Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography: Frankenstein Blog Research

Adams, Carol J. “Frankenstein’s Vegetarian Monster”” Adams, “Frankenstein’s Vegetarian Monster” New York Continuum, 1990. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.

In this comparison, Carol J. Adams takes the story of Frankenstein, and that of The Creature’s Vegetarianism. When Frankenstein came around as a vegetarian it brought up some thoughts on why and how that exactly was seen at the time. The author of the article brings up how just the idea of being a vegetarian was motive enough for people to be shunned and pushed out of the community, as a monster would be. This opened up that many more layers of Kathos for when her story was released. “Central Themes in Frankenstein.” Central Themes in Frankenstein., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2014. The central themes that are talked about in this article give a second (Or third if you count mine) Interpretation of the themes presented in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. The idea of parental responsibility and weeping what you sow really strikes home in this article, the idea that the scientist was truly at fault for all that was done and his natural response being that of revenge speaks to the nature of man, and I really find truth in that. The last idea speaking of an ‘Unjust Society’ and how it was not only present in the book, but was a major factor in Mary’s everyday life, in 18th century France.

Baldick, Chris. “The Monster Speaks”” Baldick, “The Monster Speaks” Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987. Web. 12 Oct. 2014

This collection of criticism was perfect for finding a mass of short and quick responses from a collection of famous writers of the time. It really gives a great summary of what everyone really thought of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The list of authors that were included in the article included Mary herself, ‘my hideous progeny’ she called it. For her to call it that horrid part of herself, the need for her to kind of explain to everyone that she isn’t really as dark as she might seem from her writing.

Botting, Fred. “Frankenstein and the Language of Monstrosity”” Botting, “Frankenstein and the Language of Monstrosity”University of Pennsylvania, 1991. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.

In this passage the author, Fred Botting discusses the idea of a monster through the eyes of seventeenth century France. He discusses the writings of a man that goes by the name of Edmund Burke and how he would measure what is a monster, and how. He did this through a couple of criteria that he came up with himself. This really lead the way of how Mary Shelley herself would describe her monster, and how it was a statement that would have meaning for years and years to come.

Carol J. Adams. “The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory.”

New York, Continuum, 1990. P. 108-119. This small exert of this book showed the views of the author toward Frankenstein in a new way I had not seen before. Carol J. Adams believed that the story had a very large theme surrounding the vegetarian state of mind that the monster had, the moral implications of it, and the further alienation of the monster because of this state of mind.

Cottom, Daniel. “Frankenstein and the Monster of Representation”” Cottom, “Frankenstein and the Monster of Representation” Substance, 1980. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.

In this article I wanted to continue to research Mary Shelley and a more in depth meaning to what she might have meant by called her Story of Frankenstein her, ‘Hideous progeny’. His ideals come from that of a complete different sense, but are appreciated. He expresses his thoughts about the similarities that the scientist, Frankenstein had toward his monster. It was his hideous progeny in really every sense. He goes more in depth with his ideas and follows it up with so many examples and analogies that it’s hard to disagree with them.

European Graduates. “Mary Shelley – Biography.” Mary Shelley. Egs.Edu, n.d. Web. 12 Oct 2014 This Biography gave the basic gist of Mary Shelley’s history. It gave the basic information needed to formulate exactly why she may have wrote something as gothic and in depth as this. Her life story contains that of discrimination after the death of her mother, and the remarrying of her father, the suicides, and the loss of her first child. It would make anyone down. Sad part about all of that is that she wrote Frankenstein much before most of the terrible things that were to come to Mary’s life. To add to the impressiveness of her writing ability it’s amazing to note her lack of any kind of formal education.

Fitzpatrick, Sean. “Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Crisis Magazine.” Crisis Magazine. The Civilized Reader, 20 May 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2014. I began a search for a more recent critically analytical dissection of the story, as to see what the changes might have been when time is present. As much to my surprise time seemed to not only not change the common ideals and view on Frankenstein’s meaning, but make it more concrete. The occurred change was that only of the comparisons made by the critic. They would use more recent examples of similar works, but the overall idea was the same on this, as the author would put it, “gothic attempt at rebellion”.

“Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.

