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Symbolism In Frankenstein


Choose one of the following prompts and compose a five paragraph essay. Novels that may be used are Frankenstein and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Short stories that may be used are “Harrison Bergeron”, “The One’s Who Walk From Omelas”, or “Call of Cthulhu.” 

1. One of the most revealing types of conflict occurs when a character’s inner struggles are resolved at great personal price. Often, the character learns a lesson, but too late to help himself or another character. Explain how, in any piece we have read, how a character struggles but fails to learn a lesson in time, and thus, serves as an example for the reader. In your essay, focus on the conflict within the character. Be sure to include the price paid as part of the resolution and the lesson to be learned.

2. Often in literary works, authors choose a physical object which takes on a special significance in the work and becomes a symbol of something beyond itself. Show how, in Frankenstein or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, the author uses a symbol to convey an important meaning. In your essay, focus on the symbol and what it symbolizes. Be sure to discuss how the author uses it to convey a message to readers. You may choose three important symbols from the novel, or you may choose to elaborate on one symbol.

3. Authors often use descriptive details to develop a setting for several purposes. In an essay, explain how the setting of Frankenstein is related to events from the plot, related to characters, or builds suspense. You may write one body paragraph about each aspect of setting, or you may chose to elaborate on one particular aspect (plot, character, suspense) in all three body paragraphs.

4. What is the theme any of the short stories or novels we have read? In your introduction, state the theme. In your thesis, explain how the theme is developed (remember, sometimes HOW it is said is as important as WHAT is said). In your body paragraphs, give specific examples of scenes from the novel or short story in which the author developed the theme.

5. Discuss an author’s use of figurative language. Identify three examples of figurative language from any of the novels or short stories we have read. Why did the author use these examples? What impact does the figurative language have on characterization, description of setting, mood, foreshadowing, theme, or the novel overall? In your essay, use a different example in each body paragraph. Be sure to explain the significance of each use of figurative language. 

6. Compare and Contrast Frankenstein and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. How do each of them treat the themes of life and death? How do they use symbols similarly and different? Why are there these similarities and differences?


Title: Symbolism In Frankenstein
Length: 5 pages (1392 Words)
Style: MLA


Symbolism in Frankenstein


Symbolism is the use of objects in literary works to signify ideas, qualities or represent situations by giving them a different meaning that is often deeper and more significant. It is also used to illustrate themes more vividly. Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein is a story written in the form of letters by Walton to his sister about his excursion in the North Pole. In one of his letters, he describes a strange situation he experiences where he sees a huge man in the distance and shortly after discovers a frail man lying in the snow. He takes this weak man onto his ship and nurses him. Once better, this man identifies himself as Victor Frankenstein and narrates his tale to Walton. He explained how he had always been interested in science and attempted to create life. His experiment, however, goes wrong when he realizes that he has created a monster instead, and his creation becomes the beginning of his woes. Traumatised by the reality of his situation, he flees his laboratory. Two years later, he returns and encounters his monster again. Several events unfold, and it is how he finds himself in the North Pole with his creation. After his narration is over Victor Frankenstein dies, Walton manages to record this story. The book uses several objects to bring out the symbolism. Nonetheless, an instance of symbolism is where light and fire are used as symbols.

Light and Fire

Light is used to symbolize knowledge in the book, particularly in science. The first instance light is mentioned is when Walton refers to the Arctic as ‘the country of eternal light.' It proves true as he goes on to learn new things while in the arctic, especially after his encounter with Victor. Walton also manages to see the monster before and after Victor’s death. In fact, the monster is a new being that he has never seen before and so through his interaction with both Victor and the monster his knowledge is widened. Earlier on in his life, Dr. Frankenstein had witnessed lightning strike a tree. He was in awe at how the lightning destroyed a tree, and this inspired him to delve into the field of science. Therefore, the light from the lightning, serves as a symbol of his life in the field which would be bright but eventually ends both fast and catastrophically. Victor, in his pursuit to shed more light on the complex intricacies of life and death, experiences a breakthrough when his unorthodox method brings forth life from pieces of cadavers carefully joined to look like a human being. The result is a living creature made by man. He has succeeded in discovering the secret to live. It was a first in the field of alchemy which has always been considered dark and mysterious especially by those who heed to Christianity and other forms of spirituality that consider a divine being as the source of life. 


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