Publication Date

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (MA)



Committee Chair

Adam S. Kozaczka

Committee Member

Kevin Lindberg

Committee Member

Paul Niemeyer

Committee Member

Jude Galbraith


This Master’s thesis is concerned with analyzing key themes and ideas in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein through an existentialist lens which is made possible through a comparison to themes and ideas in Albert Camus’ The Stranger. I aim to make a contribution to my field by fulfilling a comparison that has long been made since the late 1960s when conversations about British Romanticism and Existentialism were still common. The purpose of my first chapter is to elucidate a new argument about the relationship between these two novels. There is a discernable element of Camusian Revolt exhibited by the Creature in some of the most riveting passages of Frankenstein; this element is all the more clearer when placed in conversation with the actions of Meursault, the protagonist of The Stranger. Through more specific examples, and a large reliance on the historical context of both novels that this project is concerned with, I am able to draw connections that go further than thematic similarities and show the relevance of these ideas to readers in our time. The second chapter consists of historical context that sets up an understanding of the reception of Frankenstein and the ensuing consequences of this novel for ruling body interested in maintaining a permanent underclass within the population. The third chapter examines the species of Revolt within Frankenstein by comparing it to The Stranger in order to reach conclusions about the significance of these themes today. The final chapter is an observation about the behavior of revolt modeled by the authors discussed in this thesis. It proposes that the act of writing and creating art is in itself an act of revolt which is the true message the authors intended to convey. It also argues that the medium of the novel is the most effective method of expression for revolt because it taps into human experience in a way no other distinct work of art can.