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147 Frankenstein Essay Topics

🏆 best frankenstein essay topics, ✍️ frankenstein essay topics for college, 👍 good frankenstein research topics & essay examples, 🎓 most interesting frankenstein research paper topics, 💡 simple frankenstein essay titles, ❓ frankenstein essay questions, 📖 inspiring frankenstein thesis ideas.

  • Frankenstein as a Gothic Novel and an Example of Romanticism
  • The Modern Prometheus: Analysis of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Social Disapproval in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”
  • Shelley’s Frankenstein as “The Modern Prometheus”
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Masculinity and Feminism Theory
  • The Self-Identity Problem in Frankenstein
  • Isolation and Loneliness in Shelley’s “Frankenstein”
  • Humor and Suffering in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein In Shelley’s Frankenstein, suffering and humor interact as mutually reinforcing themes, making the work’s broader meaning related to encouraging compassion and moral excellence.
  • Companionship in “Frankenstein”: The Theme of Human Connection The purpose of this paper is to analyze the topic of human companionship in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and dwell upon the underlying ideas this theme reveals.
  • Frankenstein vs. Monster: Characters Comparison This paper claims that Frankenstein’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for the fate of his creation led to his excruciating psychological suffering.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bioethics Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein provides an explicit example of how playing God can be dangerous. Victor should not have created the monster, as he had no viable reason and right to do so
  • Responsibility in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” In Mary Shelley’s pen, a mad scientist’s quest for creation has a reckoning, where the shadows of responsibility loom large and the boundaries of life and death are shattered.
  • Importance of Relationships and Family in Frankenstein Frankenstein’s novel talks about different thematic outlooks relying on what the reader identifies as the thematic impact of their modern culture.
  • Injustice in Shelley’s Frankenstein and Milton’s Paradise Lost The monster created by Mary Shelley in Frankenstein and the character of Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost are obsessed with the idea of injustice and revenge.
  • Themes of Knowledge and Family in Shelley’s Frankenstein This paper examines the themes of knowledge and family comprehensively to illustrate how Shelley’s narrative of Frankenstein relates to the nineteenth century.
  • Frankenstein: A Child in the Form of the Monster Viewing the creature Frankenstein as a child will reveal that he is a victim rather than a monster because he needed assistance to meet social norms.
  • Romeo, Juliet, Ishmael Beah, and Victor Frankenstein This article presents the script for a play dedicated to the adventures of Romeo, Juliet, Ishmael Beah, and Victor Frankenstein.
  • “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and “Lord of the flies” by William Golding share the research on how the environment influences people and their inner nature.
  • Societal Monsters in Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” A special consideration requires different interpretations of social fear in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, Chinua Achebe’s literary masterpiece Things Fall Apart.
  • Themes in “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley Frankenstein is one of the greatest books of the nineteenth century. Shelley explores many topics in her work that reflect social and philosophical aspects.
  • Who Is the Monster, or Who Are the Monsters, in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley? Primary healthcare is meeting the needs of the population (each person, family, and community) by providing medical services at the first contact with the health system.
  • Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Monster’s Description The purpose of this paper is to discuss the main characteristics of the image of the monster and understand what the author put into this image.
  • Frankenstein vs. Paradise Lost The main similarity between Adam and Frankenstein’s monster is that they both were created and both disappointed their creators.
  • Prejudice and Lost Innocence in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” raises quite a number of disturbing themes that still hold relevance for modern society.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus addresses conventional romantic themes like isolation and beauty of nature.
  • English Literature: Frankenstein by Shelley Victor Frankenstein grew up in a wealthy Swiss family. As a young man, he became interested in science and especially the theory of what gives and takes life from human beings.
  • Great Fictional Icons in the Nineteenth Century: Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” Frankenstein is rendered in opulent Gothic prose. It delves into the intricacies of the human mind and reflects on the ambitions of man, his purpose and his relation to God.
  • Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” Novel Revision The well-known 1831 revision of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” has several meaningful differences from its original 1818 edition.
  • Predictions Regarding “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley I read the first 4 chapters of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I shall attempt to make a number of specific predictions about future story developments.
  • Frankenstein: An Interpretation of Outstanding Novel The tale of Frankenstein’s monster demonstrates the significance of humanism as the ultimate ethical stance regarding interpersonal interactions.
  • The “Frankenstein” Novel by Mary Shelly Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” is a novel characterized by complex themes related to humans’ desires to assume the roles of creators and the portrayal of outcasts in society.
  • Chapters 1-4 of “Frankenstein” and Suggestion of Future Events “Frankenstein” is the dramatic story of a scientist whose enthusiasm for science led to terrible consequences and personal misfortune.
  • Frankenstein Mythology and Paleontology: Comparison The thirst for knowledge is universal for many scientific fields, but the novel “Frankenstein” by Shelley illustrates how it may carry one astray.
  • “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the monster is the creation of Victor Frankenstein that was assembled from old body parts and unknown chemicals.
  • Communication with the Audience in Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” Mary Shelly is trying to convey the information that while technology and science have an essential part in human life, the two can only go as far.
  • Feminist Connotations in Shelley’s “Frankenstein” Mary Shelley has cleverly and effectively integrated feminist connotations within the story of “Frankenstein”.
  • Analyzing “Frankenstein” Written by Mary Shelly Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelly, is among the most well-known gothic novels, combining scientific and fantastic elements.
  • Concept of the Monster in Frankenstein The paper discusses that the Monster in Frankenstein can be described as a metaphor for the relationship between humans and gods.
  • The Novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley The Novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley raises a number of questions, each defined by a difficult choice to take into consideration.
  • The Book “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley Mary Shelley’s novel about Frankenstein and his Creature reveals many human vices and cruelty. There is also a place in the story for love and remorse.
  • Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley was first published in 1818. John Wilson Croker’s review, published right after the novel was released, was negative.
  • “Frankenstein” Story Retold by Anna Meriano “Frankenstein” by Anna Meriano, is a fancy, captivating retelling of the worldwide known legend, the story of a creature seeking love that began in the writings of Mary Shelly.
  • Shelley’s “Frankenstein”: Analysis of Frankenstein’s Character The story about Frankenstein and his monster raises many questions. People cannot decide what is more important in making a person, nature or nurture.
