Short Paper II
DUE: in drop box by Friday, October 19, at 11:59 p.m.
Please carefully read the entirety of this document. It contains information that is both
useful and essential.
Assignment: Write a 4-6 page paper that addresses one (1) of the following sets of questions:
A) In Chapter 20 of the The Making of the West, the authors suggest an analogy between
Napoleon and the monster from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Other scholars have
suggested that the monster represents the French Revolution. Based on a careful reading
of Shelley’s novel contextualized within the historical material covered by Chapters 1920 of the textbook, which of these two views, if either, is correct? If the monster
represents either the French Revolution or Napoleon, what politics or ideology might be
represented by Dr. Frankenstein himself? What about the meta-narrator Walton? What
do the course and outcome of Frankenstein’s nested narratives tell about Shelley’s own
attitudes toward the French Revolution? What Shelly a liberal, a conservative, a radical,
or something else?
(Hints: Why is the family that Frankenstein encounters in the woods French
(rather than some other nationality)? What roles do trials and systems of justice play the
plot (especially in both Switzerland and Great Britain)? If a classical literary trope is to
treat ships as metaphorical states, what kind of government pertains on Walton’s boat,
and what does this tell us about his decision to turn his ship back?)
B) Like a set of nested Russian Dolls, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein actually consists of
three narratives placed one within another: Walton’s letters to his sister, Doctor
Frankenstein’s narrative to Walton, and the monster’s narrative to Doctor Frankenstein.
Why does Shelley structure her novel in this manner? Write a paper in which you image
that you are Walton’s sister. How might you, as a woman living in the late nineteenth
century, respond to his narrative of events? How might you, as a woman living in the
nineteenth century, account for the story’s tragic dimensions?
(Hints: Mary Wollstonecraft, a well-known feminist author, was the mother of
Mary Shelley. Although Wollstonecraft died eleven days after giving birth to her, some
scholars suggests that her daughter was influenced by her views. What evidence is there,
if any, that Frankenstein should be regarded as a feminist text? What role does the
presence or absence of women play in Frankenstein? Why is Walton’s narrative the only
one of the three addressed to a woman? How do you think that woman would have
reacted to his decision to turn his ship around?”)
Before writing your paper, be sure to review:
General Advice (which is similar to but slightly different from that given for Short Paper I)
Be sure to write your paper around a central thesis that is explanatory rather than merely
descriptive. This thesis should be stated clearly (if somewhat tentatively at first, since you have
not yet presented evidence) at the outset of your paper, and then repeated confidently and robustly
(since you now have evidence on the table) in your conclusion.
Whichever question set you choose, your thesis statement should attempt to define clearly and
precisely the central theme or argument of Mary Shelley and explain why she put that argument
forward, preferably through reference to the historical circumstances in which she was writing.
(NB- In analyzing an essay or exam prompt, you should look at the last question in the set as
being the most important – that is, the question in response to which you should build your
thesis.) Please note that although Shelley’s text is a work of fiction – a novel – we are asking you
to read it not as a literary artifact, but rather as a primary source document that can reveal the
political opinions and cultural values of educated Europeans living in the early nineteenth
century. Critical analysis of Shelley’s genre, style, and trope can certainly constitute a
component of your argument, but your ultimate goal is to use her text to reveal something about
early nineteenth-century Europe.
The argument supporting your thesis should contain between two and five sub-points, with three
generally being regarded as ideal. (NB- If you analyze an essay or exam prompt carefully, you
might see that your responses to the first several questions posed could potentially serve as
subpoints that you can connect into a response to the final question.)
Be sure to justify or defend your subpoints with concrete evidence drawn from Shelley’s text.
Avoid broad generalizations. Try to be as specific as possible. There is no more convincing
evidence than a direct quotation from Shelley’s text that serves to illustrate, verify, or support
your own interpretive claims and assertions.
Extra points will be awarded for thoughtful historical contextualization of Shelley’s text based on
the lectures and the course textbook.
IMPORTANT: All papers must be submitted in electronic format to the appropriate drop box on
D2L. If you work with Pages, please convert your file to .pdf format before uploading it to the drop
Format and Citations:
The paper must be printed or typed double-space in 12-point font with one inch margins all
around. If you include a quotation more than three lines in length, it must be presented as a
separate, single-spaced paragraph indented 5 spaces.
You must use footnotes to cite the source of quotations, other forms of evidence, and
interpretations of texts or events that are not originally your own. Footnotes are easy to create using word
processing programs such as Pages or Microsoft Word: simply click on Insert, click on Reference or
Footnote, and then type the text of your footnote. The program will adjust the placement of the note on
Footnotes should conform to the format outlined at:
The main purpose of the footnote is to make it possible for the reader to reconstruct your trail of
evidence. If you have doubts about whether you have cited material correctly, ask yourself the following
question: “If my mother or father went to the library, would he or she be able to locate the book and page
from which I drew my quotation or information?” NB- Footnote citations are actually integral to your
argument, because they make a claim about the credibility of your evidence. Absence of footnotes
is therefore absence of evidence!
Your will be graded based on the following criteria:
the clarity of your central thesis and the extent to which it is explanatory rather than merely
the clarity of your subpoints and the extent to which they are logically connected with your
the extent to which the evidence presented in support of your subpoints is concrete,
precise, and specific
the extent to which your evidence is credible
the extent to which your conclusion is both clear and convincingly supported by the logic
and evidence of your argument
the extent to which your paper is free of the commonplace problems discussed in
section H of the History Department Paper Guidelines.
Put simply: clarity is always superior to obscurity, specificity (a source of clarity) is always superior to
overly broad generalization (a source of obscurity), and explanation is always superior to mere
Purchase answer to see full attachment