a recess of rock, gazing on this wonderful and stupendous scene.
The sea, or rather the vast river of ice, wound among its dependent mountains, whose aerial summits hung over

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its recesses. Their icy and glittering peaks shone in the sunlight over the clouds. My heart, which was before
sorrowful, now swelled with something like joy.

Mary Shelley Frankenstein???

{4} Other studies have investigated the measure of political allegory within Frankenstein.11 In section one to
three of this piece, I wish to offer three variant but complementary readings for the theological reader of Mary’s
original text of 1818. This version of the novel is seldom read today, and literary critics tend to regard it as
superseded by the amended edition of 1831. It is, however, a far more radical and engaging text as I endeavour to
show in section four, where I discuss how Mary’s alterations affect the religious implications of her tale.12

Frankenstein abounds with Christian iconography of the creation and fall, and with parallel pagan references
from the legend of Zeus and Prometheus. In her recent edition of the 1818 text, Marilyn Butler suggests that
Mary’s story began as a narrative comment on the contemporary public debate regarding scientific materialism
and the Christian concept of a pre-existent immortal soul.13 The controversy was encapsulated in the figures of
William Lawrence, the Shelleys’ physician and personal friend, and John Abernethy, Lawrence’s former teacher
and President of London’s Royal College of Surgeons. Abernethy believed that life is bestowed by the super-
addition of a super-fine element analogous to electricity and co-relative to the Christian soul. In March 1816,
Lawrence proclaimed in opposition to Abernethy that the power which animates animals resists abstraction from
matter: ‘The motion proper to all living bodies, or in one word, life, has its origins in that of their parents.”14

Mary’s original ghost story appears to have been a short satire of Abernethy’s position, exposing it as nonsense.
The being animated by the infusion of a ‘spark’, apparently of electricity, is not human but a grotesque distortion
of our form, which the humans in the story cannot acknowledge. What is described in entirely human terms is
the process of creation itself, {5} so that the creator who must have recourse to an external physical animating
principle is not the omnipotent, all- loving Christian deity, but a demiurge in our shape.

In my first three sections, I wish to illustrate how in expanding her entry into a full length novel, Mary used
Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Prometheus legend as a mythological network through which to explore the
religious implications of her rejection of spiritual vitalism. Carried to its logical conclusion, the materialist
argument refutes the notion of a transcendent deity since it perceives nature as active and all-encompassing, not
the passive recipient of a reserve of external power. Mary, I believe, wished to explore through fiction what it
means to be human within this self-regulating universe. Through the different ways in which her characters
correspond with Milton’s, she wanted to create a new and subversive tale of human origins, which expounded
simultaneously the timeless implications of this myth for disparate aspects of our nature. In so doing, she aimed
to refute on a moral and philosophical basis the traditional Christian tenets which the new science questioned on
empirical grounds.

In my fourth section, I suggest that Mary later revised her early work in order to dissociate it from Lawrence and
to bring it more in line with orthodox Christian aetiology. By 1831, times had changed and the English public
was more reactionary than it had been a decade earlier. Mary’s own religious beliefs had become more
conservative since Shelley’s death in 1822 and she had started attending church. Pragmatically, her surviving son
was heir to the Shelley estate and she wished him to take his place in upper class society. As a woman of letters,
she had little income and a fresh edition of Frankenstein, rendered cheaper on account of new publishing
technology, represented her best chance of earning. Keeping the book clear of scandal may have been the trade-
off the publisher exacted.15


The popular image of Frankenstein today is perhaps that of the mad scientist, the over-reacher playing at being
God in his lonely laboratory at {6} the top of a staircase. For traditional Christians, the novel belongs
typologically with tales of human presumption, in which the protagonist is duly punished for overstepping

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human boundaries laid down by God. When the first edition was published, the reviewer for The Edinburgh
Magazine tentatively suggested an orthodox reading:

It might, indeed, be the author’s view to shew that the powers of man have been wisely limited, and
that misery would follow their extension.16

In 1823, Brinsley Peake entitled his stage adaptation of the novel, Presumption; or The Fate of Frankenstein. He
used a comic assistant and narrator, Fritz, to create an orthodox tale of sin and damnation. His Frankenstein
immediately repents of his creative act, declaring ‘a flash breaks in upon my darkened soul, and tells me my
attempt was impious’.17

However, Peake was reacting against Mary Shelley’s text more than elucidating it. He re-wrote Mary’s novel in a
form palatable to the conservative nineteenth century theatre-going public. Though Mary drew on the literary
type of the over-reacher, she did not do so in the way in which Peake, and many in Hollywood, would have us
suppose. By the Romantic era, over-reachers had become morally ambiguous figures. Post-Renaissance writers
and dramatists often presented them sympathetically as in the Jacobean avenger heroes and Marlowe’s portrayal
of Dr Faustus.18 The two rebels with whom Mary explicitly equated Frankenstein, Milton’s Satan and the Greek
Prometheus, were especially given to fluid interpretation.

