Literary Analysis Essay: Novel Comparison Between Frankenstein & Dracula
Task: Assignment Instructions: Frankenstein Critical Analysis Evaluation Essay
Note: Please review the source guidelines below very carefully. If you do not choose from the provided sources below, this will cause a grading delay and you will need to resubmit the assignment. For this assignment, you will write your literary analysis essay. You are required to submit only your final draft for this assignment (though we encourage all students to take advantage of the additional feedback a draft can provide). Use the grader’s feedback and the rubric to make revisions to your draft before submitting the final. Your second draft will be graded.
Now that you have completed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, you are in a good position to consider what critics have written about the novel. You will need a total of two critiques (also known as critical analysis essays) for this assignment.
First, use the selection of links below to locate a critical analysis essay written about the 1818 version of Mary Shelley's novel. You may focus most of your attention on this first critique. If the author of your critique is not specified, focus on the publication of the critique.
Your evaluation may go more smoothly if you approach the guiding questions in this order: Evaluate the critic/author:
Who wrote the criticism you read What credentials does the author have (If you are using a valid source, you should be able to find these easily)
Find the thesis of the article:
What is the thesis of the critical article you’ve chosen What point does the author want to make about Frankenstein Evaluate the thesis:
Do you agree with this thesis Why or why not We’ve covered many ideas in the study guides. Can you find points within the guides that support your agreement or disagreement with the critical writer(s) Look for new supporting information rather than revisiting the same ones the critics have chosen.
Evaluate the support:
Whether you agree or disagree with the thesis, does the critic provide sufficient research from the text and outside references to make a strong case What does the article have for support from the text or outside sources In your opinion, what makes these references valid Do you feel the author uses this support properly
Next, locate a second critique about the novel that includes ideas somewhat similar (genre classification, for instance) to any of the discussions you have in your essay. The second critique can either support or refute any of the claims in your paper. The objective of this portion of the essay is to further support your opinion of the primary critic’s thesis or support. Therefore, for example, if you choose a secondary article that refutes any of your claims, you will need to counteract those ideas to bring the focus of your essay back in alignment with your essay’s thesis (your personal opinion of how the primary critic is either correct or incorrect in his or her thesis claim and/or how the first critic is either effective or ineffective in his or her support). Every discussion in this essay should ultimately support the claim you make in your thesis.
For instance, if the first critic argues that Shelley’s writing is juvenile, and if you agree, does the second critic also support this thesis How so If the second critic does not support your assessment of the first critic's thesis, what evidence can you use from the text to argue that the second critic is incorrect Consider another example: if the first critic believes the novel is autobiographical, and if you disagree, does the second critic help you argue your own view of the first critic's thesis If so, how Perhaps the second critic disagrees with your view and feels the novel is autobiographical-- if that's the case, be prepared to use evidence from the text to refute the second critic’s thesis and support your own argument. Using two critiques in this way will allow you to create a polished, comprehensive Evaluation Essay that allows you to connect your own ideas to those of seasoned critics.
In addition to addressing each of the evaluative components above, develop your essay so it has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. You must include an evaluative thesis statement in both the introduction and the conclusion. Ensure that each of your claims is supported with valid evidence from the literary criticism you have chosen; the novel, Frankenstein; and/or the study guides.
Using proper MLA style, insert parenthetical citations for all borrowed information in addition to a Works Cited page for Frankenstein and your chosen literary critiques; you are not required to cite the study guides if you use them.
Helpful Hints: For a thesis statement, try answering a question like: How and how well does this piece of criticism state and support its argument regarding Frankenstein
You might use these as possible guidelines in crafting your thesis statement: (Critic, aka author of the critique) uses (add critic title) to (add an adjective to describe the effectiveness of the argument such as “adequately” or “inadequately”) argue that (add critic’s thesis) by (explain why and/or include your support).
(Critic)’s (add critique title) (add an adjective to describe the effectiveness of the argument such as “adequately” or “inadequately”) argue that (add critic’s thesis) because (explain why and/or include your support).
More specific thesis examples:
John Smith uses "Frankenstein Critique Essay" to adequately argue that Victor's mother created the first monster by coddling Victor as a boy.
