The creature finds fire

Words: 501-600

Skills: Context Clues Figurative Language Theme

Grades: 9th 10th 11th 12th

Topics: Adventure / Thriller and Mystery / Suspense / Horror

Genres: Prose

Lexile Range:

Lexile Measure:

CCSS: Reading: Literature

Themes:

The Creature Finds Fire


by Mary Shelley from Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

Chapter 11 passage: Published in 1818, Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is much different from the modern adaptations of her novel. In this passage, the reader hears the Creature's story of his first awakenings in the forest. After reading the text, students will respond to questions on the language and the theme.

Reading Comprehension Passage

The Creature Finds Fire

by Mary Shelley from Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
In the 1818 novel, Frankenstein, scientist Victor Frankenstein has brought to life a ugly being who is called "the Creature." Victor immediately rejects his creation. The Creature, newly alive and totally unaware of the world around him, wanders into the forest where he learns to survive. Here the Creature tells of his first days of life.

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 “Several changes of day and night passed, and the orb of night had greatly lessened, when I began to distinguish my sensations from each other. I gradually saw plainly the clear stream that supplied me with drink and the trees that shaded me with their foliage. I was delighted when I first discovered that a pleasant sound, which often saluted my ears, proceeded from the throats of the little winged animals who had often intercepted the light from my eyes. I began also to observe, with greater accuracy, the forms that surrounded me and to perceive the boundaries of the radiant roof of light which canopied me. Sometimes I tried to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds but was unable. Sometimes I wished to express my sensations in my own mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke from me frightened me into silence again.

“The moon had disappeared from the night, and again, with a lessened form, showed itself, while I still remained in the forest. My sensations had by this time become distinct, and my mind received every day additional ideas. My eyes became accustomed to the light and to perceive objects in their right forms; I distinguished the insect from the herb, and by degrees, one herb from another. I found that the sparrow uttered none but harsh notes, whilst those of the blackbird and thrush were sweet and enticing.

“One day, when I was oppressed by cold, I found a fire which had been left by some wandering beggars, and was overcome with delight at the warmth I experienced from it. In my joy I thrust my hand into the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain. How strange, I thought, that the same cause should produce such opposite effects! I examined the materials of the fire, and to my joy found it to be composed of wood. I quickly collected some branches, but they were wet and would not burn. I was pained at this and sat still watching the operation of the fire. The wet wood which I had placed near the heat dried and itself became inflamed. I reflected on this, and by touching the various branches, I discovered the cause and busied myself in collecting a great quantity of wood, that I might dry it and have a plentiful supply of fire. When night came on and brought sleep with it, I was in the greatest fear lest my fire should be extinguished. I covered it carefully with dry wood and leaves and placed wet branches upon it; and then, spreading my cloak, I lay on the ground and sank into sleep."

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. What is "the orb of night"?



2. Using a quotation from the text, give an example of the Creature learning about his surroundings.



3. What does uncouth mean here: "but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke from me frightened me into silence again"?



4. Explain what the Creature means here: "How strange, I thought, that the same cause should produce such opposite effects!"