Why is Frankenstein still studied at colleges?


More than two centuries after it first appeared Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” is still an important component of literary studies around the world. This nineteenth-century fiction novel, which was the product of artistic challenge one summer at Lord Byron’s villa in Switzerland, gave birth to dozens of movie adaptations, numerous literary pieces, andinspired everything from theater plays to clothing lines establishing the Frankenstein’s monster as a pop culture powerhouse we know today.

However, what creates such a powerful magnetism that keeps the literary world still occupied by this novel? In this article, we’re going to introduce some of the most important reasons why Mary Shelley’s 1818 work of fiction is popular to this day.

A timeless piece of literature that asks evergreen questions

At the center of the story, Shelley places a scientist and his creation, which is a classical setup for any science fiction novel. However, the moral of the story keeps the audience in question whether Victor Frankenstein’s achievement had ethical foundations.

One of the first fictional mad scientists came up with a new way to reanimate the human body using a recently discovered technology of electricity. At the start of the 19th century, the possibilities of electricity were still under research, and this left the author with a wide speculative area that gave birth to the novel. In many contemporary studentessays on “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, we can see that authors placed parallels between one of the first evergreen horror novels and the latest scientific breakthroughs of our time.It’s the perfect place to find some inspiration.

Universities are places where new scientists are being developed, and the opportunities for new technologies emerge constantly. Therefore, reading and analyzing “Frankenstein” gives young scholars the chance to rethink their aspirations in terms of utilizing the latest scientific achievements. Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence, genetic engineering, and numerous other advancements raise questions and pose severe ethical dilemmas which could be compared to the plot of Shelley’s novel.

The most important question the readers are left with after reading this book would be the question of our responsibility for the things we create or achieve. It teaches one to think beyond sensationalism and personal glorification rather than to dismiss the possible dangerous implications of our work. Learning from Frankenstein’s experience, a young scientist could prevent personal and professional tragedies.

The influence of “Frankenstein” on art and popular culture

Shelly started her novel in an epistolary form, which was growing in popularity at the turn of the 18th century, however, the novel takes a more complex form and becomes a frame story which gave the entire piece a more realistic tone. When it first came out in 1818, the readers of “Frankenstein” didn’t know it was written by a woman but when the truth came out, the critics were quick to diminish the literary quality of the novel due to the fact that it wasn’t written by a male author.

Until the mid-20th century, the public wasn’t that much introduced to the works of the 19th-century British writer, nevertheless, as the cinema audience saw the first move rendition of “Frankenstein” the popularity and interest in Shelly’s novel grew exponentially. Nowadays, it’s virtually impossible not to find A+ literature essays that don’t concern the influence of “Frankenstein” on our society. It was the first true science fiction novel and set the stage for other science fiction writers in the future. The story boldly combined Gothic fantasy with the latest scientific achievements of the age, making this piece of literature an inspiration for filmmakers, theater writers, and countless TV shows and comic book editions.So check “Samplius” before start writing an essay on “Frankenstein”. It will definitely help you.

Although unnamed in the novel, Frankenstein’s Creature became the synonym for the term Frankenstein, which is a common mistake even among those who read the novel. In popular culture, the term Frankenfood is commonly used for genetically altered food.The term is used by those who see genetic engineering techniques being practiced on food as an abomination, hence the pejorative nickname.

Moreover, if you were to seek a Frankenstein costume for Halloween, you wouldn’t get a white coat and a pair of glasses, rather a costume of the monster that the good doctor created. Both Marvel and DC studios created their versions of the Creature, while several video game developers used Frankenstein’s monster as inspiration or an actual character for their video games.

The alterations made by Shelley

After the initial release in 1818, Shelly decided to alter some of her work in order to improve it. The fact that she was only 19 when she published the novel, gives us the hint that 1931 alteration came as a consequence of Shelley’s literary growth. There were several changes to the novel, none of which could be deemed menial. The author expanded several chapters, removed the epigraph from Milton’sParadise Lost, and changed some character origins and dialogues.

However, the most important change compared to the original novel is the way Viktor Frankenstein was portrayed by the author. The 1931 edition shows a mad scientist, full of flaws, with his actions and achievements placed under severe criticism. What was once a sympathetic view, Shelley turned into harsh criticism of unethical approach to science, lack of care for the consequences of his work, and disapproval of unchecked advancements.

These changes, made by the author herself, are the question of debate up until these days. Some argue that it’s a matter of her personal and artistic growth, others believe that it was an attempt to calm down the conservative criticism. This debate is alive even these days, and it’s one of the main reasons why this novel is still part of the study at many universities.


After 200 years, Frankenstein is still a popular, chilling, and puzzling piece of literature. Its literary value is undisputed, and its influence on popular culture is continuing to this day. As the first true science fiction novel, “Frankenstein” deserves to be part of academic inquiry, and a treasured component of the world cultural heritage. The principles and challenges portrayed in Shelley’s novel are the same we are coping with today, which is why it’s not a bad thing to keep reminding those with scientific aspirations about the dangers of unchecked advancements.

Author Bio:

Michael Turneris a freelance content writer engaged with several online publishers. As a writer, Michael aims to deliver the most relevant content on topics that concern the everyday lives of his audience. Michael creates informative content based on actual information and relevant sources.

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