  • The Monsters We Create: Analyzing Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” “Frankenstein” addresses some of the crucial issues of scientific exploration and the juxtaposition of nature and human nature, as well as being a metaphor for ostracism.
  • Themes Raised in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley In Frankenstein, Shelly addresses numerous themes such as prejudice, revenge, society and isolation, nature, and death, to name just a few.
  • Analiz work “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a world-famous novel about an ambitious scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who finds out the secret of life and creates a monstrous creature from old body parts.
  • The Science Debate: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, appeared at a time when the science fiction genre was only at the initial stage of its emergence and development.
  • The Modern Prometheus: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Almost two centuries have passed since the first publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Today, the monster created by Victor Frankenstein is a well-recognized character.
  • Science in Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Condorcet’s Works This paper compares Condorcet’s opinion on human happiness and the destruction of prejudice in science with Shelley’s perspective on the role of science in human life.
  • Mary Shelley’s Novel Frankenstein Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein can be used for discussing the limitations of human knowledge, the inability of a person to foresee the long-term effects of one’s actions
  • Frankenstein and His Use of Science
  • Frankenstein: Abandonment, Loneliness, and Rejection
  • Frankenstein and Human Nature
  • The Debate Between Fate and Free Will in Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein and King Lear: A Look Into Religion, Politics, and Literature
  • Frankenstein and Male Reproduction
  • Emotion Over Reason: Frankenstein and the Great Gatsby
  • Frankenstein and Genetic Modification
  • Frankenstein and the Human Mind
  • Creature and Victor Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein and Natural Order
  • Doctor Frankenstein’s International Organization
  • Feminine Nature and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein: Embryonic Stem Cell and Curiosity
  • The Creative Symbolism Woven Into Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein and the Romantic Era
  • Frankenstein and His Creation Gone Wrong: Who Is the Real Victim Anyway
  • Frankenstein: Aesthetics and Memory Box
  • Discovering the True Nature of Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein Less Human Than His Creation
  • Frankenstein and Percy Shelley’s Moral Science
  • Frankenstein and Unforeseen Consequence
  • Family Values and Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein: Cultural Criticism Critique
  • Frankenstein and Secret Waiting
  • Biblical Adam and the Creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein and the Modern Pandora
  • Frankenstein and His Creature Are the Same People
  • Euthanasia and Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein and the Industrial Revolution
  • Frankenstein and Gothic Literature
  • Destiny and Frankenstein
  • Comparing Candide and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein and Societal Norms
  • Birth Traumas and Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein Challenging Extreme Romantic and Enlightenment
  • Comparing Frankenstein, Aylmer, and Dr. Phillips
  • Existence Issues Surrounding Frankenstein’s Monster
  • Family Relations and Alienation in Frankenstein
  • Symbolism and Autobiographical Elements in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein and Science
  • The Characters, Conflict, and Plot in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Frankenstein and His Monster
  • Frankenstein Explain How the Character of the Monster Develops
  • Dangerous Knowledge Was All Throughout the Novel Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein and the Effects of Isolation
  • Frankenstein: Lust, Love, and Sin
  • Exploring the Many Themes in the Novel Frankenstein
  • Byronic Hero: Manfred and Frankenstein
  • Sympathy for the Monster in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Faust and Victor Frankenstein: Unconcerned With Reality
  • Does Frankenstein Deserve His Fate?
  • Frankenstein and Rur: Depiction of Human Behavior
  • Frankenstein and Human Cloning
  • Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the Artificial Life
  • Frankenstein and the Role of Parents in the Process of Childs Development
  • Frankenstein and Blade Runner: Disruption and Identity
  • Ecocriticism and Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein Being More Human Than Monster
  • Frankenstein and Blade Runner: Dangerous Implications of Scientific and Technological Development
  • What Is the Specter of Orality in “Frankenstein”?
  • What Are the Approaches to Teaching Shelley’s “Frankenstein”?
  • What Is the Dilemma of Creator and Creation in “Frankenstein”?
  • What Is the Narrative Structure and Reader Skepticism in “Frankenstein”?
  • How Godlike Science and Unhallowed Arts Are Depicted in “Frankenstein”?
  • How the Character of the Monster Develops in “Frankenstein”?
  • What Is the Significance of the Birthing Scene in “Frankenstein”?
  • Which Story Is More Terrifying: “Dracula” or “Frankenstein”?
  • How Does Isolation Play a Big Role in the Novel “Frankenstein”?
  • How Does Mary Shelley Convey Horror to the Reader in “Frankenstein”?
  • What Is the Main Conflict in Frankenstein?
  • How Does Mary Shelley Explore Suffering in “Frankenstein”?
  • How Does the Language in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” Reflect Its Gothic Genre?
  • How Forbidden Topics Are Transferred as Gothic in “Frankenstein”?
  • What Are the Female Roles and Responsibilities in “Frankenstein”?
  • What Does Light and Fire Represent in “Frankenstein”?
  • What Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” Suggests About Parenting?
  • Who Was Mary Shelley and What Inspired “Frankenstein”?
  • Why Does “Frankenstein” Begin and End With Walton’s Letters
  • What Is the Historical Background of “Frankenstein”?
  • What Are the Major Themes in “Frankenstein”?
  • What Philosophers Influenced “Frankenstein” and How?
  • How Does “Frankenstein” Relate to the Real World?
  • What Is the Philosophy of “Frankenstein”?
  • How Does “Frankenstein” Represent the Enlightenment?
  • What Is the Main Idea of the Introduction of “Frankenstein”?
  • What Is the Last Line of “Frankenstein” and What Does It Mean?
  • The Sympathetic Monster Trope Discuss the trope of the sympathetic monster and its impact on readers’ perceptions of the creature.
  • Critical Analysis of Victor Frankenstein’s God Complex Examining how Victor Frankenstein’s scientific ambitions intersect with notions of playing God and the ethical implications of his actions in the context of romanticism.
  • Mary Shelley’s Feminist Vision Analyzing how Mary Shelley’s personal experiences and beliefs are reflected in the novel’s themes, particularly those related to women’s roles and autonomy.
  • Frankenstein in Popular Culture Revealing the enduring influence of “Frankenstein” on literature, film, and other forms of media, and its portrayal in various adaptations.
  • The Gothic and Romantic Elements Discussing the incorporation of gothic and romantic literary elements in “Frankenstein” and their contribution to its overall atmosphere.
  • Religious and Moral Parallels Exploring the novel’s intersections with spiritual and moral themes, including the creation narrative and the concept of playing God.
  • Ethics of Scientific Discovery Investigating the ethical responsibilities of scientists in pursuit of knowledge, drawing parallels to contemporary discussions on scientific ethics.
  • Narrative Structure and Multiple Perspectives Assessing the use of multiple narrative perspectives and their impact on understanding the story’s themes and characters.
  • Eco-Critical Readings of “Frankenstein” Exploring environmental and ecological themes in the novel and their relevance to contemporary eco-critical discussions.
  • Enlightenment Ideas and Romantic Critique Analyzing how “Frankenstein” engages with Enlightenment ideals of progress and reason and the romantic critique of these ideals.

