© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
Teaching Guide

Teaching Frankenstein

Shmoop's alive!

GO TO STUDENT LEARNING GUIDE

Students might think they know Frankenstein, the big green guy with the flat-top and the bolts in his neck.

They're wrong.

First, that's Frankenstein's monster—not Frankenstein. Second, that monster is a far cry from the original. It's up to you to uncreate those preconceived notions and create the right ones instead.

In this guide you will find

  • resources on literary connections to Frankenstein, like Bram Stoker, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and William Blake.
  • reading quizzes to be sure students read the book and don't just watch monster movies.
  • discussion questions exploring Frankenstein's monstrous motivations.

We haven't created a monster, but we have created a monster of a teaching guide.

What's Inside Shmoop's Literature Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring literature to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 13-18 Common Core-aligned activities to complete in class with your students, including detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes for every chapter, act, or part of the text.
  • Resources to help make the book feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop’s teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the text and how you can overcome the hurdles.

With your purchase, you’ll get unlimited access for 12 months. And if you like what you see, you can subscribe to all 200+ Teaching Guides for just $19.84/month.

Instructions for You

Objective: Now that your students are clear on the fact that Frankenstein is the doctor (not the monster), let's take a minute to focus on the full title of MWS's novella—you know, that whole "or The Modern Prometheus" bit. 

In this activity, your students will read about Prometheus and then comment on the similarities and differences between the Greek myth and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. They'll answer critical questions about the piece, participate in a classroom discussion, and conduct outside research to write an expository essay that compares and contrasts Victor Frankenstein and Prometheus. 

Length of Lesson: 1-3 class periods. You can expect to spend about 30-50 minutes on the initial classroom discussion. After that, you may want to use a class period for a library trip during which students can conduct research and another class period on student presentations. 

Step 1: As homework, have students read this Greek Creation Myth and answer the following critical questions (in writing).

  1. What would a timeline of Prometheus's life look like? Sketch out a quick one with the basics (birth, life events like stealing fire and getting chained to a boulder, etc.).
  2. Mary Shelley calls Victor Frankenstein "the modern Prometheus." What would a timeline of Victor Frankenstein's life look like? Again, sketch out a quick timeline with some of his big highs and lows.
  3. What similarities do you note between Prometheus and Frankenstein?
  4. How are the two life-creators/givers different, with respect to their values, goals for humankind, punishment received for their actions, and anything else that you can think of?
  5. Why does each of the two characters—Frankenstein and Prometheus—try to "play with fire" in his own way? What are their motivations? How are these alike and different?
  6. Who are the ultimate "creators" in their two stories? In other words, who's in charge at Olympus/Earth and who's in charge in Frankenstein? How do you know? Defend your answer with evidence from the texts.
  7. Who are some of the other main characters in the lives of Prometheus and Frankenstein? How do the actions of Prometheus and Frankenstein impact their loved ones?
  8. What are some other research resources where you can gather information about Prometheus and Frankenstein? What kind of information do you think you would find there? How would this help you compare and contrast the two characters? (NOTE: You don't need to do the research now, but you will. Soon. So spending a little time thinking about this now will help you later. And by later, we actually mean sooner. Like, two steps from now.)

Step 2: In class, walk through the Promethean myth (using the link) and lead your students in a discussion of Prometheus's story and their responses to the study questions.

Step 3: Research time! Instruct your students to use their answers to question 8, along with any suggestions made by you and their classmates, to conduct outside research on both Prometheus and Frankenstein. 

[Optional: You could incorporate a library day into the lesson at this point to get students started on their research.] 

When they've completed their research, your students will use the information they've gathered to write a comparative essay that analyzes similarities and differences between the Frankenstein and Prometheus. Here's a prompt to make sure everyone's on the same page:

Conduct outside research using both library and electronic sources. The focus of your research should be learning as much as you can about Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein so that you can write a comparative essay that analyzes similarities and differences between the two characters. Then, once you've completed your research and written your essay, create an accompanying annotated and illustrated timeline of the key events (and characters) in both Prometheus and Frankenstein's lives. This timeline, which will (no doubt) be a beautiful work of art, can be produced by hand or digitally.