John Smith's "Frankenstein Critique Essay" does not effectively argue that Victor's mother created the first monster because the novel Frankenstein too strongly supports inherent good or bad, which means nurturing roles cannot be held responsible.
La Belle Assemblee, or Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine, 2d Series, 17 (March 1818): 139-142. This is a very bold fiction; and, did not the author, in a short Preface, make a kind of apology, we should almost pronounce it to be impious. We hope, however, the writer had the moral in view which we are desirous of drawing from it, that the presumptive works of man must be frightful, vile, and horrible; ending only in discomfort and misery to himself.
But will all our readers understand this Should not an author, who has a moral end in view, point out rather that application which may be more generally understood We recommend, however, to our fair readers, who may peruse a work which, from its originality, excellence of language, and peculiar interest, is likely to be very popular, to draw from it that meaning which we have cited above.
The story of Frankenstein is told in a letter from a Captain Walton to his sister, Mrs. Saville, residing in England. Walton is almost as much of an enthusiast as the wretched Frankenstein, whom, as the Captain is in search of finding the north west passage, and penetrating as far as possible to the extremities of the pole, he meets, engaged in the pursuit of the demon-being of his own creation: Walton rescues Frankenstein from the imminent danger of losing his life in this pursuit, amongst the floating flakes of ice; and after this Prometheus recovers, in part, his bodily strength, and relates his history to Walton.
Frankenstein is a Genevese; (these people are not naturally romantic) but Frankenstein's mind has been early warped by a perusal of those authors who deal in the marvellous. His father is a respectable Syndic, and has taken under his protection a niece, born in Italy. In due time, Frankenstein and his fair cousin become lovers, and their union is sanctioned by his father. He has also the blessings of a sincere friend, Henry Clerval, of a stronger mind than the Prometheus, who is absorbed in the study of natural philosophy, which he declares as "the genius that regulated his fate."—When he becomes a student at the University of Ingoldstadt, he bewails, as his first misfortune, the death of his mother; and when his grief has begun to subside, he devotes himself entirely to chemistry and his favourite science: the structure of the human frame particularly excites his attention, and, indeed, every animal endowed with life: he then proceeds to examine the cause of life and death—(how vain)—and finds himself capable (we use the writer's own words) "of bestowing animation on lifeless matter!!!"
This reminds us of the famous philosopher who declared, that, give him but matter enough, and he could create a world! Why, then, could he not form one in miniature, about the size of an egg or a walnut To return to Frankenstein; he had no longer any doubt but what he could create a perfect man! But his workshop, and the process he was compelled to observe, disgusted him; for
he tells Walton, that "the dissecting-room, and the slaughter-house, furnished him with materials." On a dark night of November he completes his work, and the eye of the creature opens; whom, in order to make superior to his species, he has formed eight feet high! He is soon after surprised by a visit from his friend Clerval; and trembles at the idea of his seeing the monster he has created: he steals up softly to his apartment, and finds that the demon has fled.
After a fit of illness, which causes a cessation of his studies, he is afflicted, on his return to them, by a letter from his father, acquainting him that his little brother William is murdered; the picture he wore round his neck being found in the pocket of an interesting young girl, the attendant on Elizabeth, Frankenstein's cousin, she is accused, and suffers innocently. After visiting the parental roof, as the unfortunate Prometheus is wandering among the Alps, he beholds the frightful being he has formed, and he feels convinced in his own mind that he is the murderer of his brother.—This being seems, indeed, to have a supernatural power of following his maker wherever he goes, and he soon after meets with him near Mont Blanc. He here relates to Frankenstein how he has supported his miserable existence; but he feels the charm, and the imperious want of society, by having beheld, in a cottage, an old peasant and his daughter, with a young man; they are indigent, but, in comparison with his forlorn state, most happy. Delighted with the picture of social life and its affections, he seeks to contribute to their wants; piles wood before their cottage, when they want fuel, and other offices unperceived: by listening, he gains speech, and understands the meaning of different words. The arrival of an Arabian lady serves to complete the savage's education: he hears the young man read to her, and obtains a slight knowledge of history. This part of the work is rather prolix and unnatural; the monster learns to read, and is delighted with Paradise Lost, Plutarch's Lives, and The Sorrows of Werter!