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These essay examples and topics on Frankenstein were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

This essay topic collection was updated on June 22, 2024 .

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

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How does the creature’s revenge against Frankenstein ultimately lead to Frankenstein becoming like the creature?

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What is the role of women in the novel? Consider Elizabeth, Justine, Safie, Agatha, and even Robert’s sister Margaret. How does their passivity demonstrate 19th-century ideals for women?

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Frankenstein: Essay Topics & Samples

Choosing such a masterpiece to write about is a wise choice. Mary Shelley wasn’t even going to create this novel, so it is fair enough to doubt whether there is anything to analyze at all.

However, there are so many ideas for essay topics about Frankenstein ! The most prominent questions relate to moral values, gender inequality, power, and isolation.

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts is here to help you if you don’t know what to write about or have an abundance of choices. Check out the following list of 10 Frankenstein essay prompts that might inspire you to create an ideal paper.

  • 💡 Essay Topics
  • ✒️ Essay Samples

💡 Frankenstein: Essay Topics

  • Who is the actual Monster in Frankenstein ? When referring to Mary Shelley’s work, some people mistakenly think that Frankenstein is the name of the Monster. However, it can give some food for thought. Isn’t Victor the real creature of evil in this story ? The essay on who the real Monster in Frankenstein might cause a debate!
  • The role of women in Frankenstein . You may write an essay about feminism in Frankenstein by looking at the female characters’ role in the book. You might have noticed that women are described as strong individuals. They can endure any challenge and overcome significant losses in their lives.
  • Consider an essay on romanticism in Frankenstein . Even in such a dark novel, romantic motifs are hiding between death scenes. Mary Shelly refers to poetry quite a lot in the book. Your task would be to trace this connection and analyze the influence of romanticism on the story.
  • Frankenstein as a warning about the dark sides of science. In this Frankenstein analysis essay, you should focus on science’s power and how it can be destructive. Nowadays, scientists are eager to achieve the same aim to create life. However, is it safe to play Gods this way? What may be the consequences?
  • Victor Frankenstein : antagonist or protagonist? At first, the reader would assume that the Monster represents all the evil in this world. Later, however, he seems to be only a mere victim. Write this essay about Victor Frankenstein’s character analysis. Is he a real villain after what he’s done?
  • The theme of loneliness in Frankenstein . It seems like Victor simply can’t accept his responsibility for the Monster’s loneliness. They both become isolated by one means or another. Compliment your writing with strong arguments to prove your point. Don’t forget that using quotes is a great strategy that would be extremely useful in this Frankenstein essay.
  • What are the fears of Mary Shelley hiding in Frankenstein ? Analyze the novel thoroughly to find its hidden meaning. There are themes of life and death, as well as the speeded up technological development. Some of them are the fears of the authors that may be relevant up to nowadays.
  • Frankenstein : human ambition vs. nature. After reading the book, the reader finds Victor guilty of going against nature. But isn’t it what humans have been doing for centuries now? Where is the line? Have we crossed it yet? In this Frankenstein essay example, you are invited to look at the novel as a warning.
  • Mary Shelley’s Monster: why do we tend to sympathize with him? In his desire for freedom from loneliness, the Monster tends to complain a lot. However, we don’t perceive his words as whining. We pity him as an abandoned creature destined to suffer. What makes it so easy to sympathize with him?
  • The theme of sickness in Frankenstein . Most of the main characters in the novel get unwell. The worst case is Victor’s recurring sickness. Admittedly, it is the result of the enormous amounts of stress he faces. What is the role of this element, though? Is he trying to escape the problems this way? Discuss these questions in your Frankenstein essay.

✒️ Frankenstein: Essay Samples

Below you’ll find a collection of Frankenstein essay examples. Use them for inspiration!

  • Human Companionship in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”
  • The Science Debate: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • The Modern Prometheus: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Injustice in Shelley’s Frankenstein and Milton’s Paradise Lost
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Key Themes
  • The Family Relationship in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • “Young Frankenstein” by Mel Brooks
  • The Modern Prometheus: Analysis of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
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Frankenstein Study Guide

Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist, creates a human-like creature in the course of a scientific experiment. But the beast murders his family and runs away. Science, religion, moral values, and persistence: which qualities make up a real human being? This Frankenstein Study Guide answers all your questions about the novel....

Frankenstein Summary

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts contains all you need to know about the Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein summary: a plot infographic of the book and a detailed description of the novel’s chapters. ❗ Frankenstein: Plot Summary Mary Shelley’s most famous novel is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. It tells the tragic...

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Character List

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts contains the description of Frankenstein’s characters: Victor Frankenstein character traits, the Monster, Robert Walton, Henry Clerval, and others. In the first section, you’ll find a Frankenstein character map. 🗺️ Frankenstein: Character Map Below you’ll find a character map of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. 👨‍🔬 Victor...

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Themes

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts provides an explanation of the themes of Frankenstein. The core issues represented in Mary Shelley’s book are: dangerous knowledge, nature, isolation, monstrosity, and revenge. Keep reading to learn more about the theme of Frankenstein for your class or essay! 🔑 What Are the Major Themes...

Symbols in Frankenstein

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts explains the symbolism in Frankenstein. The key symbols used by Shelley are fire and light. 🔥 Fire in Frankenstein Let’s start with the fact that the novel’s full title is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. It is not a coincidence. We can draw a parallel...

The Yellow Wallpaper Essay Topics & Samples

At some point in your studying, you might be asked to produce “The Yellow Wallpaper” analysis essay. Well, if you’re reading this, you have already received this task! Let’s start by choosing a suitable topic to write about. This article by Custom-Writing.org experts contains “The Yellow Wallpaper” essay topics, “The...

The Yellow Wallpaper Characters

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts contains all the information about The Yellow Wallpaper’s characters: the narrator, John, Mary, and Jennie. At the end of the article, you’ll learn who Jane is and how she’s related to The Yellow Wallpaper’s main character. 🗺️ The Yellow Wallpaper: Character Map Below you’ll find...

The Yellow Wallpaper Themes

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts provides a wide-ranging and diverse explanation of The Yellow Wallpaper’s themes. The core issues represented in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story are gender roles, mental illness, and freedom. Although the writer speaks about her own time, these themes are just as relevant today, if not...

Symbols & Literary Devices in The Yellow Wallpaper

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts contains a comprehensive analysis of literary devices in “The Yellow Wallpaper”: color symbolism, personification, point of view used by Gilman, foreshadowing, and an explanation of the ending’s meaning. 🌈 The Yellow Wallpaper: Symbolism How unfortunate is it that a woman has a mental breakdown just...

