Frankenstein By Mary Shelley

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By Mary Shelley

AP English Literature and Composition

Summer Assignment

Ms. Rhodehouse

Dear Student,

I’m excited to start another year in AP Literature! I love literature and think that when read, studied, and discussed in an engaging way, that there is much we can learn from the writings of others.

Because of the amount of material we must cover in one short 8 ½ months prior to the AP exam (which can earn you anywhere from 3 to 6 college credits), it is necessary that we get a jump on the information that you’ll be studying this next year. This summer assignment is also a way for you to get a feel for AP Literature, to decide if this course will fit with your schedule and what you believe you can accomplish this next year.

Please take a look at the directions below. You will be completing a set of questions, a biography on Mary Shelley, and a short analysis/summary of Gothic fiction. These assignments will be due on the first day of class in the fall. Also, you will take a test over the novel that will help test your comprehension level.

Yes, these assignments are necessary and mandatory. The high numbers of students we have in class make it necessary for us to work together, in and out of class, to push towards the skills you’ll need to pass the AP exam. For students who do not finish the assignments and/or fail the test over the novel will be asked to take a regular English course or Honors if you are a junior. Also, students participating in AP English courses during the school year must maintain at least a “B” grade each term. My goal here is not to punish you, but to make sure that I can assist as many students as possible in taking and passing AP English Literature in the 2012-2013 school year!

If you have any questions, please contact me. You can reach me through the school email at I will be teaching summer school through the month of June and can be reached via email otherwise. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Best wishes!

Ms. Rhodehouse

Assignment One: Read the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. (I have contacted the Lehi Public Library, and they will order a few additional copies of the novel for you to use. You can also purchase your own copy, which you can then annotate as you wish.)

Assignment Two: Go to the following web site to learn more about Mary Shelly and Gothic Literature-- or The information here will guide you in learning a little bit more about the author, and the style in which she wrote the novel.

Assignment Three: Answer the study guide questions. Please TYPE up your responses, as they not only are much easier to read, but also follows the pattern you will use for submitting assignments in college. To type these up, you don’t have to include the question (although you may if you wish), simply type the number of the question and your response.

Assignment Four: Write a short, one-page, double-spaced biography of Mary Shelley. In order not to plagiarize or copy this information, I suggest that you find two sources about the author (as I have done here) and then go between the two to write your biography in your own words.

Assignment Five: Adding to the biography of Mary Shelley, add a paragraph that defines Gothic fiction, and then a paragraph that defines Romantic fiction. We will be discussing how the types of literature and time periods help us understand the author’s message and motivation!

On the last page, please include a short Works Cited page to show me the sources you used for both the biography, as well as your information on Gothic and Romantic fiction. You will be doing this for each of your book reports throughout the year, so it’s good to get in the habit now!

Assignment Six: In the past I have had students write a pre-AP style essay. This coming year you will be doing it in the first week or so of school.
Important Note: Because we are a college prep course, I like to have you do most of your assignments in a word document, in MLA format. This is the way your college English courses will require you to turn in homework. Below is a sample of what MLA format entails (it is a simple guideline for setting up your papers).
Ms. Rhodehouse
You will now begin your assignment/paper. If you have any questions about how to
use MLA format appropriately, you either talk to me, refer to various web sites such as Purdue
University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), or the 6th Edition MLA Handbook.

Each assignment is part of the skill set you’ll be using all year in AP Literature. You will be reading, analyzing, writing, synthesizing, deconstructing, and discussing. Who knew you could do so much with a book! Good luck, and let’s get started!

***Here are your study questions for Assignment 2.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelleyfrank

(The study questions are worth 2 ½ pts each)

These study questions come from:

1. Who was Prometheus? Why is the novel subtitled "the Modern Prometheus"? (You can look up on the internet who Prometheus was and then consider how they connect.)

2. Why is the novel, initially, set aboard a ship? Can you think of any other famous works which are set aboard ships? Why did Mary Shelley choose to use that particular setting here? Does it mean anything beyond the immediately apparent physical setting (symbolism of ships?)?

3. Note the various narrative "frames" Mary Shelley employs in her novel. What is the purpose of these various frames? What, specifically, does she wish to accomplish by employing these multiple frames? (Frame=a story within a story)

4. What sort of man is Walton? Does he serve any thematic function in the novel, or is he included largely as a "storyteller"--that is, is he included simply as a mechanical narrative device?

5. In what ways do Walton's letters prepare us for the tale he tells? What difference (if any) do these letters make in the way we react to the rest of the novel?

6. Work out a character sketch of Victor Frankenstein, concentrating on his values and psychological makeup. What does he value? What motivates him? What appear to be his "moral standards"?

7. The first three chapters tell us about Victor Frankenstein's childhood and youth; the fourth, about his "discovery" of the principle of life. For movie fans these chapters may seem irrelevant: after all, we want to see the Creature being created and--amid bursts of smoke and flashes of lightning--"born." Why, then, does Mary Shelley devote so much space to Victor's childhood environment and his education? Why do we need this stuff, anyway?