The demon then confesses himself the murderer of Frankenstein's brother; and, moreover, declares his intention of immolating the rest of his family, if he does not create a female like himself, with whom he may retire to undiscovered wilds, and molest mankind no more. Frankenstein, at first, positively refuses, but at length consents.
After pausing some time in travelling, Frankenstein and Clerval visit Scotland; and the former retires from the society of his friend, to undertake, in the solitude of the Orkney Islands, the dreadful task assigned him. When he has half finished the wretched work, he reflects that, perhaps, he is bringing a curse on future generations, and he tears the thing to pieces on which he is engaged. The monster presents himself, and after some severe upbraidings, he tells him he will be with him on his wedding night.
The fragments of a human being lying before him, urge Frankenstein to seek his safety by flight; he packs them in a basket, sails from the Orkneys, and sinks them when he has attained the midst of the sea: he next arrives at a good harbour, where he is taken up for murder; and for the murder, too, of Clerval, his friend, whose mangled body is presented
before him: this deprives him of reason; and in a gaol, loaded with irons, like a malefactor, he suffers all the agonies of the mind, accompanied with frenzied fever. He is, however, at length, honourably acquitted, and accompanies his father, who comes for him, back to Geneva, where preparations take place for his wedding; for which, when the day is arrived, Elizabeth is found dead, after coming from the sacred ceremony, and lying across her bridal bed. He now makes a solemn vow to find out the fiend of his creation, and to destroy him, though the work of his own hands. He traverses wild and barbarous countries; where, in some places, he beholds inscriptions on the rocks and trees, as, "My reign is not yet over"—"You live, and my power is complete," &c. &c. By perseverance, Frankenstein, at length, meets with him, where Captain Walton first discovers him; and whom Frankenstein, after bringing his narrative to a close, intreats to avenge his cause by killing the monster, should he die. He expires soon after; and this wonderful work of man comes in at the cabin- window of Captain Walton's ship, breathes a soliloquy over the coffin of his creator, and then plunges into the icy waves, the same way as he entered. This work, which we repeat, has, as well as originality, extreme interest to recommend it, and an easy, yet energetic style, is inscribed to Mr. Godwin; who, however he once embraced novel systems, is, we are credibly informed, happily converted to what he once styled ancient prejudices.
We are sorry our limits will not allow us a more copious review of Frankenstein. The few following extracts will serve to shew the excellence of its style and language:—
Enthusiasm Of Frankenstein In His Work Of Forming Man.
"Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs. Pursuing these reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption."
Description Of Frankenstein's Man When First Endowed With Life.
"It was on a dreary night of November, that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety almost amounting to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.
How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form His limbs were in proportion,
and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!—Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion, and straight black lips." His Repentance At Having Formed Him.
"I considered the being whom I had cast among mankind, and endowed with the will and power to effect purposes of horror, such as the deed which he had now done, nearly in the light of my own vampire, my own spirit let loose from the grave, and forced to destroy all that was dear to me."
Arguments Held Out By The Monster.
"All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with life Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends. "God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid from its very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow- devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and detested."
Frankenstein's Agony On The Death Of Elizabeth.
"Great God! why did I not then expire—Why am I here to relate the destruction of the best hope, and the purest creature of earth. She was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by her hair. Every where I turn I see the same figure—her bloodless arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier. Could I behold this and live Alas! life is obstinate, and clings closest where it is most hated. For a moment only did I lose recollection; I fainted." The Monster's Reflections Over The Dead Body Of Frankenstein.
"'That is also my victim!' he exclaimed; 'in his murder my crimes are consummated; the miserable series of my being is wound to its close! Oh, Frankenstein! generous and self- devoted being! what does it avail that I now ask thee to pardon me I, who irretrievably destroyed thee by destroying all thou lovedst.—Alas! he is cold; he may not answer me.'"
The current literary analysis essaysheds light on Frankenstein that has been a brilliant introductory work by Mary Shelley. In her first novel, published way back in 1818, she created a significant impact on the contemporary world. However, the very concept of the novel has made it such a unique work. The entire sequence of events, the way it has been narrated, the pace of incidents, and a perfect blend of horror, science, romance, and revenge have made it an exciting read even after centuries of its creation. It is still considered one of the greatest literary works in the horror genre.
