Information: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was published in 2003 by Penguin Books. The original publish date was in 1818. ISBN: 0141439475
Plot Summary: Frankenstein is a timeless classic and a gothic thriller that forewarns all the possible dangers of science. The story is about brilliant scientist, Victor Frankenstein. He retells his own life from the beginning, before getting to the death of his mother. Overcome with grief, Victor is determined to find a scientific cure for sickness and death. In his experiments, Victor creates a large mismatched human like creature. Victor is so horrified by his creation that the Creature escapes from him. Victor is riddled with guilt of creating something so horrible that he now has to decide if the Creature something he can let live. Despite his scary looks, the Creature has a desire to learn, interact and create with the outside world. But terrifying or not, Victor also must determine if what he made was actually human or just pieces of humans.
Critical Evaluation: Frankenstein has been considered a gothic classic for decades. What had started out as part of a ghost writing contest has turned into science fiction masterpiece, forcing readers to face one of the most common fears– death. Victor challenges the reader to consider how strong a fear can before it becomes insanity. Frankenstein itself poses the ultimate question of what can be considered human.
Reader’s Annotation: Victor Frankenstein is determined to overcome death by creating human life through scientific experimentation. But after his creation isn’t what he expected, Victor must decide if just because something is alive, does that mean it has the right to live?
Author’s Information: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (born Aug. 30, 1797, London, Eng.—died Feb. 1, 1851, London) English Romantic novelist best known as the author of Frankenstein. The only daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, she met the young poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1812 and eloped with him to France in July 1814. The couple were married in 1816, after Shelley’s first wife had committed suicide. After her husband’s death in 1822, she returned to England and devoted herself to publicizing Shelley’s writings and to educating their only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. She published her late husband’s Posthumous Poems (1824); she also edited his Poetical Works (1839), with long and invaluable notes, and his prose works. Her Journal is a rich source of Shelley biography, and her letters are an indispensable adjunct (Britannica).
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Horror, Classic
Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas
Book Talk Ideas:
- Frankenstein challenges what it means to be human. What defines or makes someone human?
- In the question of nature vs. nurture: are people blank slates that are formed by experiences and environment, or are we born with certain traits—like being evil? What does the book seem to suggest? How do you know?
Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 7-12 (Scholastic) and Ages 13-18
Challenge Issues: Violence
Challenge Defense File:
The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.
The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).
Frankenstein is a core classic for many who celebrate literature. It is a book that challenges the very essence of humanity and pushes people to achieve their goals without becoming obsessed with them. The novel embraces fear and pushes the reader to make these important decisions for themselves. Other recommendations like this book include: Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Tales by Bram Stoker, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft.
Active Listening Skills
- Remain calm
- Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
- Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree
- Negative Reviews: Goodreads
- Reviews by Young Adults: Common Sense Media
Why I chose this book: I chose this book because of how it has lasted generations. It is one of the greatest books to have ever challenged nature vs nurture and what it means to be human.