Obsession

  • an ‘over-focus’ on a goal; the goal takes over your life; it consumes an abnormal amount of your time, energy and attention
  • the novel deals with the dangers of obsession; Victor is so consumed with the idea of creating the monster (life) that he isolates himself; and even becomes ill
  • Mary Shelley’s theme is that obsession is harmful to you and those you love

Responsibility

  • the concept that we must take care of the things we make, and that we are accountable for our actions; we must be prepared to face the consequences
  • the novel deals with Victor’s inability (or unwillingness) to accept responsibility for the monster
  • if we don’t take care of what we create (life) we are at risk of creating monsters in our society

Alienation

  • a sense of not belonging to a community or lacking a sense of one’s own self
  • the Creature in the novel constantly seeks to connect to someone
  • tries to fit in with human society and is rejected
  • is also rejected by Victor, his ‘father’
  • Victor refuses to make the Creature a partner, someone who would accept him, and thereby condemns the Creature to a life of solitude

Guilt

  • not only being responsible for committing an offence, but feeling remorseful for having done the offence
  • in the novel, it is not only that characters feel guilt, but why they feel it
  • there are many circumstances when characters feel guilt or remorse for their actions (or inaction)
  • what the characters do about that remorse is what is important

Egoism/Pride

  • a belief that self-interest should be the prime motivation for all conduct
  • pride is a positive characteristic as long as it does not become destructive to the individual or others
  • in the novel, there are three characters who suffer from egoism or foolish pride:  R. Walton, Beaufort and Victor Frankenstein
  • in the novel, those who are motivated by egoism or pride and do not change their ways meet a disastrous end
READ:
Jack London’s To Build a Fire: Themes

Family

  • the structure of family and value of shared and loving intimacy to be given, and received, in family life
  • there are various types of family relationships in the novel; some traditional, others not
  • sibling bonds are very important
  • the father-son relationship that should exist between Victor and the Creature does not

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