Frankenstein Questions    Back to HMS main page
Questions Walton might have asked Frankenstein,    ...
if he had thought more about what he had recorded
or had been less timid. 1...2...3...4...5...6...7..(more)

Frankenstein Questions
 1...2...3...4...5...6...7..(more)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1.
Frankenstein says that he "first saw the white cliffs of Britain"
"on a clear morning, in the latter days of December." Then
he says that "We had arrived in England at the beginning of
October." Which is it? or Did something happen after sighting
Britain which delayed arrival for nine months? If so, it must have
been something Homeric.

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2.
What was Henry Clerval doing on the coast of Ireland when he had
made an appointment to meet Victor Frankenstein in Perth, Scotland?

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3.
Adding up the periods of time mentioned in the monster's account of
his travel to Geneva, when would spring weather have begun in order
for him to have arrived in the environs of Geneva while William
Frankenstein was still alive? Would that have been an early or a late
spring? Does the monster's account agree with Frankenstein's account
regarding the arrival of spring that year?

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4.
Having left London on  March 27, Victor and Henry remained
a few days at Windsor, passed a considerable period at Oxford
rambling among its environs, rested at Matlock, Derby, spent
2 months in Cumberland and Westmoreland, spent a week in
Edinburgh, and passing through Coupar, St. Andrews, made their
way along the banks of the Tay to Perth. If it takes another five
days to reach the remote Orkney island, what is the earliest time
of the year that Victor would have been able to be working on
his project on the Orkney island? Remember to allow for such
time as would be required to make the repairs and acquire the
furnishings he mentions.

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5.
The night of destruction of the female, as Victor Frankenstein
describes it:

I sat one evening in my laboratory; the sun had set, and the
moon was just rising from the sea; I had not sufficient light
for my employment, and I remained idle, in a pause of
consideration of whether I should leave my labour for the
night, or hasten its conclusion by an unremitting attention to it.

How much time does it appear elapsed between the sunset and the
rising of the moon that evening? Choose a sunset moonrise that
fits your understanding of the evening Frankenstein describes from
the table and count the number of days until the moonrise is
between two and three in the morning. Orkney table  Twilight lasts
about 43 minutes after sunset during the summer. While Leonard
Wolf's Essential Frankenstein (Appendix D) puts the destruction
of the female in August, our Orkney table includes summer and
winter months. The reason for this is that Victor is more definite
about the period of time of his imprisonment and trial than he is
about the period of time in which he worked on the female. His
account suggests a winter destruction of the female, when we
work backward from his arrival on the continent.

The day following the destruction of the female Victor receives a
letter from Henry. The next morning Victor packs his instruments
and puts the remains of the female in a basket. Between two and
three the next morning  Victor sails out about four miles from the
island to dispose of the remains.

By how many days does this differ from Frankenstein's account
of his disposing of the remains of the female? Orkney table

Note that, in her early teens, Mary had spent some time in
Newburgh, Scotland, where the summer days are quite long.
There is significant predawn illumination in Newburgh by 2 a.m.
from late May to early July and evening illumination continues
past 10 p.m. during that period. Discernable nighttime solar
illumination is continuous from the last week of May to the
last week of July.
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Orkney Islands latitude: (source: U.S. Naval Observatory)

                             Sunset         Moonrise/Phase    Day
July 19, 1796             9:02 pm       9:04 p.m.                 Tuesday
July 20, 1796             9:00 pm       9:35 p.m. /Full         Wednesday
July 21, 1796             8:58 pm       9:57 p.m.                Thursday
July 22, 1796             8:56 pm      10:14 p.m.                Friday
July 23, 1796             8:54 pm      10:27 p.m.                Saturday
July 24, 1796             8:52 pm      10:38 p.m.                Sunday
July 25, 1796             8:50 pm      10:49 p.m.                Monday
July 26, 1796             8:48 pm      11:00 p.m.                Tuesday
July 27, 1796             8:46 pm      11:12 p.m.                Wednesday
July 28, 1796             8:44 pm      11:28 p.m./Last 1/4   Thursday
July 29, 1796             8:41 pm      11:49 p.m.                Friday
July 30, 1796             8:39 pm                                      Saturday
July 31, 1796             8:37 pm      12:21 a.m.                Sunday
August 1, 1796          8:34 pm        1:10 a.m.                Monday
August 2, 1796          8:32 pm        2:19 a.m.                Tuesday
August 3, 1796          8:30 pm        3:44 a.m./New        Wednesday