The Yellow Wallpaper Summary

This article by Custom-Writing.org experts contains all you need to know about the events in “The Yellow Wallpaper”: a short summary, a plot infographic, and a detailed description of the story’s entries. In the first section, you’ll find a synopsis of what happened in “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins...

The Metamorphosis: Essay Topics & Samples

The Metamorphosis is one of Kafka’s best-known books. It is also one of the most intricate literary pieces in world literature. This is why coming up with an excellent The Metamorphosis essay topic can be challenging. The following list can help you to get started. See if any of these...

The Metamorphosis: Symbols

Since its publication in 1915, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis puzzled readers and critics all over the world. The story centers around Gregor Samsa’s transformation into a gigantic insect. The situation is both surreal and unusual. However, the writer proceeds with the story in a realistic manner. Nevertheless, there is a lot...

The Whole Collection of Frankenstein Essay Topics

The history of “Frankenstein” refers to those stories about which everyone has heard, but what is the essence? We often do not actually know. For example, many, referring to the story of Mary Shelley, think that Frankenstein is a fairy monster, while others believe that he is the creator of a monster. In fact, the story of Mary Shelley is just a sad omen of what is happening in the twentieth century.

“Frankenstein” is a popular novel and usually students are assigned to write essays on it. If you face this problem, then we are here to help you by providing “Frankenstein” essay topics. These topics can be used to write an essay or any other academic paper, and you can read them through and come up with your own ideas.

Frankenstein essay questions

  • What are the moral implications of creating life, and how does Frankenstein prompt a philosophical analysis of the responsibilities of a creator?
  • How does Mary Shelley utilize elements of the sublime in Frankenstein to evoke fear and awe in the reader?
  • To what extent does the creature’s identification with Satan, influenced by Paradise Lost, contribute to the themes portrayed in Frankenstein?
  • How does the historical context of the French Revolution shape the themes of justice and retribution presented in Frankenstein?
  • How does Frankenstein engage with questions of God, creation, and the human soul from the scope of religion and spirituality?
  • How does Mary Shelley’s novel interpret the themes of rebellion and its consequences seen in the classical Promethean myth in Frankenstein?
  • How does gaining new knowledge influence the characters’ perceptions of themselves and the world in Frankenstein?
  • What does Frankenstein channel about the dangers of unchecked scientific advancement through its critique of scientific ethics?
  • How does Frankenstein engage with the themes of individualism, emotion, and the sublime, characteristic of the Romantic era?
  • What commentary does Frankenstein provide on exploiting nature and human beings for personal gain and ambition through the novel’s portrayal of colonialism and imperialism?

Analytical essay topics for Frankenstein

  • Analyze the theme of loneliness in the novel “Frankenstein.”
  • Analyze the nature of the betrayal and show how it contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole.
  • Analyze Mary Shelley’s depiction of women in “Frankenstein.” How does she make them seem passive or submissive?
  • Why is Frankenstein’s monster never given a name?
  • Analyze how Frankenstein’s monster is responsible for the characters’ deaths.
  • How does Mary Shelly write “Frankenstein” as her interpretation of how far humanity has steered away from the righteous path?
  • Analyze the historical relevance of “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley focusing upon examples of the ideas concerning the reactions to the historical movements of the enlightenment, industrial revolution, and romanticism. Give examples of all three movements.
  • Analyze the romantic elements of “Frankenstein.”
  • Analyze philosophy in “Frankenstein.”
  • Why does the author describe all women characters passive and self-sacrificing in the novel?
  • “Woman has ovaries, a uterus: these peculiarities imprison her in her subjectivity, circumscribe her within the limits of her nature” (quote by Simone de Beauvoir). How can we use this statement, and de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, more generally in “Frankenstein”?
  • Who is more human, the monster or Frankenstein?
  • What is revealed through symbolism, setting, and dialogue?
  • Analyze motivations of the characters in “Frankenstein.”
  • What does light and fire symbolize in the novel?

Compare and contrast Frankenstein paper topics

  • It has been suggested in Gothic literature that “obsession leads to destruction.” Compare and contrast Shelley and Wilde’s presentation of Victor in “Frankenstein” and Dorian in “A Picture of Dorian Grey” in light of this view.
  • Compare “Frankenstein” and “A Sound of Thunder” and 1 Samuel 28 King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.
  • Compare “Frankenstein” and “The Mysteries of Udolpho.”
  • Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Robert Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Compare and contrast the two novels in relation to this Stephen King quote: “Horror appeals to us because it says, in a symbolic way, things we would be afraid to say right out straight, with the bark still on; it offers us a chance to exercise (that’s right; not exorcise but exercise) emotions which society demands we keep closely in hand.”
  • Compare “Frankenstein” and “The Handmaids Tale.”
  • Compare the “Frankenstein” film and book.
  • Compare “Frankenstein” in artwork and film.
  • Compare Victor Frankenstein and the monster. Consider their relationships with nature, desire for family, etc.
  • Compare maturity in “Frankenstein,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Beowulf.”
  • Compare “Frankenstein” and “Perfume:The Story of a Murderer.”
  • Compare the isolation of Frankenstein with Ebeneezer Scrooge in “Christmas Carol.”
  • Both Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” (1818) and H.G. Wells’ novel “The Time Machine” (1895) feature a scientist as the primary protagonist. Discuss the representation of the scientist in both novels.
  • Compare and contrast “Frankenstein” (the book by Mary Shelley) psychologically or historically using three scholarly articles (two articles to compare and one article to contrast).
  • Compare and contrast the movie “The Martian” with Mary Shelley’s book “Frankenstein.”
  • Compare between Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Nathaniel Hawthorn’s “The Birthmark.”
  • Victor Frankenstein and Beowulf are two protagonists that allowed their ambition to rule them. Discuss the differences and similarities between these two characters, and how their ambitions shaped not only their fate but also the outcome of the stories.

Descriptive essay topics for Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

  • Describe how this book could have been considered offensive and not liked by religious folk.
  • Describe “Frankenstein” as romanticism.
  • Describe feminist theory in “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley.
  • Describe the influence “Frankenstein” has had in pop culture and science.
  • Describe Victor as the modern Prometheus.
  • Describe the idea of exploration in the novel, and how it illuminates characters.
  • Describe to what extent Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” inspired James Whale’s 1930s film “Frankenstein.”
  • Describe how Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” alludes to the myth of Prometheus?
  • Describe how Mary Shelly’s life experiences and the death of family members has shaped the overall story of “Frankenstein.”
  • Describe the ethical concerns Victor Frankenstein’s use of animal and human bodies might raise.
  • Describe Frankenstein’s creature and the responsibility for his fate.
  •  Describe the difference of the term “monstrosity” between Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created.
  • Describe the theme of kindness and compassion in “Frankenstein.”
  • Describe feminism in “Frankenstein.”
  • What is Victor’s greatest fear as he leaves for England? Describe the irony in his decision to continue.

