Frankenstein Themes & Motifs

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Frankenstein


Frankenstein Themes

Example



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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the novel, and support their choices with details from the text as they track the rich symbolism Mary Shelley uses throughout Frankenstein.

Themes to Discuss

The Quest for Knowledge

Do human beings have the right to pursue science regardless of the outcome? Throughout the novel, Shelley refers back to this essential question as readers watch a product of science be abandoned by his creator. In an age where students are becoming cyber-connected and stem cell research is a hot topic, many people are debating the meaning of life and how far science should be pushed. Not only does Shelley explore the implications of scientific advancement at the cost of the human condition, but the outcome of knowledge as well. Can we as a human race handle the answers that we seek?


Fear and Rejection

The shows the lives of Victor and his monster unfold in a parallel. Victor's fear, and that of other people, leads them to reject the monster. No matter how he tries to win over "human creatures", he cannot. As his creator, Victor should have been the one person to look passed the monster’s harsh appearance and love him for who he is. Even when the monster approaches the old and blind man in the De Lacey family, the fear instilled by his monstrous appearance that keeps the family from becoming his friends. This repeated rejection results in repeated tragedy.


Nature vs. Nurture

A longstanding question is whether nature or nurture shapes a person more. What makes a person who they are; what causes them to act the way that they do and have the beliefs they have? Is it a person's environment or their genes? One commonly debated motif that is clearly seen in Shelley's work is what the true causes are of the monster's rancorous behavior. Is it his creator's fault? Did Victor supersede nature? Was the monster born this way or was it his environment that caused his malice?



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Frankenstein. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Frankenstein you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for the example(s) that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.

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