Lotus van Overveldt uses "Dreadful Demons: Fearing the Nineteenth-Century Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bram Stoker's Dracula" to adequately argue about the types and components of fear that existed and were used in the novel Frankenstein(van Overveldt). The entire fiction is based on the factor of fear only, so understanding such fear in the context of the nineteenth century is very important to realize the true essence of the novel. This critical essay compares Frankenstein with another contemporary novel- Dracula by Bram Stoker since both were set at the backdrop of the 19th century.
The author shows that in Frankenstein, the various sources of fear have been used here to add to the fear component of the story. Such sources have been identified by the author like the fear of fate, fear of abnormality, fear of science, fear of degeneration, fear of female sexuality, to name a few. Owing to these reasons, the protagonist monster has been considered a hero, a villain, and a victim. Which means he cannot be typecast as a character(Koepke). The entire story and the set of events revolve around him and his deeds. The author of the critical essay has put forth that during the initial days of its publication, Frankenstein was received negatively by many owing to the portrayal of the main character in such an unconventional manner in the context of the 19th-century society.However, Lotus van Overveldt uses a more modern outlook and considers the monster an unfortunate creation that acts like a misguided missile throughout the story. It was more portrayed like an anti-establishment character. For him, this work by Mary Shelley had been much ahead of her time and was a type of science fiction wrapped in horror. Referring to Malchow's second critical essay, Howard L uses "Frankenstein's monster and images of race in nineteenth-century Britain." Past & Presentalso shares the same view(Malchow). He also believes that the monster was exhibiting the contemporary scenario of political revolutions and attempts of social liberation through his deeds. The violence undertaken by the beast was an attempt to reform the political and social norms of that period. Just like the first critic had a belief that the monster exhibited an anti-establishment character, the same thoughts had been echoed by Malchow as well. He also found out that such an anti-establishment shade to the character had an underlying tone of the white and anti-white clash during that period(Smith). However, this is a latent theory that is exclusively Malchow’s thought. The common point of thought between both the critics is that the main character was a protest to the contemporary society as the monster wanted to settle with his female partner with whom the monster would retire to undiscovered wild, far away from the modern society. The failure of having a partner infuriated the monster, leading to a series of violent activities.
In this context, it has to be understood that both the critical essays had emphasized the social system of that period. The monster was brought up with minimum social support and received basic education. Still, without some solid support from the main crux of the society- which is his creator himself, he became rogue. It points to the common but underlying and subtle fear factor of the 19th century. The urge for liberation and failure to achieve would always lead to violent uprising, just as both the creator and his creation had to die(Givner).
It can be concluded from the above discussion that both the critical essays had portrayed the novel in light of the fear factors existing in the 19th century and how a voice of protest might arise and might resort to violence as well to achieve the ultimate goal. Both the essays put forward a very logical and supportive argument on these aspects of the novel.
Givner, Jessie. "The Revolutionary Turn: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein". Gothic Studies, vol 2, no. 3, 2000, pp. 274-291. Edinburgh University Press, https://doi.org/10.7227/gs.2.3.2. Koepke, Yvette. "Lessons From Frankenstein: Narrative Myth As Ethical Model". Medical Humanities, vol 45, no. 1, 2018, pp. 27-36. BMJ, https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2017-011376.
Malchow, H. L. "FRANKENSTEIN's MONSTER AND IMAGES OF RACE IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN". Past And Present, vol 139, no. 1, 1993, pp. 90-130. Oxford University Press (OUP), https://doi.org/10.1093/past/139.1.90.
Smith, Allan Lloyd. "‘This Thing Of Darkness’: Racial Discourse In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein". Gothic Studies, vol 6, no. 2, 2004, pp. 208-222. Literary analysis essayEdinburgh University Press, https://doi.org/10.7227/gs.6.2.4.
vanOverveldt, L. I. R. ""Dreadful Demons: Fearing The Nineteenth-Century Monster In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein And Bram Stoker's Dracula."". English Literature, 2018, Accessed 24 Jan 2022.