Argumentative Frankenstein topics

  • Victor and the creature present radically different perspectives in the events of “Frankenstein.” Explain the primary ways their perspectives and arguments differ. Whose viewpoint do you support? Write an essay in which you support Victor’s argument.
  • How has “Frankenweenie,” a Tim Burton film, transformed Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” to appeal to modern audiences?
  • To what extent does “Frankenstein” support Mary Wollstonecraft’s claim that women were treated as inferior to men?
  • How is “Frankenstein” a romantic and horror novel?
  • How does Darwin, “Frankenstein,” and “Splice” characterize gender behavior and emotions from 1871 through today?
  • Is the creature’s demand for a female companion a valid request? Examine the pros and cons of Victor’s compliance. Consider evidence provided by both Victor and the creature.
  • What evidence suggests Victor feels responsibility for the murders? What evidence illustrates that he still blames the creature?
  • How is Victor’s view of the Scottish Orkney a reflection of his emotional state?
  • After watching his female companion torn to bits, the creature makes an eloquent defense and vows Victor will “repent of the injuries (he) inflicts.” Is the creature justified in his feelings? Why or why not? What is Shelley’s purpose in his defense?
  • After hearing of Clerval’s murder, Victor falls ill once again. In agony, he wonders, “Why did I not die?” What would your answer be? Is there a reason for his continued anguish?
  • For Victor and his father, what purpose would a quick marriage to Elizabeth serve? Discuss the impact on Elizabeth. What role does she continue to play? Does her death alter or perpetuate that role?
  • Discuss the irony in Victor’s statement to the magistrate: “Man, how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!”
  • What is the motivation behind Victor’s vow to find and destroy his creature? Has he learned any lessons?
  • How is Victor the true monster in “Frankenstein”?
  • Discuss the “humanity” of the monster in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

Persuasive essay topics

  • Is the creature in “Frankenstein” a zombie?
  • Examine the relationship between Victor Frankenstein and his monster. How do they interact and communicate with each other? What qualities do the characters have in common, or not?
  • How does “Frankenstein” rely on the ideas, beliefs, or issues circulated in other texts?
  • How does the creature of “Frankenstein” form the archetypal monster/horror character?
  • Why does Frankenstein create his creature?
  • How is “Frankenstein” both a romantic novel and a Gothic horror novel?
  • “Victor Frankenstein and the monster share the same personality: like father, like son.” Defend or attack this statement.
  • Does Frankenstein succeed in creating a “human” life form very much like God does?
  • Does Victor choose to be alienated because of his desire for knowledge?
  • Does “Frankenstein” present the value of the domestic circle?
  • Does Victor’s act of creation result in the destruction of everyone dear to him?
  • Does “Frankenstein” show that human beings are deeply ambitious?
  • How does the monster turn to revenge after it is abandoned and mistreated?
  • Do in the crises and suffering in “Frankenstein” result when imperfect men disturb nature’s perfection?
  • How is the power of nature depicted in “Frankenstein”?

If you are writing an essay on “Frankenstein” for the first time, then our “Frankenstein” essay topics will be a great help for you. If you paid attention to our topics, you can get a perfect theme for your essay, or even research paper or term paper. If you don’t even have a hint on how to write your paper, check out our blog for guides that describe how to write different types of papers in detail. Or hire an essay writer to help you with writing a unique paper.

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“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley Essay

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A summary of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

“Frankenstein” is a science fiction novel written by Mary Shelley. It revolves around a young boy named Victor Frankenstein who had an obsession with death and through this obsession he was able to create life from nothing. After creating life he is however terrified and disgusted of how it looks and he decides to abandon it without giving it a name as its physical appearance is scary and nothing at all as he expected.

He therefore tries to live a normal life and makes an effort to forget his own creation. Due to the abandonment the monster is left perplexed, annoyed and frightened. After his tiring work of creating human life, Victor falls ill and it takes four months for his youth friend to nurse him back to health. The monster then travels to Geneva and meets a little boy called William in the woods, where he hopes that the young boy who is not yet corrupted by the views of older people and the world will accept him as he is.

The monster is however wrong and when the Frankenstein sees it; he hurls invectives infuriating the monster. The monster however tries its best to talk to the boy but falls on deaf ears, the monster then covers the boy mouth to keep him quiet but this ends in the boy suffocating. Frankenstein receives a letter from his father stating that his younger brother is dead and that he was murdered. Despite the fact that this act was not intended, the monster took this as the first act of revenge towards his creator.

He places a necklace the boy was wearing on a sleeping girl, the nanny to the boy. Justine the boys nanny was tried and found guilty fro the murder and executed. When Frankenstein arrives he saw the creature in the woods and knew that the monster had killed his brother and placed his mother’s locket on the sleeping nanny.

Frankenstein, troubled and heavily burdened by anguish and self reproach for creating the monster that caused so much devastation, he flees to the mountains to find peace. After a while alone, the monster approaches Frankenstein, who tries to kill it. But the monster being physically bigger, stronger and more alert than his creator gets away and gives Frankenstein some time to cool off and compose himself.

The monster tells Frankenstein of its encounters with humans and how terrified it was of them. He spend a year observing a family from a cabin he was living in, this gave him more knowledge and self conscience concluding that his physical appearance was very different from the humans he was observing.

On revealing himself however, the humans rejected him and were horror struck by his appearance and reacted ferociously, a reaction that made the monster angrier and he seeks vengeance on his creator.

The monster demanded that Frankenstein create a female companion for him as it had the right to be happy. The monster promises that they will vanish into the wilderness and not bother any more about humans. Frankenstein however does not create a companion for the monster and destroys all the work he was doing.

The monster witnesses Frankenstein destroying his creation and vows to revenge on it. The monster murders Clerval and implicates Frankenstein. Frankenstein is acquitted and he returns home to marry his cousin Elizabeth, who is murdered on their wedding night by the monster as part of the monsters revenge.

Frankenstein father dies after this tragedy as he could not handle the tremendous loss of William, Justine, Clerval, and Elizabeth. Frankenstein vows to go after the monster and destroy it. They chase each other for several months and they end up in the North Pole where Frankenstein dies form illness and the monster mourns for Frankenstein justifying its revenge and expressing remorse. Afterwards, the monster travels further towards the pole to destroy itself so that nobody never finds out of it existence.

