Frankenstein-Chapters 1-4

After reading the opening letters and first four chapters of Frankenstein by MAry Shelley, we are going to explore some of the contexts around the novel as well as delve deeper into the story and its language.

The Plot Timeline

We created a class timeline on Friday. A photo of this is below.

Students now need to add to this timeline by supplying a piece of evidence to support the event that is being described. They will post a description of the event and their supporting evidence on their personal blogs.

New Language

Mary Shelley has quite the way with words. Often, when we are reading her work, we come across things that we do not understand. One way to figure this out is to look at the language around that word and see if you can guess it. In the opening passage of chapter 1, students should identify words they do not understand. They should make a list of these words on their blogs and write down what they THINK they word means. After this, they should grab a dictionary (or Google it) and compare what they thought with what the word is defined as. It would be useful to correct their work on the blog leaving both definitions up so we can see the difference.

Extra challenge: explain how you came to the definition you did. What words around the mystery word did you know and use to make your guess? Explain this on your blog.

Victor Frankenstein- A Gothic Protagonist?

Students should use the criteria from our blog post on the gothic protagonist to create a table. In this table, they should list traits, actions and comments from Victor Frankenstein that they believe make him fit into the six descriptors of a gothic protagonist. They should supply evidence to support their ideas in each section of the table. This should be published on their personal blog.

Tone and Mood

Refreshing their memories by looking at our blog post about tone and mood, students should explain what tone AND what mood they believe is being developed in the passage below. They should reference specific sentence structures and language choices made by the author to support their answer. This should be published on their personal blog.


In chapter 3 and 4, there are many instances of foreshadowing. Students can remind themselves what foreshadowing is with the with this site here.

They should identify three examples of foreshadowing in chapters 3 and 4 and explain what they think the author is hinting at when she uses this device. Students should pay close attention to any language devices (metaphors, irony, simile etc.) and the vocabulary choices when discussing their examples. This should be posted on their personal blogs.

The Age of Enlightenment

As Frankenstein was published in 1818 and the story is set around 100 years prior to this, students need to have an understanding of the world our characters and author lived in. They also need to have an understanding of the type of world gothic fiction emerged from.

Students should conduct research into the time period known as The Enlightenment. They should look into areas such as politics, religion, technological advancement and science, gender roles, and society and everyday life. They should look to select 5 key areas to research. On their blogs, they should set up a new post that has their five headings in it. During their research phase, they should keep a record of what websites they visit or any material they read on this post. At the end of the research phase, students should write a paragraph explaining their understanding of each of their chosen areas. They should look to be as informative as possible and point out any connections between their research and the material we have read in Frankenstein so far. They should be aware that their classmates may use their research to help them gain better understanding in areas they did not look into.

Posted by Renee Plunkett

Teacher of English at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, New Zealand.

Leave a Reply


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: