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by Mary Shelley
Coleridge Community Schools
NO’~M. _________ L_~_———- —-._
Abridged and adapted by T. Ernesto Bethancourt
Illustrated by James McConnell
Fearon Education
a division of
David S. Lake Publishers
Belmont, California
Property Of
— Wlf-ll Co:Y..Ii.:nmi t
Pacemaker Classics
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Deerslayer
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Great Expectations
Jane Eyre
The Jungle Book
The Last of the Mohicans
The Moonstone
Robinson Crusoe
A Tale of Two Cities
The Three Musketeers
The Time Machine
Treasure Island
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Two Years Before the Mast
Introduction … . ……… . …. . ……. . .. . .. v
Opening Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 1
Chapter 1. . . . . . . . . . . . ..
. . . . .. . . .. . .. .. . . … 11
Chapter 2 .. .. .. . . . .. . .. . . . .. . . .. .. . .. .. … 17
Chapter 3 . . . .. . . .. . . . . .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. . . … 20
Chapter 4 .. . .. .. . . .. . .. . . .. .. . .. .. . .. .. … 23
Chapter 5 . . . .. . . .. . . . . .. . . .. . .. .. .. .. . . … 28
Chapter 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 32
Chapter 7 ………………. .. … .. .. .. … 35
Copyright © 1986 by David S. Lake Publishers, 500 Harbor
Boulevard, Belmont, California 94002. All rights reserved. No
part of this book may be reproduced by any means, transmitted,
or translated into a machine language without written permission
from the publisher.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 84-62178
ISBN 0-8224-9257-1
Printed in the United States of America
Chapter 9
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Chapter 10
. .. .. .. . . .. .. . .. .. . .. .. . . .. . ….
…… ……………………..
Chapter 12 . . .. . . .. . . . . .. . . .. . . .. .. .. .. ….
Chapter 11
Ending Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 65
Frankenstein is probably one of the best-known
horror stories in the world. Many people have
heard the story of the “mad doctor” who uses dead
bodies to create a monster that turns bad and kills
Many movies have been made of the Frankenstein story. In most movies, the story has been
changed. When you read the book, you may find
some surprises. For example, “Frankenstein” is
the name of the scientist-not the name of the
monster. The monster has a personality that also
might surprise you. And Frankenstein himself is
not just a “mad scientist.” He hopes to help people
with his work.
Most people don’t know that Frankenstein was
written to win a bet. One evening in 1816, Mary
Shelley, her husband, and a friend were sitting
around the fire. They were telling ghost stories.
They decided to see who would be the first to write
a new kind of horror story. The other two people
never finished their stories. But Mary Shelley began writing the next day. In a short time, she had
written a horror story that would never be forgotten.
Opening Letters
To: Mrs. Saville, England
December 11, 17__
Dear Sister,
You’ll be happy to know that, so far, nothing has
gone wrong on this, my great adventure. And you
had been so worried about me! I arrived yesterday.
My first job is to let my sister know that I am all
I have high hopes for the trip ahead of me. I am
already far north of London. As I walk the streets
of this city, I feel a cold wind upon my cheeks. It
makes me feel so happy. Can you understand this
feeling? This wind is blowing from where I am
going: the North Pole.
Although I try, I can’t think of the Pole as a place
with ice and snow all the time. Yes, I know that
everyone thinks about it that way. But no one has
ever set foot on the Pole. To me, it is a place of
beauty and peaceful seas. The sun shines all the
time. Who knows what wonders I will see there?
I have dreamed of this trip all my life. Do you
remember Uncle Thomas’s library? He had so
many books about great sea trips to the Far North
Pacific. I read every one of them when I was a boy. I
was going to be a great explorer. Then, when
Father died, his will did not allow me to go.
But I always kept my dream. Uncle Thomas is
gone now, and I have the money. I must go. I know
that I was meant to do something really great with
my life. I believe that this trip is that great thing. I
have been getting ready for it. I have spent a lot of
time in cold weather. That way, I’ll be used to the
weather near the North Pole. And I have sailed on
boats that go as far north as fishing boats can go.
Now I must travel on land to Archangel. At this
time of year, travel is easy. The horse-drawn sleds
almost fly over the ice and snow. When I get to
Archangel, I will rent a boat, and get some men to
sail it. Then we will travel on to the North Pole.
no friend to share it with. I want someone to talk to,
someone to know my hopes and fears.
I have good sailors and a good captain. We are
eager to leave. But we have to wait. The weather
must clear up before we can sail. It was a terrible
winter, but spring has come early. Soon we will
leave for the Pole. I keep wondering ifI will ever see
you again. For now, please keep writing to me. I
may be able to get a letter now and then. Your
letters cheer me up so much. Remember me with
love, if you never hear from me again.
Your loving brother,
R. Walton
Your loving brother,
To: Mrs. Saville, England
July 7,17_ _
R. Walton
Dear Sister:
The time passes slowly here in Archangel. We
are closed in by ice and snow. Yet I am happier
than I have ever been in my life. I am beginning my
great adventure. But something is missing. I have
I am writing a few fast lines to say that I am safe.
I’m well on my way. This letter will reach England
on a ship headed home from Archangel. I don’t
know when or if I will ever see England again.
We are now very far north. Big sheets of ice float
by us, but they don’t seem to bother the men. When
the wind blows from the south, the weather is quite
nice. But it’s not nearly as warm as in England at
this time of year.
To: Mrs. Saville, England
March 28, 17__
Dear Sister,
Nothing much has happened so far-nothing
worth writing about. I am still excited about my
adventure. I will succeed. I must succeed!
I must end this letter now. May heaven bless my
dear sister!
Something strange has happened. I must write it
down. There is no one out here to take this letter to
England. So you’ll probably see me in person before this letter reaches you. Still, I must tell you
what has happened.
Last Monday (July 31) we were in a dangerous
spot. Ice and fog were all around us. We were
afraid that we might run into floating ice. We
stopped the ship for a while.
At about two o’clock in the afternoon, the fog
cleared. When it did, all we could see for miles was
solid ice. The men were worried and so was I. Then
we saw the strangest thing.
We saw a dog sled out on the ice. It was about a
half mile away. The figure in the dog sled looked
like a man. But he was the size of a giant! We
watched the sled until it was lost from sight. Where
had this giant come from? We knew we were hundreds of miles from land.
A few hours later, the heavy ice that trapped our
ship began to break up. But it was getting late in
the day. We decided that we wouldn’t start to move
again until the next morning.
When I went out on deck the next morning, I saw
some sailors leaning over the side of the ship. They
seemed to be talking to someone on the ice below. I
went over to the side and looked.
On a piece of floating ice I saw a dog sled. It was
like the one we had seen the day before. But only
one dog remained alive. There was a man in the
sled. I would have thought he’d be an Eskimo, this
far north. But this man was from Europe.
My captain was talking to the man on the ice.
“Here is the master of this ship,” he said. “He will
not allow you to die in the sea.”
I looked at the man. He looked very cold and
tired. I told him that we would be happy to take
him with us. The man gave me a strange answer.
He said, “Before I come on board your ship, will
you please tell me where you are going?”
I couldn’t believe my ears! Here was this poor
fellow, nearly dead from being out on the ice and
snow. He was hundreds of miles from land. Yet
before he’d let me save his life, he had to know
Your brother,
R. Walton
To: Mrs. Saville, England
AugustS, 17__
Dear Sister,
where we were headed! I explained that we were
going to the North Pole. He seemed pleased, and
agreed to come on board.
You should have seen the shape he was in. He
was as thin as a rail. He looked as if he had been
through a lot of trouble and pain. I had never seen
a man in such bad shape.
We did what we could for him. We gave him a
drink, and rubbed his arms and legs. After a
while, he was able to eat some soup. Two days went
by before the man was able to speak. He was a sad
fellow, always looking out to sea. He spoke to no
The men were dying to know about him. What
was he doing out here on the ice? What made him
take such a chance with his life? But he was still
very weak. I wouldn’t allow the men to bother him
with questions. Finally, my captain asked him why
he had come so far on such a dangerous trip.
“I am after someone who ran away from me,” he
“This man you are after, was he traveling the
same way as you? On a dog sled?” asked the
“Then I think we saw him,” the captain said. ‘We
saw a dog sled the day before we picked you up. A
man was in it. He was riding across the ice.”