Comparing Shelley’s portrayal of the natural sciences in “Frankenstein” to her portrayal of other types of knowledge in that novel

According to Shelley, Frankenstein believed more in science than he did in humanity. His obsession with death from the time he was a young boy made him believe that he could eliminate death through science. This passion led him to pursue chemistry which became almost his sole purpose in life to use chemistry to create life and eliminate death. In the university, Frankenstein attempts to create life from nothing and he surprisingly manages to do so.

The only thing is his creation turns out not differently than he expected, the creature if gigantic and it horrifies him to look at. He sees it as an eyesore, a disgrace and the creature escape into the society leaving it at the mercy of humanity. The point at which the creature escapes brings in the humanity aspect in the novel (55-56).

However, after escaping into the society the creature is met with human hostility and feels rejected. The rejection forces the creature to vow revenge on his creator by killing all his close and loved ones (97). The creature carries out its vengeance on Frankenstein by killing his brother William, his friend Clerval and his wife Elizabeth (116).

The creature also mourns for Frankenstein after his death showing that it has a sensitive human side and then it goes of to kill itself as it terms and takes responsibility for causing the death of its creator. This shows that science and humanity came together in the creation and shaping of the creature. Science was used to bring the creature to life while humanity was used to shape how the creature interacted with people and how it handled its feelings and emotions. (173)

In Shelley’s view, science and humanities are separated by how they are carried out and how one comes into contact with them. Humanities take root when the creature observes a family from the woods learning to speak and also develop emotionally. If the creature had not observed the family then nurturing of the creature may have not taken place.

Science is preserved and maintained in the laboratory to make life from scratch while the humanities come into play as soon as the creature comes to life. Humanities take centre stage when the creature is first of all rejected by its creator and all other people follow suit.

This makes the creature feel as if he is not good enough and that it is its destiny to be alone without any companionship for eternity. This humanity in the creature forces it to go back to his creator to demand that he creates a companion but this turns out badly as Frankenstein does not go through with it (114). Humanity in this novel is also seen when Frankenstein experiences death of his loved ones that eventually pushed him to the scientific notion of creating life.

Frankenstein’s mother’s death and his father’s professor rebuking him fro reading trash which was in essence lightning that had destroyed a tree, pushed him to learn more about science becoming obsessed with it. If these events had not taken place maybe the creation of the creature would not have taken place leaving a very different story in its place.

In reference to Shelley, sciences have an effect on the people who study them. This is simply because the book shows us how one person’s irresponsibility and ambition can harm other people who are not directly involved on eh science project. Science made Victor Frankenstein create a monster and on realizing that the creature did not turn out to be how he expected, he abandoned and rejected it (73).

This rejection made the creature go on a rampage and kill innocent people related to the creator. The innocent people did not have to die but they lost their lives because of one Victor Frankenstein’s obsession and ambition to create life. Life is scared and surely to attempt to create it from dead body parts of other human beings is most likely than not expected to bring havoc and misery on unsuspecting individuals.

The main point in this book is every person should take responsibility of their actions and not expect other people to pay for their shortcomings. Science is something that every person who practices it should be aware that there is a probability of an experiment going wrong and therefore amply and adequately prepare for the outcomes of the experiment whether good or bad.

Humanities on the other hand are portrayed as how one builds his own personal character among the people around him and the people he encounters. In this novel, humanity is depicted in the loss of loved ones that makes Victor Frankenstein to be obsessed with death and try to find a cure for it.

Humanity is also seen whereby Frankenstein is anguished by the death of his brother, friend, Justine and Elizabeth that he vows to kill or be killed by the monster (Shelley 86). This shows that however much Victor was obsessed with science he also had strong feelings for the people around him and it tore him apart when the creature he created killed them.

Humanity in the creature is shown when he feels dejected by his creator and very other human who sets eyes on him and when he observes a family from a distance learns how to speak and develops emotionally.

The fact that everyone showed a hostile human side to the creature made the creature vulnerable and it went on a rampage killing innocent people (Shelley 208). In this novel the creature displays humanity when he demands for a companion to be created so as he can have someone to share his life with and also when he mourns over the death of his creator and implicates himself as the cause of the death of his creator.

In her novel Shelley portrays the knowledge of humanity more as compared to the knowledge of science. This is seen when she portrays that young Victor Frankenstein got an interest in science after experiencing the trauma of losing his mother. This loss made Frankenstein obsessed with death and he tried to find a cure for death.

Through his quest and ambition to cure death he created the Frankenstein monster from dead decomposing body parts of other human beings that were sewn together and brought to life with the help of science (Shelley 73). Humanities is shown as more valuable and ethical as it forms the basis of how one will be portrayed by the society and how one will react to different things and people in society.

Humanity is portrayed as better than science in this novel as it shows different relationships between different people and how actions of one person adversely affect other people. For example, the decision by Victor Frankenstein to create life from dead body parts that brought for the creature termed as a monster brings serious effects and consequences to his family members not to mention the monster itself.

Humanity allowed the creature to develop emotionally and learn how to speak trough observation and experience kindness from a blind man and while saving a young girl form drowning, however in both instances the creature was reprimanded and driven off as people were not welcoming enough. Science only creates that creature but it is humanity that the creature has to deal with and understand why humans are so hostile towards him.

Similarities between science and humanities in this novel are brought out in that both concepts are interdependent and both of these concepts aim to bring improvements to the society as a whole and reduce human misery. The fact that humanity pushed Frankenstein to look for scientific ways to eliminate death from the society after his other loved ones died shows that these two concepts are correlated and work hand in hand with each other to make the society a better place to live in.

The differences on the other hand are that ethics or the pillars of humanities while blind innovation and creativity is the pillar of science. This is to say that scientists do not take into consideration the effects and consequences of their experiments that at times may have a negative effect in humanity.

This is seen when Frankenstein’s ambition makes him create a monster that is much bigger than the human race that caused havoc and misery among human kind. Humanity is seen when Frankenstein is haunted by his conscience after the monster goes on a rampage killing his loved ones. This shows that humanity has consequences and that people should take intro consideration the feelings of other people before they make decisions.

In conclusion, “Frankenstein” tells of a young boy named Frankenstein who attempted to create life, though he succeeded the experiment turned out to be scary and wrecked havoc.

The novel shows as much as science is innovative and interrelated with humanity, ethical issues should also be taken into consideration for most so that innocent people do not suffer. One man’s decision caused the death of three individuals this is not justified. If Victor Frankenstein had thought of the ethical issues of his creation a lot of suffering, misery and death would have been avoided.

