4M. Mary Shelley & Frankenstein

It’s about time to start our module on the great female writer, Mary Shelley, the writer of Frankenstein and wife of the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

This Zaption video I made is about her troubled life we’ll deal with in class. Click link to the video and write your SURNAME  before starting. Mary Shelley: A life about Death.

10 TopNotes about the novel. Interesting video to revise its main features.

From the National Library of Medicine (thanks to EdTech teacher this exhibition FRANKENSTEIN PENETRATING THE SECRETS OF NATURE looks at the world from which Mary Shelley came, how popular culture has embraced the Frankenstein story, and at how Shelley’s creation continues to illuminate the blurred, uncertain boundaries of what we consider “acceptable” science.

The second video is a Summary of the novel you have already read 🙂 Just to revise it in a visual form before reading an extract together.

I’m also embedding a very interesting Frankenstein Google Literary Trip, so that you can visualize the places of the novel. It was meant for a teacher so you needn’t focus on all information, just select the relevant one. It lasts 6m‘. You can also see here the map made last year by two students. Francesca’s and Cristian’s version

Frankenstein from GoogleLitTrips on Vimeo.


The following videoclip is taken from “Frankenstein the 1931 classic showing the trials and tribulations of the man and his monster, directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive.

The second video is taken from Kenneth Branagh’s movie Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994 ) and it’s the scene of  The CREATION OF THE MONSTER.  Sticking close to the original novel, Kenneth Branagh guides us through the story of Frankenstein’s quest for knowledge and his creature’s search for his “father”. Director: Kenneth Branagh/Release Date: 4 November 1994starring  Robert de Niro, Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter.

  • Assignment 1 After watching the clip answer the following questions IN YOUR NOTEBOOK.
  1. What leads to the creation of the monster?
  2. What does Dr.Frankenstein look like? How does he feel before and after the creation?
  3. What does he say DURING and AFTER the creation?
  4. Does the soundtrack contribute to the atmosphere of the scene?

You can (it’s optional) also have a look at this presentation I found while surfing the net . It’s incredible how many things you come across … by pure chance!

Here’s the funny website you are already familiar with: Frankenstein in 60 secondsI find the girl’s voice unbearable but you may like her. It’s a way of making  literature very easy and understandable to everybody. As I see it it’s a way of trivializing great masterpieces, not my cup of tea 😉

Assignment 2  Leave your comment below answering to the following:

  • Which of the 2 monsters you have seen do you find more impressive and why?

20 thoughts on “4M. Mary Shelley & Frankenstein

  1. The monster that impressed me the most is the second monster, mostly for its physical apearince, like the scars and his hight. I find the second monster more realistic too.

  2. I prefer the monster in the second film, the modern movie. When we watched the scene of creation in class, honesty I was a bit impressed by all the machines and equipments that doctor Frankenstein uses to create the monster. Furthermore, the atmosphere is very realistic, in my opinion more realistic than in the first video. In the second film, for example the soundtrack is fundamental to bring us in the story. Probably it wouldn’t be the same without music. Also the colours contribute to create the atmosphere: during the scene we see the alternation of black and yellow (or brown); the alternation of light and dark, or better said, in my opinion, the alternation of good and evil. So the question seems to be: It’s really right what the doctor is trying to do? Have we really the right to control and decide about life and death?

  3. I personally find the second one more impressive and scary than the first. That’s because the newer special effects and the use of better technologies into the film-making have an important role when you have to impress your public.
    I also have to say that the first extract it’s syrely good for his years, but I didn’t find it very impressive.
    I’d like to watch a Frankenstein’s film if there would be made one in our days, because I found that the plot is incredibly breathtaking, considering that it was made 200 years ago.

  4. I find the second monster more realistic and impressive than the first one, above all for the scars that cover all the monster’s body. I also appreciate, like other classmates, the fact that the monster lies in the amniotic fluid. Personally, I think that the creature of the first clip looks more like a normal human and not like a monster.

  5. The monster that impressed me the most was the one from Kenneth Branagh’s movie maybe because it truly looks like what such a creature would even if it is quite disgusting. The other monster instead resembles the common imagery of Frankenstein’s monster. For this reason this version might be preferred since it is less horribly realistic. I wouldn’t say I preferred one version over the other. The movie from the 30s surely gives less anxiety while watching and it is problably more historically accurate in terms of setting. But I liked the scientific accuracy of Branagh’s movie’s monster even if the soundtrack and the action made the whole scene slightly too distressing for me.

  6. I was more fascinated by the first Frankenstein version. I found it more impressive and effective to understand better the story of the doomed protagonist and narrator of the story. There’re many noises and sounds, such as machines’ and electricity sounds and thunders, which gave me a sense of suspense and stressed the idea of anxiety and fear, as well as the idea of the gothic, gloomy and strange atmosphere well-represented by the author. I always found black-and-white films so interesting and remarkable, they have the ability to make me come back in the past; in this case, the film gives a perfect and appreciable idea of the creature, of the grotesque monster brought to life by Victor’s daring trial. I also appreciated how the protagonist in the first version looks like; he seems to be so proud and glad of his trial, especially when he says “in the name of God, it is moving”.
    The second video didn’t impress me, I would always choose the version of 1931 because of his old style, even though the colours, the surrounding effects and the higher quality of Kenneth Branagh’s movie are evident.

  7. Since I was a child I immagined this creature as the one that James Whale represented, and although it isn’t realistic, I prefer it to the other. I found very impressive the monster by Kenneth Branagh, initially I didn’t realize that the director wanted to recreate the scene of a real birth but I found it brilliant.