In this biography I found some of the basic information and may even the motivation for Mary in writing Frankenstein. The author of this biography (Who is not given) told of Mary’s lack of education in a formal sense, but her extensive amount of knowledge all self-taught from her father’s library. Which would translate into her hobby of writing, as you could easily imagine was something she did a lot. Last bit of information I grabbed from this article was the loss of her first child. This tragedy is believed to have been when she began her writing of her famous story, Frankenstein.

Pearce, Joseph. “The Misunderstood Monster |  From the Introduction to Mary Shelley’ “Frankenstein” | Ignatius Insight.” The Misunderstood Monster| From the Introduction to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” | Ignatius Insight. Ignatius Critical Editions, 2008. Web. 12 Oct. 2014. Here is where I found a bit of information on why exacting the writing style of Frankenstein may have been as confusing as it was. The Author Joseph Pearce called these “Forces” things like the time period it was written in, the teenage years the author wrote the story in, and lastly the emotionally deteriorating effects that came with the suicides and miscarriages she grew up with.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Mary Shelley: Biography.” Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 12 Oct. 2014. I went and searched for a second Biography just to check and insure the info from the previous was correct, while also looking for more little bits of information that I could include in my blog to give Mary’s background more examples and personality. A bit of information I would find included that of the frequent guests that Mary had at her house as a child. They would include many famous writers that would continue to shape her future in writing.

University of Pennsylvania. “Major Themes in Frankenstein.” Major Themes in Frankenstein. University of Pennsylvania, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2014. I used this website to try and create an understanding for all the themes present in the story. Though they are plentiful given the depth this story has, it really assisted me in giving more of an in-depth understanding for where they were present. While also reminding you of what it is exactly that those themes are supposed to do to a reader, what it is supposed to make them feel when they come across them. Giving the example of alienation and how Frankenstein’s monster was nothing but alienated throughout the course of the story. Frankenstein’s monster was created as a monster with no real way to belong.

Interpretation (Andrene Hughes)

frankenstein3 (1)

While reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein novel it became very apparent to me that the themes that were blatant were shadowing some of the many issues actually addressed in the writing. Mary expressed many of the issues presented to her in her world at the time she wrote her story. At times it is easiest to convey a message in such a way they the person does not even know what is going on. Now that is not saying her writing style is impossible to follow, it is just very deep in its meaning. The initial meaning that is taken away from any part of the story is always taken in pieces, never in its entirety.

Frankenstein is something to read twice. The reason behind that is basically to gain an appreciation for its multiple themes. When reading it the first time an only a basic view for the amount of themes present will be taken away. Some of the basic, more obvious themes present are things such as the gothic feel present throughout. Then there is feeling of loss surrounding almost every character present in the story, and of course Frankenstein’s central theme of revenge for his lost family and friends due to his creation’s actions. This of course is connected to the obsession that the creator felt toward his creation and his need for revenge. There is of course many more you might find while reading the first time, but it is in the second read that you catch so many more.


After reading Frankenstein a first time, a general understanding for Mary’s style of writing should be obtained. This new gained skill will allow for a more in depth read of the book. Those first few hundred pages that truly were not understood, with another read through, will give a more full understanding of the story. With the help of a little research of the time that Mary Shelley lived in, the decisions made by her for her story will make a lot more sense.

In the story, Frankenstein’s monster was a vegetarian. Now at the time that the book was released meat was becoming more and more accessible to more and more people. This was a big change in the world, that before was feed almost in its entirety on crops. With this change groups of vegetarians began to spring up. Mary Shelley’s husband, Percy, was one of them. To show her support for the cause Mary made her monster a vegetarian. Now what that does is, it shows that even a monster in the eyes of society can see the wrong in killing something alive, just like us. It is supposed to make them understand their troubled morality and change it. This of course did not work, but it explains the decision made. It also would further alienate Frankenstein’s monster from the rest of society.

During the writing of “The Modern Prometheus” the very bloody French Revolution was taking place. During the French Revolution the people made the rich and anyone else they decided to, into a monster. They would of course do what the French Revolution was famous for, and send them to the guillotine. Mary looked at her story and saw an opportunity to show their stupidity. In the book, Frankenstein’s monster was not really a monster. He saw injustice in even the death of an animal. It was not until he was made into a monster by the people around him, just like the French Revolution.


Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein with many ideas in mind. She wanted to try and better society, if not just show their stupidity. She would address so many problems in the world through her writing, though many people would never realize it because of her writing style. This novel is something with enough depth to fill five books twice its size with interpretations. The underlined themes present throughout are there for anyone willing to put the time into finding them.

Interpretation (Elizabeth Nambo)


During the experience of reading Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, it was able to invoke many feelings and thoughts. Gaining an initial interpretation of the writing was difficult. That of course is because of the writing style that Mary Shelley took for the story, which I would soon come to love. Coming to understand the style, my initial interpretation of the story was very simple. The story initially was something simple.  Frankenstein was a confusing story written to induce horror in its readers mind, in a gothic European setting. It was not until a further understanding for whom Mary Shelley was and how she wrote developed, that a better more in depth interpretation of Frankenstein came into understanding.

Around the half way mark of reading, the words and sentences began to flow more easily. It was not until then did I start to realize that there was much more to this author’s style than met the eye.  The themes that were obvious were just the first layer of so much more. Mary delved into her father’s expertise while writing this, the side of her family that was specialized in philosophizing. Mary wrote about loss, depression, self-acceptance, and alienation, all things very present throughout her entire life.

Mary lost so much in her life, without even living a long life herself. She lost her mother before she could even grow to remember her. She would loss all but one of her children through miscarriages and death shortly after their birth. The alienation coming from her step-mother’s hate toward her, and much of her family, especially after running off with her husband Percy. The problem with alienation would cause a problem with self-acceptance, never understanding why all these horrid things happened to her. Lastly, the depression would come from everything that came before this. All of these things present in her writing.

In the story Frankenstein’s monster would experience all of those things. He would, in the end, lose the only thing in his life that meant anything to him, his creator. His creator actually would die seeking revenge for the loss of his loved ones due to the actions of his monster and ultimately him. The monster would inherently feel alienated because of being the only person of his kind. He would also never find self-acceptance as he would commit suicide before being able to do so. This of course all once again would sum up into a kind of depression that the monster felt. There is no suicide without depression.

The story Frankenstein is a story used as a form of ventilation for its author Mary Shelley. Though the story itself would come out from a competition amongst friends, it would end up being something much more to her. The story would be a part of her, putting everything she had been dealing with all of her life onto paper, though she may not have intended to. An author’s experience is reflected onto everything they do. Mary Shelley would live a very sad, struggle filled life, and she would write a story equally as sad disguised as something of a horror.

Real Life Connections

Young Frankenstein 3

Mary Shelley’s life around the time of writing Frankenstein was not the most pleasant time in her life, though not much of it was pleasant at all. This could quite easily correlate to the writing style and themes that were present in the writing itself. Frankenstein was filled with loss, this was right around the time of one of many miscarriages Mary would face in her life. While writing the story she would also face the suicide of her half-sister Fanny, and her soon to be husband’s wife. It should come as no surprise that the style of writing that takes place in this novel would be something a bit dark and depressing, and that is exactly what it is.

Some believe that the central theme of Frankenstein, monstrosity, was decided because of the ideals of a monstrosity being thrown around during the French Revolution, Which was taking place at around the same time. There is also the connection of the “Romantic Vegetarians” that was brought up by Carol J. Adams. The idea was that these people, Mary Shelley’s husband Percy being one of them, were trying to expand this moral circle that we humans have to include animals. The idea was to treat them with more respect like we would with that of a person. The connection being that Frankenstein’s monster was a vegetarian. What this was meant to do was show that even something that we categorize as a monster struggles with the morality surrounding killing and eating other living things. So even if a monster sees a problem with it, we should definitely do the same. This being one of those underlined themes hidden throughout the story.



Elizabeth Nambo

While putting this research blog together I grew a large understanding for the inspiration behind Mary Shelley’s writing of the story Frankenstein. Though it almost makes me feel terrible calling it that. The inspiration behind it being her life’s personal experiences, experiences like incredible loss and abortion. The saddest part probably being that the losses she had at the time of her writing and publishing this story would only be the beginning to the very many tragedies she would see in her life.