Step 5: [Optional] Students present their essays/timelines to the class.

(California English Language Arts Standards Met: 9th & 10th grade Reading 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9; Writing 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8, 1.9, 2.2, 2.3; Listening & Speaking 1.1, 1.2, 1.6, 1.8, 1.92.2, 2.4, 2.6; 11th & 12th grade Reading 1.1, 1.3, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2, 3.6, 3.7, 3.9; Writing 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.9, 2.2, 2.4; Listening & Speaking 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 2.2, 2.3.)

Instructions for Your Students

You know what they say—if you play with fire, you're bound to get burned! Or, at the very least, chased around the icecaps by an angry (and maybe reasonably so) monster in need of revenge and redemption. 

If you think the story of Frankenstein sounds vaguely familiar, think back to any Greek mythology you might have read before. And then look at the subtitle to your book: "the Modern Prometheus." In this activity you'll learn about the Greek myth of Prometheus and see just what the original firestarter has in common with Victor Frankenstein.

Step 1: As homework, read this Greek Creation Myth and answer the following critical questions. Yes, in writing.

  1. What would a timeline of Prometheus's life look like? Sketch out a quick one with the basics (birth, life events like stealing fire and getting chained to a boulder, etc.).
  2. Mary Shelley calls Victor Frankenstein "the modern Prometheus." What would a timeline of Victor Frankenstein's life look like? Again, sketch out a quick timeline with some of his big highs and lows.
  3. What similarities do you note between Prometheus and Frankenstein?
  4. How are the two life-creators/givers different, with respect to their values, goals for humankind, punishment received for their actions, and anything else that you can think of?
  5. Why does each of the two characters—Frankenstein and Prometheus—try to "play with fire" in his own way? What are their motivations? How are these alike and different?
  6. Who are the ultimate "creators" in their two stories? In other words, who's in charge at Olympus/Earth and who's in charge in Frankenstein? How do you know? Defend your answer with evidence from the texts.
  7. Who are some of the other main characters in the lives of Prometheus and Frankenstein? How do the actions of Prometheus and Frankenstein impact their loved ones?
  8. What are some other research resources where you can gather information about Prometheus and Frankenstein? What kind of information do you think you would find there? How would this help you compare and contrast the two characters? (NOTE: You don't need to do the research now, but you will. Soon. So spending a little time thinking about this now will help you later. And by later, we actually mean sooner. Like, two steps from now.)

Step 2: In class the next day, discuss your responses to the myth and the study questions.

Step 3: Research time! (We told you it was coming.) Here's what you need to do.

Conduct outside research using both library and electronic sources. The focus of your research should be learning as much as you can about Prometheus and Victor Frankenstein so that you can write a comparative essay that analyzes similarities and differences between the two characters. 

Then, once you've completed your research and written your essay, create an accompanying annotated and illustrated timeline of the key events (and characters) in both Prometheus and Frankenstein's lives. This timeline, which will (no doubt) be a beautiful work of art, can be produced by hand or digitally.

Step 4: [Optional] If time permits (you know, if you haven't already missed several class periods due to snow days or standardized testing), you may get a chance to present your essay/timeline to the class.

Already have a license?
CLICK HERE to sign in!

OPTIONS FOR PURCHASE

I am buying...
I am buying...
For teacher(s).
Price: $14.92
Good things come
in affordable packages.
GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR
SCHOOL OR DISTRICT
Teachers, want access to all courses for your own use at a low monthly rate?
Subscribe for only as long as you need.
Share

Common Core Standards  

The following standards are covered in this course:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2

WANT MORE HELP TEACHING FRANKENSTEIN?

Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary    Themes    Quotes    Characters    Analysis    Questions    Photos    Quizzes    Flashcards    Movie    Best of the Web    Write Essay    
back to top