  8. I think that the 2nd monster it’s more impressive than the first one because the scene where it appears for the 1st time it’s closer to the idea that we have of horror movies. In the first film the behavior of Dr. Frankenstein when he sees that he brought to life a corpse it’s more impressive to me than the monster itself.

  9. Personally, I think the 2nd monster is much more impressive, probably because of the epic music used during the clip, which contributed to creating an atmosphere of suspence that really made me wonder what was going to happen next. Although I admire the movie made in the 30s, the low quality of the sound isn’t appealing to me at all, but that’s just personal preference. I also think the surroundings of the 2 monsters were a little bit better in the 2nd clip

  10. I was also more intrigued by the second, and more recent, film version of Frankenstein. The quality of it depends on the fact that it’s production could rely on more advanced (modern) technology. But most importantly for me, I can’t bear the acting of the 1931 version. I don’t find it convincing at all. But I have to say that I’ve felt the same for many older films.
    In the second film, the newly created body of ‘the Creature’ appears like the body of a deceased, dead person – of a corpse. Which is what I had pictured in my head when I read the novel.

  11. I’ve always known the 1931 version of the movie of Frankenstein and I prefer it. It was made in the 30s so the special effects are not as good as the one’s of Kenneth Branagh but I think the moster of 1931’s version is closer to the book and represents it better. And also this creature is more suggestive than the one of the modern movie. This is what I think now but maybe after watching the whole other movie, I will change my mind.

  12. I found the second monster more impressive because it was more realistic, to me. It was still very “disgusting” , as it should be, but it was represented in a more realistic way( as we can see, the director represented the creation of the monster like it was a real birth). Even if the second monster was more impressive to watch, I found the first one the better one, because I’ve always imagined it like that.

  13. In my opinion, the monster that reflects most my idea of a monster is the first one, perhaps because all the Halloween’s costumes of the Frankestein’s monster are very similar to the creature that James Whale created. Personally, I don’t like very much the second monster: I found it pretty realistic and scary but his creation is exaggerated and too modern, also for the large amount of details and actions that represent Kenneth Branagh’s movie. Furthermore, the scene of the first movie is more believable because it seems a true laboratory. I think that the black and white helps a lot. The place in the second movie, instead, is too bright and doesn’t reflect a lab because of his size and also for the incredible and absurde objects in it.

  14. I found the second monster more impressive because to me it is more realistic than the first one. I think that also the colors contributed to gave me this impression because the use of them make the scene closer to reality because the moster seems a real person and not just an experiment or a dummy used in films. Like Anna and Stephanie said the second video was impressive also for the attention of the director to rapresent the rebirth of a monster like the real birth of a baby with all its aspects. I agree with Chiara when she said that the ideal monster is the first one ’cause everyone imagine the Frankenstein’s creature as the one we see in the first video. Maybe I wasn’t impressed by the first video because it remembers me the parody of Frankenstein made by Mel Brooks (Frankenstein Junior). In fact I’ve immediately associated the assistant of the first video to the funny Igor of Mel Brooks!

  15. The first movie reminds me more of a previous age, since it is black and White and the recitation is more pathetic.
    I liked the fact that in the most recent movie the doctor is alone in his lab and he expresses his emotions without someone containing his actions like he was mad.
    I know another movie, actually it’s a series, where there is Victor Frankenstein creating his Monster and I think we could compare it too, since most of the scenes regarding the character of the doctor are just like Mary Shelley’s story:
    Actually, in this scene the doctor creates his second creature, since the first one has become evil (and we know the rest of the story).
    All the three scenes have in common a great sense of excitement, happiness, that shows how important his experiment was.
    I hope this video is not inappropriate in this discussion, if it is I apologize in advance 🙂

  16. I find the second monster (the one in Kenneth Branagh’s film) more impressive than the other monster because his creation seems to be more realistic, although the machinery and the method used in the creation are fanciful in both movies (in the black-and-white version the monster is only exposed to a thunderstorm, whereas in the other one is immersed in a liquid and the electricity comes from eels); another reason is that, in Branagh’s movie, the creation is accompanied by a soundtrack, while in the older version there are only annoying sounds (mainly because it was one of first movies with sound).

  17. I found the second monster more realistic. The director Kenneth Branagh represented the monster like a fetus in the womb of a mother and after the creation we can see in the movie that the monster is covered by liquid that seems amniotic fluid.
    I’m really impressed by this choice made by the author.
    I found the other monster less realistic and it appeared more like a normal dead body than like a monster, but in this movie I found really interesting the detail of the hand that was stretched out like Mary Shelley in is book wrote. (” He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me…”).

  18. The monster represented in the version of 1931 probably looks more alike the idea I had of the creature, as in most of the shows I saw, it was portrayed with this enormous forehead and screws. I appreciate the fact it’s in black and white, obviously because of the age in which it was filmed but it gives more anxiety, in particular in this scene, as the contrasts are more significant. On one hand I am fascinated by the old style of the monster but this may mean he has many limits, too. The creature of the movie by Kenneth Branagh may be more “real” and striking, and the birth is represented with many details and focuses more on the equipment that the scientist used. For this reason I find the modern version more relevant but I think the old monster will last in the common view people have of Frankenstein

  19. I found more impressive the second monster (the one from Kenneth Branagh’s movie) because in my opinion there are more effects like the substance that have the creature on his body that help to make the scene and the creation more real and also all the scenery contribute to create more reality. I like more the colour film than the black and white movies because i think they are more impressive and they entertain me more. Moreover the aspect of the creature in the film directed by James Whale appears a bit unreal and so I didn’t like it so much.

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