August 13,17__
Suddenly, the man was full of questions. Which
way had the sled gone? How long ago? ,What did
the other man look like? Later, when the man fUas
alone with me, he said, “I know there are many
things you would like to know about me. But you
are too kind to ask.”
“I felt it was none of my business,” I answered.
“Besides, you have been so sick. It wasn’t the right
time to ask.”
The man asked me if I thought the breaking ice
had destroyed the other dog sled, I ‘told him I
couldn’t say for sure. The ice had broken up late
that night. The other driver might have reached
safety before the ice broke up,
After that, he was a different man. He kept
staying out on deck, watching the ice. He seemed to
be searching for that other dog sled. I told him that
he was too weak to stand on deck so much. But he
still wouldn’t go below. Finally, I promised to put a
man on deck to watch for him. I promised the
fellow he would be called if anything was spotted.
Someone has stood on deck watching, ever since
that day.
The stranger’s health is getting better each day.
But he stays quiet, and to himself I am the only one
he will speak to. He is a gentle man, and quite
interesting. I find I want to be with him, Maybe he
can be the friend I wished for!
I like this stranger better every day. I admire
him, but at the same time I feel sorry for him. He
looks very unhappy. Yet, he never talks about any
sadness. My heart goes out to him. He is so gentle
and so wise. He speaks beautifully, and I love to
listen to him.
A few days ago, I told this man about my trip to
the Pole. He listened very closely. I must have gotten carried away talking about my adventure. In no
time, I told him about my life’s dream. I told him
how important this trip was to me. I told him that I
had to go on, even if it cost my life, and the lives of
some of my men. I said to him, “What is the life ofa
few men, when so much can be gained by science?”
As I said this, an awful look of sadness came
over his face. He .covered l!is face with his hands.
He let out a terrible cry. I didn’t say anything.
Then, at last, he spoke.
“Oh, you poor man!” he cried. “Do you share the
same madness I have? Are you so far gone that you
don’t care about human life anymore? If you knew
my story, you’d never feel the same way again.”
Then he was quiet again. After a time, he spoke.
He asked me about myself He wanted to know
about my childhood and my dreams. It didn’t take
long for me to tell him. I also talked about how
lonely I had been and how much I wanted a friend.
“I agree with you,” he told me. “Friends can be so
important. Sometimes, it seems as if we are only
half-made people. Our friends become that other
part, and make us whole. I once had a friend like
that. He was the finest person I ever knew. Now, he
is gone. He is lost to me forever. I have lost everything. I think I will never again have a friend. I am
doomed to be alone.”
He fell silent then. I looked at this fine man, and
had to wonder. Why was he so unhappy? How had
he lost his dearest friend in the world? He must
have read my mind. In a few moments he said to
me, “I thank you for caring about me. But it’s too
late. There is only one reason for my life now.
There is one thing I must do. After that, my life will
be ended. I see in your face that you wish to help
me. But I am beyond any help. And once you hear
my story, you will know I am right.”
Tomorrow, he will tell me his story. I plan to
write it down in his own words as much as
Your brother,
R. Walton
My name is Victor Frankenstein. I grew up in
Geneva, Switzerland. My family is one of the bestknown families in Switzerland. For many years,
members of my family held public office. My
father was famous for his public service.
Perhaps I should tell you about how my father
and mother met. One of my father’s friends was a
rich businessman. Once, a deal this man worked
on went bad. But he kept his word to all the people
who trusted him. He paid off everyone who had
lost money. But he was left without a cent. He and
his daughter became very poor. They had to move
away from the city of Geneva.
My father heard that his friend had fallen on
hard times. He went to visit him. When he saw the
way his friend and his daughter were living, my
father’s heart almost broke. He offered help. But
his friend was very proud. He refused any help. He
was ill. The only money he had came from small
jobs his daughter did for the people in town. When
she wasn’t working, the young woman spent most
of her time taking care of her sick father.
My father heard that his friend was dying. My
father, again, wanted to help. He went to visit his
friend. He found the girl crying over her dead
father’s body. My father didn’t want to see his old
friend’s daughter left out on the street. He took
care of her. Two years later, they were married.
After the wedding, my father and mother
traveled to many countries. Perhaps it was the
years of being poor that did it, but my mother’s
health was not good. For this reason, they spent a
lot of time in the warm weather of Italy. I was
born in Italy on one of their vacations.