The reason behind me choosing this novel was simply the fact that I find the writing in Frankenstein to be something of a masterpiece, if not very close to one. I have a great understanding for why it turns many people off, that of course being the writing style and time difference. It can be difficult to understand, but when you do see it in its entirety it is really something quite amazing. The thought that went into something that started off just as something of a competition amongst is inspiring. Mary Shelley put her life into her work and it shows. To read a couple pages knowing there were so many secrets and meaning in each of them showed how much this “horrid protégée” meant to her.

This style of research really allowed me to take understanding and drafting everything one step at a time. It helped the whole idea of research become a little less stressful and intimidating to do. I really appreciate this form of research over the very unapproachable counterparts.


Andrene Hughes

During the research for the blog I can without a doubt say that writing in this style really helps me to understand all the parts that go into a research paper. Taking it one step after another allowed me to focus all of my attention on a single goal, helping me stay on topic and in mind of what I was to do for each part in the research process.

I chose this particular story because I really enjoyed the style of writing that Mary Shelley took throughout the novel. Everything from its themes to the constant changing of setting and perspective I really enjoyed. I really enjoy gothic novels; it is really amazing to me when writing provokes emotions like Frankenstein does. The shivers, the horror, fear it is all really quite cool to experience through a different more modern medium like movies, and television. This was even more apparent when I was researching for the blog. I found so much criticism of the story, each with the critic having a different view and interpretation of the story. Reading the many different and diverse emotions provoked from each person was so very interesting. Seeing some people be bothered by the creation of life, while others disgust toward the creation of the body of the monster himself really exampled the diversity in emotion writing can provoke. This especially is so when a very capable author is at the helm.

Writing Style

Power of Words


Throughout the novel “Frankenstein” there are hidden underlined themes, and blatant, obvious ones. One of those underlined themes is the ideal of a monstrosity. The monster present in the story was of course Frankenstein’s creation, though it could be argued that he was only a monster in the eyes of these around him. It could also be argued that the society present is what defines a monster. If the monster was indeed just that, a monster, then would its creator not also be defined as a monster? Many interesting thoughts can sprout around themes, and that is exactly what they are there for. To go along with the thought of Frankenstein being the true monster in the story, it brings up the theme revolved around scientific advancement and Frankenstein’s pursuit for knowledge, and invention. The theme makes the advancement of knowledge into something somewhat dangerous, and to be avoided. The idea of creating life was of course crazy for the time that the story was written, and even now.

She would also bring up loss and abortion that was so very present in her life. Having had many abortions herself it was no surprise that it would come up in the story, things highly influential to a person will come up in their everyday life, and this is especially true with authors. The idea of the abortion comes up when Frankenstein’s monster would evaluate himself. Calling him-self something to be aborted, something so ugly it should be beat, and kicked. This would continue with Frankenstein’s own views of his creation, he would call it something “Thoughtlessly made”, even he himself, that created the monster was disgusted with it.

Throughout the text there are many different view-points and forms of storytelling. Mary Shelley would skip from person to person changing perspective and style. Mary would also change the format in which the story would progress, as it was progressing. The story telling changed from letters written, to dialogue, to first, and third prospective. Though this would make the story over all a little difficult to read and understand this style would be present throughout the novel. When you do grow to understand and appreciate the style, the true masterpiece comes out.

Lastly, two of the more important and present themes are that of revenge and obsession. Frankenstein’s feeling toward his creation is a great example of both of these themes. His need for revenge of the death of his loved ones would lead him to feel a great need for revenge towards his creation; this would lead to an obsession for revenge. This obsession would lead Frankenstein to his demise.



The story would take place mainly in Europe. The reach of the novel would span to throughout Europe though, ranging from Russia, Italy, and Switzerland.



Frankenstein could easily be categorized as many things, in the genre sense. The most fitting genres would most definitely be that of gothic, and horror. The reason for writing this story after all was as a competition to see who could write the best horror story amongst her step mother and friends.