Even in ancient times, Prometheus was a malleable figure. Aeschylus portrayed him as a rebel hero, stealing fire
from heaven to benefit humankind with the tools of reason and civilisation. For Hesiod, he was a {7} trickster
who destroyed humanity’s original happy state and was justly punished by Zeus.19 Christianity came to identify
him with God and Christ on the one hand and on the other with the forces of evil.20 The Romantic poets
compared him explicitly with Milton’s Satan and saw in them both a champion against the oppression of the
Christian church and state. In the Walton passages which frame her novel, Mary juxtaposed the two contrasting
views of over-reachers. When Frankenstein compares himself to Milton’s Satan, he seems to consider himself
justly damned:

All my speculations and hopes are as nothing, and like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I
am chained in an eternal hell.


However, Walton’s description of him in terms of the fallen Lucifer is an elevating one, suggestive of a tragic

What a glorious creature must he have been in the days of his prosperity, when he is thus noble and
godlike in ruin! He seems to feel his own worth and the greatness of his fall.


A third literary tradition which needs to be taken into account here is the growing secular critique of arrogance,
egotism and inhumanity, strong amongst radicals of Mary’s day. After all, Mary never actually described
Frankenstein’s creative act as rebellion against a divine order. He and Walton, as his type and admirer, defy only
their earthly fathers, one in continuing to study alchemy in secret, the other in following a sea-faring career. The
secular tradition is perhaps the one in which Frankenstein fits best. It most reflects the circle in which the author
herself moved. Her {8} father, to whom she dedicated her novel, had written several such stories. Most similar to
Frankenstein is his St Leon (published 1799), in which an exiled French aristocrat is given the elixir of life and
the philosopher’s stone on condition that he does not tell his wife. Like Frankenstein, he discovers that his
secrecy forms an insurmountable barrier between himself and his loved ones. Too late he realises that happiness
lies not in power and possessions, but in simplicity and domestic affections.

In his preface to the 1818 edition of Frankenstein, Shelley likewise juxtaposed the isolation of the over-reacher
with domestic happiness. In a passage in part attempting to assuage criticism of the novel as immoral and

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impious, he presented this as one of its over-riding themes:

I am by no means indifferent to the manner in which whatever moral tendencies exist in the
sentiments or characters it contains shall affect the reader; yet my chief concern in this respect has
been limited . . . to the exhibition of the amiableness of domestic affection, and the excellence of
universal virtue.


At the book’s centre, in stark contrast to Frankenstein’s physical, and later psychological, isolation, is the pastoral
idyll of the De Lacey family.21 In a cottage in the woods, father, daughter, son and his sweet-heart live in
poverty, but relative joy. The names of the younger generation stand for happiness (Felix), goodness (Agatha)
and wisdom (Safie – from Sophia). They love one another deeply and are mutually supportive. They share their
simple delight in the world around them. For instance, Felix brings his sister the first flower of spring.

In Frankenstein’s own narrative, I believe that Mary used the secular critique of the over-reacher to re-interpret
the double-edged religious imagery of the rebel in the novel’s prologue and epilogue. Defiance is not
Frankenstein’s dominant motive nor is lofty ideology. His quest stems primarily from vanity. He describes
himself to Walton in heroic terms as one ‘who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow’ (34), and {9}
tries to present benevolence as his chief inspiration, but it is in fact self-elevation:

Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of
light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and
excellent natures would owe their being to me. N o father could claim the gratitude of his child so
completely as I should deserve theirs.


Right from the beginning, it is only Frankenstein’s egotism which hardens him against the macabre nature of his
work. It represses his instinctive repulsion at his progeny’s grotesque appearance until he stands back at the
moment of animation.