For years, I was their only child. I remember
that those years were very happy. My father and
mother loved each other very much. But there was
enough love for me, their only son.
When I was five years old, my parents took
another vacation to Italy. Because my mother was
always interested in helping the poor, they visited
a little hut on the shore of a lake. There, they
found a poor farmer and his wife. The family had
no money and very little food for their five
One of the children, a little girl, caught my
mother’s eye. This girl wasn’t like the other children. She seemed different in little ways. There
was a sweetness :’0 the child that drew my mother
to her. She asked the farmer about this little girl.
The little girl’s name was Elizabeth. She was
not the farmer’s daughter. Her real father had
been forced to leave Italy for a while. He had
asked the farmer to take care of his little girl.
When Elizabeth’s father died in another country,
she had no place to go. She sLayed with the farmer
and his family.
But then hard times came to this farmer. He
had very little money. And besides Elizabeth, he
had four children of his own. Life was hard for the
My mother had always wanted a little girl. She
asked tlie farmer if she and my father could adopt
Elizabeth. The farmer and his wife loved the little
girl. But they knew that she would live a much
happier life with my family. So they let my parents take Elizabeth.
I knew nothing of this. I was too young for my
parents to talk about it to me. All my mother did
was tell me, “I have a pretty present for my Victor.
He shall have it tomorrow.” The next day, she
presented Elizabeth to me.
Elizabeth and I grew up together. There was
only a year’s difference in our ages. We never
fought. We loved each other in a way brother and
sister cannot. No tears, no ugly words ever darkened our days. We called each other “cousin” and
shared a deep love until the day she died.
Elizabeth loved Switzerland. She loved the
mountains and the lakes. She was always interested in art and beauty. I was different. While
Elizabeth would get excited about how beautiful
things were, I always wanted to know what made
them the way they were. Even as a child, I was
becoming a man of science.
When I was seven years old, my brother Ernest
was born. At that time, my parents stopped traveling to different countries. We had a house in the
city of Geneva. We also had a place in the country,
on the shore of a lake. We spent most of our time
at the country house. It was there, four years
later, that my brother William was born.
Our family did not know a lot of people. I had
only one close friend. His name was Henry, and he
was the son of a Geneva businessman. Henry and
I became best friends. He used to dream of the
days of King Arthur. He always was making up
plays about knights and fair ladies. He always
wanted Elizabeth and me to act out these plays.
Henry, Elizabeth, and I spent our childhoods
together. We were like three parts of one person.
Elizabeth was the soul, Henry was the heart, and I
was the mind. Henry kept telling stories of heroes
and great adventurers. Elizabeth had her art. And
I began to study science.
You must understand that I was quite young. I
knew little about science. I read any books that I
thought might explain the wonders of science. I
found a number of these books in my father’s
library. They were by men who lived a long time
ago. One day, my father found me reading one of
these books.
“Ah, you’re reading this?” my father said. “My
dear Victor, don’t waste your time on this. It is sad
If my father had explained to me that no one
believed in these books anymore, it would have
been different. Most of the stuff in the books was
little more than “black magic.” Science had
already shown that these writers were silly. But I
didn’t know this. I was angry. My father thought
that the books I liked were garbage! Instead {If
stopping reading these books, I found more like
Looking back on it, I guess I was foolish. I tried
spells to change lead into gold. I tried to make
devils appear. Of course, none of these spells
worked. I might have gone on this way for years,
but then something happened.
One night when I was fifteen years old, we were
at our country house. A terrible storm came up. As
I watched from my window, I saw lightning hit an
oak tree. When the storm was over, I went out and
looked at what was left of the tree. I thought that I
would just find a burned tree. But the tree had
been turned into small pieces of wood by the lightning. I was surprised. Why did this happen?
A friend of my father’s was visiting us that day.
He was a scientist. He explained how lightning
had destroyed the tree. Before this day, I didn’t
know much about electricity.
This was the true beginning of my life as a
scientist. I forgot all about those silly books that
were filled with magic spells. I began to study
nature and to read books about true science. I felt
as if the lightning had been a sign from heaven. It
had pointed the way my life would go.
What I didn’t know was that this sign could not
have been from heave …
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