frankenstein study guide ch. 1

Frankenstein Ch. 1-4 Discussion Guide
Directions: Answer the following questions in complete sentences.
Letters 1-4:
1. Walton calls the North Pole the “country of eternal light” (Shelley 1). Light is an
important symbol in the novel. Think about this carefully—what is Walton’s quest and
how could it be similar to Frankenstein’s? Based on this, what do you think light might
2. What does Walton mean when he says he “shall kill no albatross” (Shelley 7)? What
work is this an allusion to (check your background notes)? Why would this be a fitting
allusion in Frankenstein?
Ch. 1:
3. Victor says of his parents: “I was their plaything and their idol, and something better—
their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by Heaven, whom to
bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or
misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me” (Shelley 19). According to
Victor, what is a parent’s responsibility toward his/her child? Be specific.
Ch. 2:
4. What is Victor’s principle desire as a child? How could this be foreshadowing the fate
that befalls him?
Ch. 3:
5. Which professor does Victor favor—Krempe or Waldman. Look carefully at his
description and explanation of both men. Specifically, why does he prefer one over the
Ch. 4:
6. Look at the 8th paragraph in Chapter 4 (the one that begins with “No one can conceive the
variety of feelings which bore me onwards”). What three reasons does Victor give for
creating the creature?
7. Using your background notes, explain the literary allusion in the following quote: “Who
shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of
the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay” (Shelley 39). What
work does this quote allude to? Why would this allusion be fitting for the character of