The Frankenstein Application Essay

Literary works like Frankenstein explore the “human condition” or experiences that humans encounter. The study guides for Frankenstein offer several “Real Life Considerations” meant to help you critically analyze the applications of the work’s themes in today’s world. Now, you will choose one of these topics and explore it using secondary resources to learn more about the novel and its relevant social topics. You might find information about social issues in familiar sources such as magazines, newspapers, or social science journals. Make sure your sources are credible—you do not want a random website or an encyclopedic website such as Wikipedia.2 Your sources will preferably be a scholarly ones. Here are some ideas of places where you might find appropriate sources for this assignment: ? Internet Public Library: http://www.ipl.org/ ? Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/ (note that this is different from regular Google) ?
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The Frankenstein Application Essay
For this assignment you will write your Frankenstein1 application 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 grader feedback, along with the
course lessons and your own ideas, to revise your optional draft prior to submitting the
required final copy.
Literary works like Frankenstein explore the “human condition” or experiences that humans
encounter. The study guides for Frankenstein offer several “Real Life Considerations” meant to
help you critically analyze the applications of the work’s themes in today’s world. Now, you will
choose one of these topics and explore it using secondary resources to learn more about the
novel and its relevant social topics. You might find information about social issues in familiar
sources such as magazines, newspapers, or social science journals. Make sure your sources are
credible—you do not want a random website or an encyclopedic website such as Wikipedia.2
Your sources will preferably be a scholarly ones. Here are some ideas of places where you might
find appropriate sources for this assignment:
?
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Internet Public Library: http://www.ipl.org/
Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/ (note that this is different from regular Google)
Microsoft Academic Search: http://academic.research.microsoft.com/
Cornell University’s arXiv (open access sources in math, biology, physics, and other fields):
http://arxiv.org/
Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE): http://www.base-search.net/
Your local library
Your thesis statement and paper must address both the literary qualities and the social issues
as you evaluate the novel, Frankenstein. However, keep in mind, your essay does not have to
answer ALL of the questions listed under each topic. Only answer the questions you feel are the
most relevant to the thesis statement you choose. Develop your essay so it has a clear
introduction, body, and conclusion. Ensure that each of your claims is supported with valid
evidence from the novel, Frankenstein, and at least three other credible external sources.3
Using proper MLA style, insert parenthetical citations and signal phrases for all borrowed
information in addition to a Works Cited page for Frankenstein and your chosen external
sources.
You have several options for this assignment:
1
Remember to italicize titles of books. Thus, if you are referring to this book’s title, you should italicize it as
Frankenstein. However, if you are talking about Frankenstein the character, it will not be italicized (e.g., Victor
Frankenstein is the main character in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.)
2
Tip: Part of your grade will be assessed based on credibility of your sources.
3
Failure to use the minimum source requirement will constitute a severe point deduction.
Option #1: Can science go too far?
There is an ongoing battle between faith or spirituality and science that has been active even
before the time of Mary Shelley. What are some of the dilemmas she addresses that are still
important today? What are some of the ethical questions she brings up regarding the
scientific definition of life and death? What does she illustrate about the power science has
to blur the line between life and death? What is a current news item that is similar to this
issue?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address ethical issues of science and/or faith for audiences, regardless
of when they read the novel?”
Option #2: Discovery
Both Frankenstein and Walton are trying to discover something important to them. What
parts of their real lives drive them to discovery? Does that drive still exist today? While we’ve
mapped the globe, are there still geographical places for people to explore? In science, are
people still trying to discover the meaning of life, how to save life, and how to defeat death?
What methods do they use? Are there better ways to accomplish these goals than others?
What are some of today’s motivations for discovery?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address human discovery as a theme?”
Option #3: World Perception and Prejudice
Reread the paragraph where the creature describes the book from which Felix teaches Safie.
It begins: “The book from which Felix instructed Safie was Volney’s Ruins of Empires…”
What are some of the perceptions and prejudices from the book that Felix teaches Safie?
How have these perceptions and prejudices changed, if they have, in today’s society? What
are some present day situations and references that may claim a lack of prejudice or an
open-mindedness, but, in fact, are still very prejudiced, racist, sexist, etc.? Why do you think
these situations still happen? Can anything be done about it?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address human prejudice in the world throughout time?”
Option #4: Personal Perception
It could be argued that the creature did not consider itself a monster and didn’t do awful
things until people treated him like a monster. What are some real world instances in which
people’s actions could be a reaction to abuse from others? Who do you feel is accountable in
these situations? Why?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address the effect of peer perceptions on personal development?”
Option #5: Death and Suicide
At the end of the book, the creature promises to destroy himself. Is this a justifiable end for
him? Could he have been redeemed? Would he have had a place in the world of Shelley’s
novel? How could this relate to current-day issues like suicide or the death penalty?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address the value of an individual’s life and death?”
Option #6: Nature vs. Nurture
The creature argues that had someone properly guided him, he would not have been so
wretched. Frankenstein4 argues that the creature was evil to begin with, so it would have
been useless to teach him at all. What are some current debates – especially in education –
where these kinds of arguments still arise? How much of behavior do you think is based on
nature (how a person IS) and how much is based on nurture (what a person LEARNS or
EXPERIENCES)? What examples from the present support your opinion? What do you feel is
the truth? Why?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley’s Frankenstein address existing personality traits versus how a person is taught to
act?”
Option #7: Feminism
The feminist perspective is often explored in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. How are the
women characters treated in the novel? What perceptions of women did Shelley use and
comment on? How did she handle the theme of motherhood?
Hint: Develop a thesis that answers a question like this one: “How and how well does Mary
Shelley incorporate responses to feminist issues into the novel, Frankenstein?”
The guidelines for this assignment are as follows:
4
It is a common misperception that the creature is named Frankenstein. Keep in mind that the creature itself is not
Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein is the human protagonist in the novel. The creature, or monster, is Victor’s
creation.
Length: This assignment should be at least 750 words.
Header: Include a header in the upper left-hand corner of your writing assignment with the
following information:
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Your first and last name
Course Title (Composition II)
Assignment name (Frankenstein Application Essay)
Current Date
Format:
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MLA-style source documentation and Works Cited5
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.
5
This resource may be helpful as you are making MLA formatting decisions:
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/

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