                                     Sunset         Moonrise/Phase Day
August 17, 1796             7:53 pm       8:03 p.m.            Wednesday
August 18, 1796             7:51 pm       8:21 p.m./ Full     Thursday
August 19, 1796             7:48 pm       8:35 p.m.             Friday
August 20, 1796             7:45 pm       8:47 p.m.             Saturday
August 21, 1796             7:42 pm       8:57 p.m.             Sunday
August 22, 1796             7:40 pm       9:08 p.m.             Monday
August 23, 1796             7:37 pm       9:19 p.m.             Tuesday
August 24, 1796             7:34 pm       9:33 p.m.             Wednesday
August 25, 1796             7:31 pm       9:52 p.m./Last 1/4 Thursday
August 26, 1796             7:28 pm      10:19 p.m.             Friday
August 27, 1796             7:25 pm      10:59 p.m.             Saturday
August 28, 1796             7:23 pm      11:58 p.m.             Sunday
August 29, 1796             7:20 pm                                   Monday
August 30, 1796             7:17 pm       1:15 a.m.              Tuesday
August 31, 1796             7:14 pm       2:44 a.m.             Wednesday
September 1, 1796         7:11 pm       4:16 a.m./New      Thursday


                                       Sunset         Moonrise/Phase    Day
September 17, 1796         6:24 p.m.     7:05 p.m./Full         Saturday
September 18, 1796         6:21 p.m.     7:16 p.m.                Sunday
September 19, 1796         6:18 p.m.     7:27 p.m.                Monday
September 20, 1796         6:15 p.m.     7:40 p.m.                Tuesday
September 21, 1796         6:13 p.m.     7:56 p.m.                Wednesday
September 22, 1796         6:10 p.m.     8:20 p.m.                Thursday
September 23, 1796         6:07 p.m.     8:55 p.m.                Friday
September 24, 1796         6:04 p.m.     9:47 p.m./Last 1/4   Saturday
September 25, 1796         6:01 p.m.    10:57 p.m.               Sunday
September 26, 1796         5:58 p.m.                                   Monday
September 27, 1796         5:55 p.m.    12:21 a.m.               Tuesday
September 28, 1796         5:52 p.m.      1:51 a.m.               Wednesday
September 29, 1796         5:49 p.m.      3:21 a.m.               Thursday
September 30, 1796         5:46 p.m.      4:49 a.m.               Friday
October 1, 1796               5:43 p.m.      6:14  a.m./New     Saturday


                                  Sunset          Moonrise/Phase       Day

  November 13, 1796    3:27 p.m.       3:27 p.m.             Sunday
  November 14, 1796    3:25 p.m.       3:40 p.m.             Monday
  November 15, 1796    3:23 p.m.       3:58 p.m./Full       Tuesday
  November 16, 1796    3:21 p.m.       4:24 p.m.             Wednesday
  November 17, 1796    3:19 p.m.       5:04 p.m.              Thursday
  November 18, 1796    3:17 p.m.       6:04 p.m.              Friday
  November 19, 1796    3:16 p.m.       7:23 p.m.              Saturday
  November 20, 1796    3:14 p.m.       8:51 p.m.              Sunday
  November 21, 1796    3:12 p.m.     10:22 p.m./Last 1/4  Monday
  November 22, 1796    3:10 p.m.     11:50 p.m.              Tuesday
  November 23, 1796    3:09 p.m.                                   Wednesday
  November 24, 1796    3:07 p.m.       1:15 a.m.               Thursday
  November 25, 1796    3:06 p.m.     2:37 a.m.               Friday


