Lesson 2 – Frankenstein Begins

Grade: 9-12 (Elective course)
Duration: 54 minutes
Objectives: By the end of the lesson, students will…

  • Discuss implications of changing a character’s setting.
  • Review conventions of Gothic literature.
  • Analyze beginning of Frankenstein in terms of Gothic conventions.
  • Discuss the “Letters” section of Frankenstein in a literary context.
  • Discuss the “Letters” section of Frankenstein in a thematic context:
    • “What are the possibilities and pitfalls inherent to tremendous ambition?”
    • Guiding excerpt: “One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race” (Shelley 24-5).



  • Students will be given the opportunity to read  the one-page narratives assigned last class which asked them to place a dystopian character in a Gothic setting (or vice versa).
    • After all willing students have read, the class will discuss the implications of changing a character’s setting.
    • At this point I will collect the narratives and transition into the next activity.
  • As a class, we will use the slideshow to review the conventions of Gothic literature covered earlier in the year.
    • We will first identify the conventions, and then work as a class to describe them.
  • At this juncture, the class will be divided into five groups, each responsible for analyzing the “Letters” introduction of Frankenstein in terms of the Gothic conventions.
    • Using the provided handout, each group will identify at least two excerpts containing its assigned convention, and then speculate about its role in the novel.
    • The class will reform, and each group will report its findings.


  • Read chapters 1-5 in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein!

[next up: lesson 3]

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