Works Cited

Shelley, Marry. Frankenstein . New York: Norton, 1996. Print.

  • Plot Summary
  • Summary & Analysis
  • Literary Devices & Symbols
  • Essay Samples
  • Essay Topics
  • Questions & Answers
  • Mary Shelley: Biography
  • Idleness and the Reasons Why It Goes on Undetected
  • The Mortal Immortal Themes: Questions and Answers, Character Analysis, Summary
  • Mary Shelley' "Frankenstein" Story Analysis
  • Homosexuality in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Innocence of Frankenstein's Monster
  • Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18
  • “Chocolat” by Joanne Harris
  • Elements of Modern Fiction
  • The Type of Consumerism in the 21st Century
  • Passing through nature into eternity
  • Chicago (A-D)
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IvyPanda. (2018, July 18). “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. https://ivypanda.com/essays/frankenstein/

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IvyPanda . 2018. "“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley." July 18, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/frankenstein/.

1. IvyPanda . "“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley." July 18, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/frankenstein/.

Bibliography

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Frankenstein

By mary shelley, frankenstein essay questions.

Discuss similarities between Frankenstein's monster and the text of the novel as a whole.

Both the monster and the text of the novel are objects that have been created by salvaging older materials. In the case of the monster, Frankenstein built his body out of dead body parts; he also learned how to think, read, and speak from old literary texts. Similarly, the overall text is held together by references and allusions to various poems and literary works. As such, we see that both objects are something new that have been synthesized from a collection of old components.

How might the novel be read as a commentary on scientific progress?

Frankenstein, a young scientist filled with ambition, becomes obsessed with the possibility to create life -- something that science has yet to accomplish. Ultimately, he is able to do so; through this act, he achieves what we would typically conceive of as 'scientific progress', because he has expanded the scope of what science allows humanity to do. However, this act of 'progress' has almost entirely negative consequences: the monster subsumes the entirety of Frankenstein's life, murders innocents, and achieves no perceptible good for society. One might say, therefore, that the novel reflects a thesis that not all potential scientific advancements are progressive of necessity.

What relation does the novel's alternate title, The Modern Prometheus, bear to the story?

Frankenstein is a Promethean analogue: just as Prometheus stole fire from the gods, so too did Frankenstein 'steal' from the domain of nature by learning the secret to create life by himself. Just as the gods for this crime punished Prometheus, Frankenstein receives nothing but misery from his creation, and ultimately dies in an attempt to destroy what he made. In this way, Shelley's novel really is a modern retelling of the Prometheus myth.

What does the novel gain from having so many levels of narration? Why do you suppose it might have been structured with so many embedded narratives?

One noteworthy aspect that this structure affords the novel is that it adds to the parallelism between the monster and overall text. The novel is a patchwork of various perspectives and testimony, be they various narrators or the voices conveyed through various letters. This makes the overall narrative a dubious patchwork of the experiences of different people, similarly to the way in which the monster's body is literally composed of parts of many different deceased people.

This structure also creates a deep sense of irony within the text. It is a text overtly concerned with scientific standards of proof; however, the multiple narrators and secondhand information directly undercut the degree to which the reader has grounds to believe the narrative. Like the moral sphere of the narrative's events, this is a puzzle that the novel compels the reader to resolve.

Do you think that the monster has free will? Provide textual examples in support of your claim.

[Multiple answers can be argued. This is merely one example.]

Assuming the truth of Frankenstein's testimony, the monster does not have free will. Frankenstein says that "the stages of the discovery [with respect to learning how to give life to inanimate tissue] were distinct and probable," which implies that there was explicit scientific grounding for every aspect of the creation process (Volume I, Chapter 4). If we take this claim seriously, then we can plausibly infer that the underlying mechanisms of the monster's brain and body were entirely designed by Frankenstein -- whether or not Frankenstein was consciously aware of the ramifications of his design. With regards to the creatures mind, we know that the majority of his sentiments and schemas of thought were coopted from the three books by which he learned how to read -- Paradise Lost, Plutarch's Lives, and The Sorrows of Werter . We therefore have plausible grounds to claim that external forces ultimately determine all aspects of the monster’s behavior.

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Frankenstein Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Frankenstein is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

What is the meaning of dissoluble as it is used in paragraph 3 of the passage?

dissolved, disconnected, broken.... ended

“I expected this reception,” said the dæmon. “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...

What decisions and discoveries go into Frankenstein’s creation? What does he learn first, and which parts of the process take longer?

There is so much in your questions. This is only a short answer space. Victor Frankenstein studies biology and metaphysics first. Victor dreams of creating a new species: to renew life.

Explain about the gigantic figure in Frankenstein?

Are you referring to the creature? What specifically do you need to know?

Study Guide for Frankenstein

Frankenstein study guide contains a biography of Mary Shelley, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein Summary
  • Frankenstein Video
  • Character List

Essays for Frankenstein

Frankenstein essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Frankenstein
  • Egotism, Personal Glory, and the Pursuit for Immortality
  • Frankenstein and the Essence Of the Romantic Quest
  • Like Father Like Son: Imitation and Creation
  • Frankenstein's Discovery

Lesson Plan for Frankenstein

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to Frankenstein
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
  • Related Links
  • Frankenstein Bibliography

E-Text of Frankenstein

Frankenstein e-text contains the full text of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

  • Letters 1-4
  • Chapters 1-4
  • Chapters 5-8
  • Chapters 9-12
  • Chapters 13-16

Wikipedia Entries for Frankenstein

  • Introduction

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Anatomy of an AI Essay

How might you distinguish one from a human-composed counterpart? After analyzing dozens, Elizabeth Steere lists some key predictable features.

By  Elizabeth Steere

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Since OpenAI launched ChatGPT in 2022, educators have been grappling with the problem of how to recognize and address AI-generated writing. The host of AI-detection tools that have emerged over the past year vary greatly in their capabilities and reliability. For example, mere months after OpenAI launched its own AI detector, the company shut it down due to its low accuracy rate.

Understandably, students have expressed concerns over the possibility of their work receiving false positives as AI-generated content. Some institutions have disabled Turnitin’s AI-detection feature due to concerns over potential false allegations of AI plagiarism that may disproportionately affect English-language learners . At the same time, tools that rephrase AI writing—such as text spinners, text inflators or text “humanizers”—can effectively disguise AI-generated text from detection. There are even tools that mimic human typing to conceal AI use in a document’s metadata.