Mary satirised the notion that the over-reacher can be a grandiose figure either in a positive or a negative light.
She wished to portray Frankenstein as the scheming small man, the arrogant student who gets more than he
bargained for. Walton’s eulogy of his friend depicts him as a grand entrepreneur, above the common herd. This is
akin to our first encounter with Milton’s Satan in Pandaemonium:

To reign is worth ambition though in hell:
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.22

However, Frankenstein’s own rebuke of Walton’s crew for wishing to turn back from their quest and preserve
their lives echoes the final speech of Dante’s Ulysses, goading on his sailors to a fatal voyage of discovery ‘to
pursue power and knowledge’.23 It brings to the text the notion of the wily trickster, who defeated Troy, not
through bravery in battle, but through his design of the wooden horse. It is akin to the casuist that Milton’s Satan
deteriorates into, entering Paradise like a wolf and a thief, and tempting Eve through smooth talk inside the body
of a serpent.

{10} Marilyn Butler sees Frankenstein as a darkly comic character on account of the way in which his mind is
unhinged by his own experiment. He recalls that the moment the creature came to life ‘the beauty of the dream
vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart’ (39). Utterly repulsed and exhausted, he is sent into a
nervous fever for several months. After the deaths of his brother William and the servant-girl Justine, he begins
to exhibit symptoms of severe depression — intense loneliness, guilt and dejection and violent mood swings as
well as hallucinations that the being is at his throat. Other characters within the novel start to perceive him as
approaching the threshold of insanity. Unlike the reader, they are unaware of the creature’s existence as an

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external reality within the text, and hence Frankenstein’s culpability as murderer; yet, nevertheless, clinically
their diagnosis rings true.

Frankenstein’s experiment hints, too, at an unacknowledged fear of sexual intercourse, in part a rite of passage
into adulthood. Love-making involves the giving of oneself wholly to another person, and any children of the
union become a shared responsibility, whereas Frankenstein still retains the egocentric, possessive perspective of
his early childhood. Then he loved to cosset Elizabeth, his cousin-sister and bride-to-be, as one would ‘a
favourite animal’ (20). Now he rejects fatherhood, a natural means of creativity, because his progeny would not
be wholly his own. His artificial alternative allows him to regard his creation solely as a projection of self; but it
does this by cannibalising his own life — sacrificing his health and repressing his natural, especially sexual,

My cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement . . .
My eyes were insensible to the charms of nature. And the same feeling which made me neglect the
scenes around me caused me also to forget those friends who were many miles absent . . . I wished,
as it were, to procrastinate all that related to my feelings of affection until the great object, which
swallowed up every habit of my nature, should be completed.


Mary’s clever doubling of mythological types reinforces our impression of Frankenstein’s sexual immaturity by
presenting him on the eve of his {11} marriage as a young groom, terrified of consummating his union. The
creature as well as Frankenstein appears as a Prometheus figure in that he steals fire from the cottagers and is
unjustly treated by his deity. He is left to acquire for himself the basic tools of civilization and the faculty of
discernment. Like Prometheus over Zeus’ potential downfall through a marriage with the nymph Thetis, the
creature taunts Frankenstein with a mysterious secret regarding his wedding night. Ostensibly, Frankenstein fears
that it will culminate in his own death as the being’s final revenge for refusing to create him a mate; but as Kiely
describes, in its immediate setting, the language with which he chooses to reassure his bride is ambiguous and
loaded with ‘anxiety, phallic inference, and images of conflict’.24

Psychologically, Mary has subverted Frankenstein’s ostensible drive to break through human limitations into an
immature inability to come to terms with what being human means. The heroic over-reacher is an idealist, an
attractive character because he retains the faith and optimism of a child that anything is possible; but Cantor
praises Mary for being astute enough to perceive that what is childlike is also childish — they are two sides of the
same coin. Frankenstein’s quest starts as a challenge to ‘the one seemingly indisputable fact of man’s nature, his
mortality’.25 He initially understands his creation of another type of being as only the first step towards
resurrecting a human corpse in entirety:

I thought that if I could bestow animation on lifeless matter, I might in process of time . . . renew life
where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.


Dominating his thoughts is surely the untimely and unnecessary death of his mother.26 In failing to let go of this,
Frankenstein shows himself afraid to grow up, and he is forced to use personal fame and academic achievement
as a proxy for genuine, sympathetic human relationships.