Chris Baldick wrote for the Oxford: Clarendon Press in 1987, which is around the time his story, “In Frankenstein’s Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity, and Ninteenth-Century Writing”. As the title reads, he believed that the story of Frankenstein was that of a “mirror” to the author, Mary Shelley’s life. What followed her birth was the death of her mother, Mary Woolstonecraft. This can be connected to the story in that the creation of Frankenstein’s monster would soon lead to the demise of Frankenstein himself. The monster soon would be found weeping over his creator, knowing it was his fault for Frankenstein’s demise. Mary would also find herself in the same position, always filled with sadness for the death of her mother. This connection would again be brought up when Frankenstein’s monster finds the laboratory notes that coincided with his creation. Like the monster, Mary Shelley as a child would find herself reading her mother’s works, which included the love letters that belonged to her parents, leading up to the pregnancy, or “creation” of Mary herself.

Carol J. Adams of the New York, Continuum viewed Mary Shelley’s work as something of a “call out”. The main point she made was surrounded around the point that Frankenstein was a vegetarian. Carol J Adam’s believed that Mary Shelley made the monster a vegetarian to show the moral wrong doings of man. Making the monster a vegetarian makes him even further from being normal, and accepted. As stated here, “The Creature includes animals within its moral codes, but is thwarted and deeply frustrated when seeking to be included within the moral codes of humanity. It learns that regardless of its own inclusive moral standards, the human circle is drawn in such a way that both it and the other animals are excluded from it.” (The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, 108-119.) Carol believed that at the time of this books release it was around the same time as the revolution that the “Romantic Vegetarians”, as she called them, were trying to expand the moral view of man to include animals, they did not succeed. Mary Shelley’s husband, Percy, was one of these “Romantic Vegetarians”, which supports this claim.

Fred Botting, a writer for Manchester University Press in 1991 would take a very different and more world involved evaluation to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. Fred Botting believed that in the story the author would take on the idea of the “Monster” that was characterized in the French Revolution as a terrible threat to any established order. Mary would challenge this idea through her story by showing that, as said in Frankenstein, “man can be changed into an artificial monster by the stations in which he is born”. She would go on saying that social organizations can manufacture their own monsters through discrimination and hate. She enforces this idea by showing the monster as something that is kind and filled with moral conflicts, it is not until he is marked as a monster that he would do unjust things.

Author- Mary Shelley


Mary Shelley, the famous author of the Frankenstein grew up in London, England and would live there for the entirety of her life. On August 30th, 1797, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin gave birth to a daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. Mary, would grow up in a house of writers, her father being a philosopher and political writer, and her mother being a famed feminist. Mary Shelley’s mother wrote the famed “The Vindication of the Rights of Woman” in 1972, not too long before Mary’s birth. She would never grow to know her mother as she would die not long after her birth. This would bring about a large shift in the home environment Mary would grow up in.

Mary, along with her half-sister, were merged into the family of Mary Jane Clairmont in 1801, with the union between her, and Mary’s father. The half-sister, Fanny Imlay, was born through the affair of her mother and a soldier Mary would never grow to have any kind of meaningful relationship with her half-mother. This would aid in the decision of sending Mary’s sister away for an education, while leaving her without.

The Wollstonecraft family household was a place of many great and inspiring guests, most of which were authors like her father. Some of the guests included Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, both equally famous authors of their time. This perhaps also aided in the inspiration Mary received in becoming the author she did. Though she would never receive any kind of formal education, Mary found education through reading. She would most often be found amongst the tombstone of her mother reading. The self-education would also include frequent writing; her first poem published was “Mounseer Nongtongpaw” in 1807.

As Mary grew older she would spend her summers amongst family friends in Scotland. This is where she would meet her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mary met him during her first visit in 1812, and starting a relationship with him in 1814, Percy was still married at the time. To resolve that issue, Percy and Mary would flee England together. For some time they would roam Europe, struggling both financially and emotionally after the loss of their first child in late 1815. That following summer they would find themselves in Switzerland with Mary’s step-mother Jane Clairmont, Lord Byron and John Polidori. In finding entertainment for the group someone suggested they all try a jab at writing a horror story. This is when Mary Shelley would begin to start that famous story, Frankenstein.

That same year Mary would suffer many more losses in her life, including the suicide of her half-sister Fanny, and Percy’s ex-wife a short time later. This allowed Mary and Percy to marry on December 1816. In the year 1818, Frankenstein would be released, with an anonymous author. Mary thought that her being a woman would affect the critic’s views, so she decided to keep it secret until the time was right.