                                 Sunset          Moonrise/Phase       Day
  December 14, 1796    2:50 p.m.       2:52 p.m/ Full         Wednesday
  December 15, 1796    2:50 p.m.       3:43 p.m.                Thursday
  December 16, 1796    2:50 p.m.       4:56 p.m.                Friday
  December 17, 1796    2:51 p.m.       6:25 p.m.                Saturday
  December 18, 1796    2:51 p.m.       7:59 p.m.                Sunday
  December 19, 1796    2:51 p.m.       9:31 p.m.                Monday
  December 20, 1796    2:52 p.m.     11:00 p.m./Last 1/4    Tuesday
  December 21, 1796    2:52 p.m.                                     Wednesday
  December 22, 1796    2:53 p.m.     12:24 a.m.                 Thursday
  December 23, 1796    2:53 p.m.       1:46 a.m.                 Friday
  December 24, 1796    2:54 p.m.       3:06 a.m.                 Saturday



In 18% of the 28 months we sampled, the moon does not rise
between 2 & 3 in the morning, as  with September 28 & 29 and
December 23 & 24 above. Of the sampled months in which the moon
does rise between 2 & 3 in the morning, 48% of those months the
moon does not rise 3 days prior to that event.

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6.
After Frankenstein destroys the female:
Several hours past, and I remained near my window gazing on
the sea; it was motionless, for the winds were hushed, and all
nature reposed under the eye of the quiet moon.
Adding these several hours to the period of time Frankenstein
"remained idle, in a pause of consideration",about what time
did the monster return to speak with Frankenstein?
 

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7.
The night Frankenstein says he disposed of the remains
of the female, the moon rose between two and three in
the morning. After that time, Frankenstein loads the skiff
with the basket containing the remains and sails out about
four miles. How much time would it take to accomplish the
disposal, allowing for the time necessary for Frankenstein to
distance his boat from the others he sees? How much time,
if any, remains before it is light?

Dawn (Beginning of Civil  Twilight) at Orkney latitude 1796

2:01 a.m.  July 10
2:04 a.m.  July 11
2:06 a.m.  July 12
2:09 a.m.  July 13
2:12 a.m.  July 14
2:14 a.m.  July 15
2:17 a.m.  July 16
2:20 a.m.  July 17
2:23 a.m.  July 18
2:26 a.m.  July 19
2:28 a.m.  July 20
2:31 a.m.  July 21
2:34 a.m.  July 22
2:37 a.m.  July 23
2:40 a.m.  July 24
2:43 a.m.  July 25
2:46 a.m.  July 26
2:49 a.m.  July 27
2:52 a.m.  July 28
2:55 a.m.  July 29
2:57 a.m.  July 30
3:00 a.m.  July 31
3:03 a.m. August   1
3:06 a.m. August   2
3:09 a.m. August   3
3:12 a.m. August   4
3:15 a.m. August   5
3:17 a.m. August   6
3:20 a.m. August   7
3:23 a.m. August   8
3:26 a.m. August   9
3:29 a.m. August 10
3:32 a.m. August 11
3:34 a.m. August 12
3:37 a.m. August 13
3:40 a.m. August 14
3:43 a.m. August 15
3:45 a.m. August 16
3:48 a.m. August 17
3:51 a.m. August 18
3:53 a.m. August 19
3:56 a.m. August 20
3:59 a.m. August 21
4:01 a.m. August 22
4:04 a.m. August 23
4:07 a.m. August 24
4:09 a.m. August 25
4:12 a.m. August 26
4:14 a.m. August 27
4:17 a.m. August 28
4:19 a.m. August 29
4:22 a.m. August 30
4:24 a.m. August 31
4:27 a.m. September   1
4:29 a.m. September   2
4:32 a.m. September   3
4:34 a.m. September   4
4:37 a.m. September   5
4:39 a.m. September   6
4:42 a.m. September   7
4:44 a.m. September   8
4:47 a.m. September   9
4:49 a.m. September 10
4:51 a.m. September 11
4:54 a.m. September 12
4:56 a.m. September 13
4:59 a.m. September 14
5:01 a.m. September 15
5:03 a.m. September 16
5:06 a.m. September 17
5:08 a.m. September 18
5:10 a.m. September 19
5:13 a.m. September 20
5:15 a.m. September 21
5:17 a.m. September 22
5:20 a.m. September 23
5:22 a.m. September 24
5:24 a.m. September 25
5:26 a.m. September 26
5:29 a.m. September 27
5:31 a.m. September 28
5:33 a.m. September 29
5:36 a.m. September 30
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For a couple of questions about Walton's progress click here.