Frankenstein Essay Topics

Instructor: Alicia Taylor

Alicia has taught students of all ages and has a master's degree in Education

When you include an essay in your unit on ''Frankenstein,'' you help your students explore the major themes of the classic on their own. Here are prompts for expository essays, compare and contrast essays, and persuasive essays of a variety of difficulty levels.

Expository Essay Prompts

These prompts (difficulty: easy to medium) are appropriate for high school students writing essays of 3-5 pages.

  • What makes Robert Walton enjoy the company of Victor Frankenstein? Why does he choose him for a friend?
  • What role does technology play in Frankenstein? Does Shelley believe it is responsible for the problems that occur?
  • In Chapter 4, Victor says many terrible things would never have happened '' if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections.'' What does this mean? Why does Victor say this?
  • Victor describes himself as a child by saying, ''My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement'' (Chap. 2). What does this mean? Does Victor ever outgrow these traits?
  • What roles do nature and the weather play in the book? What is happening in the book when storms occur? When does the author describe peaceful natural settings?
  • What does the monster blame for his miserable life? How does this change between his story in chapters 11-16 and the final letter of the book?
  • Why does Shelley include the story about the De Lacey family? What did they teach the monster?
  • Victor attempts to kill his monster. The monster never attempts to kill Victor. What causes the two characters to behave differently?
  • How does the monster choose to persuade Victor? What does this tell us about the monster?
  • Why might it be that the monster never receives a name? What effect might this have on the monster? What effect does it have on the reader?
  • How does the monster change over the course of the novel?

Compare and Contrast Essay Prompts

These prompts (difficulty: medium to hard) are appropriate for high school students writing essays of 4-6 pages.

  • Compare and contrast Robert Walton's voyage with Victor Frankenstein's pursuit of scientific knowledge. Pay attention to why they are carried out, how they are accomplished, how many people are involved in each, and how they conclude.
  • Victor is interested in nothing but science as a child. But, his friends are interested in learning about philosophy and morality. How does the author contrast these two kinds of interests in the novel?
  • Victor becomes very interested in alchemy at an early age. When he gets to college, his teachers introduce him to more modern science. Compare and contrast alchemy and modern science in Frankenstein.
  • In Frankenstein, many births are recorded. How is childbirth in the novel similar to Victor's creation of new life? How are the two kinds of creation different?
  • Compare and contrast Victor and his monster. Pay attention to their way of speaking, their priorities, their interests, and their actions.
  • How is the De Lacey family similar to the Frankenstein family? How are they different?
  • After Victor destroys his half-finished female monster, the monster kills Victor's wife, Elizabeth. Compare and contrast these two actions.

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