{12} When Frankenstein was first published, the majority of orthodox critics were hostile, perceiving the
creative act primarily in divine terms. Put on their guard by the anonymous author’s dedication, ‘TO WILLIAM
blasphemous and disgusting. The Tory Quarterly Review seethed with moral indignation:

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Our taste and our judgement alike revolt at this kind of writing . . . it inculcates no lesson of
conduct, manners and morality; it cannot mend, and will not even amuse its readers, unless their
tastes have been deplorably vitiated.27

That the Shelleys envisaged and attempted to stave off such a reception appears from Percy Shelley’s preface:

The opinions which naturally spring from the character and situation of the hero are by no means to
be conceived as existing always in my own conviction, nor is any inference justly to be drawn from
the following pages as prejudicing any philosophical doctrine of whatever kind.


Ostensibly, Frankenstein endorses Milton’s justification of God the Father in Paradise Lost, for the creature
longs for Adam’s lot and frequently compares it favourably with his own. Yet he summarises Paradise Lost to
his creator as ‘the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures’ (108), a position which he shares with
Shelley. In The Essay on the Devil and Devils, published only a year after Frankenstein, Shelley painted a vivid
picture of God and the Devil judging and tormenting a sinner’s soul as young boys might bait a cat. He added:

It is pretended that God dislikes it but this is mere shamefacedness and coquetting, for he has
everything his own way and need not damn unless he likes.28

{13} Shelley believed that Milton’s God the Father complied to this pattern, punishing Satan as:

one who in the cold security of undoubted triumph inflicts the most horrible revenge upon his enemy
. . . with the open and alleged design of exasperating him to deserve new torments.29

By contrast, he perceived the rebellion of Milton’s Satan as grand and magnanimous so that he embodies the
post-Renaissance over-reacher hero. Satan becomes God’s first victim whose beneficence was wilfully turned to
evil by a jealous omnipotence beyond his own control. Erroneously, Shelley believed that Milton had himself
intended this radical interpretation of his epic. In The Essay on the Devil and Devils, he alluded cautiously to the
fact that Milton might at one time have been a Unitarian.30 Later in A Defence of Poetry he spoke out boldly:

Milton’s poem contains . . . a philosophical refutation of that system of which, by a strange and
natural antithesis, it has been a chief popular support. Nothing can exceed the energy and
magnificence of Satan as expressed in Paradise Lost. It is a mistake to suppose that he could ever
have been intended for the popular personification of evil.31

Mary Shelley, I believe, was better able to distinguish between Milton’s intentions and what his text revealed to
her and her contemporaries about traditional Christian theology. I suggest that Frankenstein provides the
countertext to the apparent vindication of divine grace in Paradise Lost, which Shelley, by and large, believed
the epic itself already contained. Mary built her story of Frankenstein and his creature around Paradise Lost and
its Greek counterpart, the Prometheus myth, and appeared to support {14} Milton just enough to get her book
into print. However, she radically altered the drift of his typology to elucidate the Mandaean mixture of good and
evil which she and Shelley perceived in Milton’s deity. She then used the new, almost gnostic, myth of human
origins at which she arrived to illustrate in story form her own, and to some extent Shelley’s, beliefs about the
human condition, the nature of the universe and the problem of evil.

Mary aligned the three main antagonists of Paradise Lost — God the Father, Satan and Adam — with only two
characters, Frankenstein and his creature. She did not keep Milton’s middle term intact. Satan’s traditional role
absolved God of all blame for the presence of evil and humanity of most, but Frankenstein has become a
demiurge (cf. Blake’s Urizen)32 who does God’s creative work, but with the motives Satan falsely attributed to
Him in Paradise Regained:

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     hee seeks glory,
And for glory all things made, all things

Orders and governs, nor content in Heaven
By all his Angels glorifi’d, requires

Glory from men.33

Creation and fall have been elided, and the rebel cast out of heaven has become one with humanity’s creator.
Imperfect himself, he creates in his own imperfect image:

His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! — Great God!
His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath.


When the creature forces Frankenstein to call to mind his genesis in their confrontation on Mont Blanc, the
creator is trapped into cursing himself {15} aloud, like Milton’s Satan trying to curse God in his soliloquy on
Mount Niphates:

whom hast thou then or what to accuse,
But heaven’s free love dealt equally to all?

Be then his love accursed, since love or hate,
To me alike it deals eternal woe.

Nay cursed be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.34

God saw that his work was good, but the creature has only Frankenstein’s laboratory reports which already
betray his creator’s shame and disgust. He is sickened reading them and curses the day of his birth and even his

Hateful day when I received life! Cursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even
you turned from me in disgust? God in pity made man beautiful and alluring . . . but my form is a
filthy type of yours, more horrid from its very resemblance.