8. Volume I, Chapter iv (Chapter 5): the Creature is created. Where is the focus in this section? On the process of creation? On the Creature? Somewhere else?

9. Why does Victor work so diligently to bring the Creature to life and then become so abhorrent when he succeeds? Is Mary Shelley working with any "prototype" or "pattern" here? Has this sort of experience or behavior occurred anywhere else that you can think of, in literature, art, or elsewhere?

10. Chapters II, ii through II, ix (chapters 10-17): the Creature tells his story. Notice the place Victor Frankenstein meets his Creature. Why is this setting particularly appropriate? The novel now begins to zero in on its major themes. Of what does the Creature accuse Victor?

11. What do Chapters II, iii - II, vii; Chapters 11-15 reveal about the Creature's "natural instincts"? What gives him pleasure? What does he value? (Consider, for instance, how he describes the DeLaceys and their cottage.) Of what does the Creature's education consist?

12. Volume II, Chapter viii (Chapter 16): What does the Creature finally decide he must do, and why?

13. Volume II, Chapter ix: (Chapter 17): What argument does the Creature offer in support of his demand? Why? Is it a reasonable argument?

14. Volume III, Chapter iii (Chapter 20): Why does Victor Frankenstein decide to discontinue his efforts to create a "bride" for the Creature?

15. We begin to see most clearly in Frankenstein's isolation from his fellow creatures a parallel to the Creature's own situation. In what other ways are Victor and the Creature beginning to be strikingly similar? Have you encountered this sort of "parallel-making" anywhere else in literature or the arts? If so, where? Does the device have a formal name?

16. Book III, Chapter vii (Chapter 24): Note the surrealistic environment of the "chase" scenes. Are we getting into a different sort of novel than we were originally led to expect? If so, what is the nature of the difference?

17. Is there any significance to Victor Frankenstein's final words? What about the Creature's final words?

18. Who is the novel's protagonist? Antagonist? "Hero"?

19. In an influential essay, the Romantic scholar and critic Harold Bloom wrote that the reader's sympathy lies with the Creature, but in his book The Romantic Conflict (1963) Allan Rodway says the reader's sympathy lies with Victor Frankenstein. Who is right?

20. Most modern editions change Mary Shelley's spelling of an important word. Near the top of page 493 of the Penguin (Three Gothic Novels) edition and p. 925 of the Longman anthology edition are these words: "'And do you dream?' said the daemon." In many other editions (especially editions aimed at the "mass market" audience), the end of the line reads: "said the demon." What is the difference between daemon and demon, and can you see any reason why Mary Shelley used the former word in her own text, rather than the latter?

21. What is a "monster"?

One last side note: In 1823 a performing version of Frankenstein was created for the stage by Richard Brinsley Peake. You may find it interesting to compare this version to the novel, as well as to the twentieth-century filmed versions. One thing to consider is the ways in which the author went about trying to adapt this very literary work to the physical performing space of the stage. Another is the characters he added (and subtracted), and what might have prompted him to do so. Mary Shelley actually saw a performance in 1823 and found it "interesting."

You can find a copy of the performing script here (web address:

You can compile your work together, stapling the assignments in order. If you want, either kick back and enjoy the rest of your summer, or you can get started by reading a book from our AP reading list to get a jump!

Preparation for AP Literature: Book Reportsc:\documents and settings\staff\local settings\temporary internet files\content.ie5\o5abk9i3\mcj04348100000[1].png
Because the majority of the AP English Literature and Composition Exam is centered on your exposure to, and understanding of literature across all genres, the more you can read, the better. In fact, the books you read outside of class could be quite pivotal to the open essay questions provided on the exam. I would choose books you are not familiar with, those that might help you on the AP test. Pick books you think you’ll enjoy, but definitely select different types of fictions including novels and plays.
You are not required to write any book reports over the summer, but I thought it was a good idea to let you take a look at our reading list and how you write book reports. The reading list is located on my web site at under AP English Literature.
Book Reports – As part of the school program, generally you will be required to complete two book reports a term. You will need to pick a book from the reading list for college bound & AP Literature exam list for your book reports. Depending on reading requirements for the term, I may also let you read a book of your choosing for one of the terms. In general though, you will be reading from the list.
For your report you should do the following: 1) give me a two page summary of the novel or play, 2) one page biography about the author (these should be summarized in your own words, and not merely a copied version from the internet—please compare two or more sources for your biographies), 3) one page analysis of the author’s writing style and intent with its historical importance, and 4) one page personal response to the novel or play. These book reports should be double spaced, MLA format, with a works cited page to show where you got your sources from. Your reports can be turned in at any time during the term, but the first will be due at midterm, with the second due the last week of the term.
***For some terms, these book reports can be changed according to the curriculum we are focusing on.

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