Trapped inside a villa on the banks of Lake Geneva while storms raged outside, Mary Shelley decided to create a story to entertain and frighten her companions. Two hundred years later the character she created, Frankenstein, is still a monstrous success.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818, we challenged students both young and old to create either an artwork or a text inspired by the story.
Before taking part in the competition, students learned about the background to the story, the infamous year without summer and some of the concepts of the original text, such as the limits of science and the power of prejudice (nearly everyone in the story presumes the monster is evil based on his appearance). This connects strongly with our values of inclusion and believing in the right of people to be treated equally.
What were the results?
Some of our students produced excellent but gory artwork, such as Catalina from Lower Secondary A2 with her own multi-limbed creature, which seems to be inspired not only by Dr. Frankenstein’s creation, but also by Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton. Rares from LSA2 created a monster out of recycled materials, an interesting interpretation of how Frankenstein’s monster was created.
Others imagined an interview with Frankenstein’s monster. Ayana from Primary Plus 5 wanted to know how Frankenstein’s monster was created, to which he replied:
I was a big doll in Spain and my creator was Frank Bens. He wanted to create a robot but something didn’t work well. That night a lightning bolt struck me and I got life!
Meanwhile Miruna from Primary Plus 3 was more interested in animals.
Miruna: Do you have a pet?
Frankenstein: Yes I do, it’s a ‘Cat-o-zombie.‘
Our adult students weren’t to be left out and Adrian from Upper-Intermediate Spoken class also wrote a fascinating interview between Dr. Frankenstein and his monster after the monster has killed William, Dr. Frankenstein’s brother.
Dr. Frankenstein: WHY? Why did you kill him? Why are you doing it?
Monster: Really? Are you asking me this? Everyone is scared of me I’ve tried to be closer to people, but they hate me.
Find out more about Frankenstein
If our students have inspired you to learn more about Frankenstein and Mary Shelley’s novel, check out some intriguing infographics about the novel from the Guardian, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in Charts. The BBC article Why Frankenstein is the Story that Defined Our Fears is also a great read.