Frankenstein- An Exploration

This post details the activtities that our class did while reading Frankenstein.

As we read the novel, Frankenstein, we are plotting Victor’s journey through Europe. Below is a fantastic map to show the class where Victor ends up travelling to throughout the novel:

The journey of Victor Frankenstein.

As we move through the novel, we are stopping to discuss key moments and extracts from the text. Below are some snapshots of our classroom whiteboard or tasks that we have completed where we dissect quotations from the book to better understand the language of the text. We are also looking for reoccurring ideas.

Once we had read the letters, we stopped to discuss what we had read and how this section of the text sets up the foundational ideas of the text.
We then went on to meet our protagonist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. We discussed the idea of a ‘God Complex’ which commonly appears in the gothic protagonist.

We also tried a post it note task which went really well. The students mentioned they liked the chance to share their ideas without putting their voice to it. We will work on getting such rich responses verbally. Below you will find the quotation that the class thought about in relation to the question: what warning is Victor giving the reader? Their post it note responses can be found below the quotation.

Learn from me…at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”

Frankenstein, Volume 1, Chapter 4


The creature comes to life in literally the blink of an eye. One moment it is a collection of body parts in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, the next it is a moving pile of limbs so vile that even its creator runs away from it.

Following a mental breakdown from the protagonist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the real action of the story begins. Many people have a warped version of Frankenstein, believing it is a story of creation. In reality, as we are learning in our classroom, it is a tale of the effects of fear and revenge.

Once Victor returns home to the death of his younger brother and family friend, the Creature appears again. This time, it can tell its side of the story. After meeting our antagonist for the second time, we spent some time discussing who he is via our post it note discussion. For this task, we brainstormed some of the things that we attribute to the Creature and then the students wrote down quotations that connected these observations with the text.

The red writing are the quotations that I added to the discussion while the class found theirs.


As we have heard the Creature’s story, we have discussed as a class how sorry we feel for him. Given the first person narration, we are privy to his inner thoughts and we feel the hurt he feels at the rejection he experiences.

The Creature’s initial beginnings. He learns and develops as you might expect a child to.
Now we are coming to the end of the Creature’s story and he is reflecting on the hatred he feels for humankind. The class has decided this is not undeserved.

The class is now reading Frankenstein independently, both in and out of class. Some students are using an audiobook to keep up with this. I am providing a guideline using the chapters so that students know where they should be up to with their reading to avoid falling behind.

As students read, I am providing them with some key quotations which we fall into the elements of the story we have previously discussed as a class. They are also summarising the chapters on their timeline of events to keep track of the action.

A shot of our classroom whiteboard and how we are running with our novel study at this point.

As the class moves towards the home stretch, I tried something new and pitched some questions to them that covered the highlights of the beginning of Volume Three:

A key event arises in this section of the text: Victor’s decision to break his promise to the Creature and not create a female mate for him.

Why does Victor make this decision when he previously promised the  Creature he would do it? Support your answer with a quotation. 

The quotation below is possibly one of the most famous of the novel:

…I am fearless and therefore powerful.”

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Volume Three

What does the Creature mean when he says this? What treatment has he experienced earlier in the text that possibly makes him fearless? Why might a lack of fear make him  feel powerful?

Victor reflects a lot on his choices in these chapters. He states that he does “not (want) to fall before my enemy without a bitter struggle.”

What strengthens Victor’s resolve to fight against the Creature?

The Creature believes that in order to punish Victor and make him feel miserable, he must kill off his family and friends.

What experiences has the Creature had that may have contributed to this  point of view? What does he (the Creature) believe makes a person the most miserable being in exsistance?

The class is now completing the novel on their own. Some are reading the novel and listening to a copy of the audiobook which we found here. Others are very content to read silently on their own. Students are expected to keep adding to their timelines if this is a task that helps them to keep track of the action occurring in each chapter. We are expecting to be finished with our reading of Frankenstein by Friday the 15th of March. From there we will move into our analysis of the novel, some of which we have done during the reading process. You can find the analysis activities that we will be using at our new blog post: Frankenstein- An Analysis.

Posted by Renee Plunkett

Teacher of English at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, New Zealand.

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