Ostensibly the creature is presenting the Christian God as a …

Grading Rubric for Critical Analysis


Category Needs Improvement

( point)

Meets Requirements

( points)

Exceeds Requirements

( points)


 Thesis lacks a judgment
about the novel

 Thesis does not appear
in the introduction or


 Essay contains a single
thesis that evaluates the


 Thesis appears in
introduction and

conclusion paragraphs

 Essay contains a single
thesis with a plan of

development that

evaluates the novel

 The thesis appears in
introduction and is

restated in conclusion

Thesis Support or


 The body paragraphs do
not support the thesis

with relevant examples,

reasons, or evidence

 The body paragraphs
contain assertions

without support from

the novel, study guides

or literary criticism

 Minimal support for
each claim

 Some irrelevant support
present, but most

evidence supports


 All assertions are fully
supported and relate to


 All support comes from
the novel, the literary

critique and/or study


Grading Rubric for Critical Analysis


Category Needs Improvement

( point)

Meets Requirements

( points)

Exceeds Requirements

( points)


Needs Improvement

( point)

Meets Requirements

( points)

Exceeds Requirements

( points)

Grammar errors are

defined as: sentence fragments,

subject-verb agreement, verb

form and verb tense errors,

fused sentence (run-on),

pronoun reference, pronoun

agreement error, and article


 Four or more different
grammatical errors
appear in the work

 The identical two to
three grammatical

errors repeated

throughout the work

 One to three different
grammatical errors
appear throughout the


 The same one to two
grammatical errors
repeated throughout

 The essay contains few
to no grammatical


 The essay may contain
occasional, one-time

grammar error without


Punctuation errors are

defined as: comma splices,

misused commas, and

apostrophe errors.

Capitalization errors

 Four or more different
punctuation and/or

capitalization errors in

the work

 The identical two or
three punctuation and

capitalization errors

repeated throughout

the work.

 One to three different
punctuation and

capitalization errors in

the work

 The identical one to
two punctuation

and/or capitalization

errors repeated


 The essay contains few
to no punctuation and

capitalization errors

 The essay may contain
an occasional, one-time

punctuation and

capitalization error

Grading Rubric for Critical Analysis


Category Needs Improvement

( point)

Meets Requirements

( points)

Exceeds Requirements

( points)

Supporting Source

 No supporting critical
source provided

 The supporting source
does not comment on

novel or the literary

form of story

 Supporting source
does not originate

from a university

publication, literary

journal or online

literary website

 Supporting critical
source about novel


 Supporting source
appeared in a


publication, literary

journal, or online

literary website

 More than one
source about the

novel provided

 All sources
appeared in a



literary journal,

or online literary


Grading Rubric for Critical Analysis


Category Needs Improvement

( point)

Meets Requirements

( points)

Exceeds Requirements

( points)



Paraphrases, and


 The essay did not employ
direct quotes, paraphrases,

and summaries but relied on

only one type, probably


 Quotes are not integrated into

 Quotes have an introduction,
a speaker, or integrated into


 The essay used two out of
three: quotes, paraphrases, or


 Quotes are properly
integrated into


 Quotes, paraphrases,
and summaries are

employed in essay.



 No acknowledgment of source
of quotes, paraphrases or

summaries either as introduction

to the facts or in parenthetical


 Parenthetical documentation
frequently used after quotes,

paraphrases, and summaries

but imperfectly formatted.

 Parenthetical
documentation used in

correct format after all

quotes, paraphrases,

and summaries.

Grading Rubric for Critical Analysis



Needs Improvement

( point)

Meets Requirements

( points)

Exceeds Requirements

( points)

Work Cited Entries

 No Work Cited entry or
inadequate Work Cited entry

(full bibliographic omitted)

 One critical article from
appropriate source in correct

MLA format

 Novel listed in correct format

 More than two sources
in the Works Cited

 Perfectly formatted
Work Cited for all

sources in the essay


 Less than three double-
spaced, typed pages or fewer

than 750 words (with

appropriate font size and

margins, excluding Works


 Three typed, double-spaced
pages or 750 words (with

appropriate font size and

margins, excluding Works


 3+ double-spaced,
typed pages or more

than 750 words (with

appropriate font size

and margins, excluding

Works Cited).

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