Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements / paper topics for “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley that can be used as essay starters. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in Frankenstein and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements on Frankenstein offer a short summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from Frankenstein by mary Shelley, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.Thesis Statement/Essay Topic #1: Frankenstein as a Gothic Novel & Example of Romanticism
Frankenstein is one of the finest expressions of the Gothic novel and also fits many of the characteristics of a Romantic novel. Consider all of the elements that comprise a story—including setting, character development, narrative voice, tone, to name just a few—and explain how each element contributes to the novel’s identity as a Gothic text or example of Romanticism. Then, offer your interpretation of Shelley’s message, if you believe she intended to convey one to her reader. If, alternately, you believe that the novel is purely for entertainment purposes, substantiate your claim with textual evidence. If you are stuck, please check out An Overview of Romanticism in Literature and Romanticism in FrankensteinThesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Victor as God in “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
Many students and critics have accused Victor of “playing God” by fabricating the Creature in his laboratory. Playing God, though, implies that a character is flawed by excessive hubris, which may or may not be applicable to Victor. Consider your own reaction to this charge, and write an essay in which you construct a solid argument that conveys your position to the reader. You will need to identify Victor’s character traits and explain how they do or do not substantiate the claim that Victor is trying to play God. You will also need to be sure to cite specific actions that Victor takes which provide evidence for your own claims. It might also be useful to consider the ways the presence of a “god” has an effect on the Creature in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Modern Prometheus: The Meaning of the Subtitle of “Frankenstein”
The subtitle of Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, is “The Modern Prometheus.” Prometheus was a figure from Greek mythology who stole fire from the gods and used it to create humans. Based on your knowledge of this myth, construct an essay in which you defend or refute the idea that Victor is the modern Prometheus. Incorporate specific, concrete evidence from the novel to support your arguments. Be sure to dig beneath the surface similarities between the myth and Shelley’s novel in order to identify latent symbols and their significance.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: The Narrative Structure in Frankenstein
Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, has three narrators who tell the story of the Creature’s creation and his subsequent actions. Write an expository essay in which you explain the function of the three distinct narrators and their respective stories. Identify how each of the narrators differs, what his motives might be, and what the implications are for the novel. You may wish to go beyond this suggestion to offer a well-considered opinion about who you believe to be the most reliable narrator, and why. Alternately, you may wish to argue how the novel would have been different if one or more of the narrators was not present in the text.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4 The Character of the Creature
Considering the Creature’s version of events, conveyed to the reader through his narrative, decide whether you feel empathic towards the Creature’s plight, or whether you think he is an abomination. The essay you write will be persuasive in nature, as you want to convince your reader to adopt your point of view. You may wish to focus on one or more specific passages in order to build your argument. In any case, develop the essay fully by remarking upon the Creature’s significance and what he may represent with respect to society.
* Articles related to the topics here include Overview of Romanticism in LiteratureFrankenstein by Mary Shelley: Morality Without GodThe Presence of Romanticism in Frankenstein Comparison of Notions of Humanity in Frankenstein and Flowers for Algernon
I think that an interesting thesis statement that involves science in Frankenstein can involve the dangers of appropriating the world in accordance to one's own subjectivity. It is a danger that seeks to bring unity and totality to the world and only ends up resulting in tragedy and fragmentation.
Victor embraces science is shown to be a totalizing force. He is a man of science. He believes that science is capable of unifying all aspects of consciousness. Victor sees and perceives science to be the force that provides release from longing and pain. The cure to that which aches the individual is to possess more science: "My father was not scientific, and I was left to struggle with a child's blindness, added to a student's thirst for knowledge." The resolution to challenging elements within being such as the absence of a father's love are shown to be satiated through science.
Science is the force through which meaning is brought into the world. It is also because of this that Victor is able to pursue his ends of creating his "hideous progeny." Science becomes the tool of unifying all disparate aspects of being in the world:
By one of those caprices of the mind which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge. In this mood of mind I betook myself to the mathematics and the branches of study appertaining to that science as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of my consideration.
This quote reflects Victor's absolute and total faith in science. It represents "secure foundations." It is a force that Victor uses to appropriate the world around him in accordance to his own subjective notions of the good. The objective branch that Victor associates with science actually becomes an extension of his own subjective beliefs in its perceived totality.
When Victor confronts the creation of the monster, science is shown to be unable to provide an answer for his flight and abandonment. Science is not able to unify that which is disparate. It is here in which science becomes an element that cannot provide answers. The tragedy intrinsic in appropriating the word in accordance to the perceived objectivity in science results in human death, sadness, and misery. From the most totalizing of views, Victor's pursuit is shown to be a fragmented one.
The thesis of displaying science as a force to appropriate the world in accordance to one's subjectivity is important because it reveals of both Victor's commitment to science and his failure within it. This becomes an essential part of both his characterization and the novel's thematic development. As a thesis statement, it works to bring out Shelley's critique of science as well as all movements that seek to posit absolutism and totality in a human predicament filled with limitations and myopia.