While the capabilities of large language models such as ChatGPT are impressive, they are also limited, as they strongly adhere to specific formulas and phrasing . Turnitin’s website explains that its AI-detection tool relies on the fact that “GPT-3 and ChatGPT tend to generate the next word in a sequence of words in a consistent and highly probable fashion.” I am not a computer programmer or statistician, but I have noticed certain attributes in text that point to the probable involvement of AI, and in February, I collected and quantified some of those characteristics in hopes to better recognize AI essays and to share those characteristics with students and other faculty members.

I asked ChatGPT 3.5 and the generative AI tool included in the free version of Grammarly each to generate more than 50 analytical essays on early American literature, using texts and prompts from classes I have taught over the past decade. I took note of the characteristics of AI essays that differentiated them from what I have come to expect from their human-composed counterparts. Here are some of the key features I noticed.

AI essays tend to get straight to the point. Human-written work often gradually leads up to its topic, offering personal anecdotes, definitions or rhetorical questions before getting to the topic at hand.

AI-generated essays are often list-like. They may feature numbered body paragraphs or multiple headings and subheadings.

The paragraphs of AI-generated essays also often begin with formulaic transitional phrases. As an example, here are the first words of each paragraph in one essay that ChatGPT produced:

  • “In contrast”
  • “Furthermore”
  • “On the other hand”
  • “In conclusion.”

Notably, AI-generated essays were far more likely than human-written essays to begin paragraphs with “Furthermore,” “Moreover” and “Overall.”

AI-generated work is often banal. It does not break new ground or demonstrate originality; its assertions sound familiar.

AI-generated text tends to remain in the third person. That’s the case even when asked a reader response–style question. For example, when I asked ChatGPT what it personally found intriguing, meaningful or resonant about one of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems, it produced six paragraphs, but the pronoun “I” was included only once. The rest of the text described the poem’s atmosphere, themes and use of language in dispassionate prose. Grammarly prefaced its answer with “I’m sorry, but I cannot have preferences as I am an AI-powered assistant and do not have emotions or personal opinions,” followed by similarly clinical observations about the text.

AI-produced text tends to discuss “readers” being “challenged” to “confront” ideologies or being “invited” to “reflect” on key topics. In contrast, I have found that human-written text tends to focus on hypothetically what “the reader” might “see,” “feel” or “learn.”

AI-generated essays are often confidently wrong. Human writing is more prone to hedging, using phrases like “I think,” “I feel,” “this might mean …” or “this could be a symbol of …” and so on.

AI-generated essays are often repetitive. An essay that ChatGPT produced on the setting of Rebecca Harding Davis’s short story “Life in the Iron Mills” contained the following assertions among its five brief paragraphs: “The setting serves as a powerful symbol,” “the industrial town itself serves as a central aspect of the setting,” “the roar of furnaces serve as a constant reminder of the relentless pace of industrial production,” “the setting serves as a catalyst for the characters’ struggles and aspirations,” “the setting serves as a microcosm of the larger societal issues of the time,” and “the setting … serves as a powerful symbol of the dehumanizing effects of industrialization.”

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AI writing is often hyperbolic or overreaching. The quotes above describe a “powerful symbol,” for example. AI essays frequently describe even the most mundane topics as “groundbreaking,” “vital,” “esteemed,” “invaluable,” “indelible,” “essential,” “poignant” or “profound.”

AI-produced texts frequently use metaphors, sometimes awkwardly. ChatGPT produced several essays that compared writing to “weaving” a “rich” or “intricate tapestry” or “painting” a “vivid picture.”

AI-generated essays tend to overexplain. They often use appositives to define people or terms, as in “Margaret Fuller, a pioneering feminist and transcendentalist thinker, explored themes such as individualism, self-reliance and the search for meaning in her writings …”

AI-generated academic writing often employs certain verbs. They include “delve,” “shed light,” “highlight,” “illuminate,” “underscore,” “showcase,” “embody,” “transcend,” “navigate,” “foster,” “grapple,” “strive,” “intertwine,” “espouse” and “endeavor.”

AI-generated essays tend to end with a sweeping broad-scale statement. They talk about “the human condition,” “American society,” “the search for meaning” or “the resilience of the human spirit.” Texts are often described as a “testament to” variations on these concepts.

AI-generated writing often invents sources. ChatGPT can compose a “research paper” using MLA-style in-text parenthetical citations and Works Cited entries that look correct and convincing, but the supposed sources are often nonexistent. In my experiment, ChatGPT referenced a purported article titled “Poe, ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,’ and the Gothic’s Creation of the Unconscious,” which it claimed was published in PMLA , vol. 96, no. 5, 1981, pp. 900–908. The author cited was an actual Poe scholar, but this particular article does not appear on his CV, and while volume 96, number 5 of PMLA did appear in 1981, the pages cited in that issue of PMLA actually span two articles: one on Frankenstein and one on lyric poetry.

AI-generated essays include hallucinations. Ted Chiang’s article on this phenomenon offers a useful explanation for why large language models such as ChatGPT generate fabricated facts and incorrect assertions. My AI-generated essays included references to nonexistent events, characters and quotes. For example, ChatGPT attributed the dubious quote “Half invoked, half spontaneous, full of ill-concealed enthusiasms, her wild heart lay out there” to a lesser-known short story by Herman Melville, yet nothing resembling that quote appears in the actual text. More hallucinations were evident when AI was generating text about less canonical or more recently published literary texts.

This is not an exhaustive list, and I know that AI-generated text in other formats or relating to other fields probably features different patterns and tendencies . I also used only very basic prompts and did not delineate many specific parameters for the output beyond the topic and the format of an essay.

It is also important to remember that the attributes I’ve described are not exclusive to AI-generated texts. In fact, I noticed that the phrase “It is important to … [note/understand/consider]” was a frequent sentence starter in AI-generated work, but, as evidenced in the previous sentence, humans use these constructions, too. After all, large language models train on human-generated text.

And none of these characteristics alone definitively point to a text having been created by AI. Unless a text begins with the phrase “As an AI language model,” it can be difficult to say whether it was entirely or partially generated by AI. Thus, if the nature of a student submission suggests AI involvement, my first course of action is always to reach out to the student themselves for more information. I try to bear in mind that this is a new technology for both students and instructors, and we are all still working to adapt accordingly.

Students may have received mixed messages on what degree or type of AI use is considered acceptable. Since AI is also now integrated into tools their institutions or instructors have encouraged them to use—such as Grammarly , Microsoft Word or Google Docs —the boundaries of how they should use technology to augment human writing may be especially unclear. Students may turn to AI because they lack confidence in their own writing abilities. Ultimately, however, I hope that by discussing the limits and the predictability of AI-generated prose, we can encourage them to embrace and celebrate their unique writerly voices.

Elizabeth Steere is a lecturer in English at the University of North Georgia.

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