USING THE PRESENT TENSE TO DISCUSS LITERATURE AND FILM

When you discuss film or literature of any kind (such as a novel or an essay or a poem), always discuss the action and events in the present tense. This is standard practice in scholarly writing. So rather than

In Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, the main character, Victor, created a living human being out of lifeless tissue but then quickly abandoned it out of disgust. NO

you should say

In Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, the main character, Victor, creates a living human being out of lifeless tissue but then quickly abandons it out of disgust. YES

Rather than

Johanna M. Smith, in her introduction to Frankenstein, implied that Mary Shelley felt much pressure from her poet husband Percy Shelley to create a profound work. NO

you should say

Johanna M. Smith, in her introduction to Frankenstein, implies that Mary Shelley felt much pressure from her poet husband Percy Shelley to create a profound work. YES

You may be asking why I leave "felt" as a past tense word in the above example. This is because we are discussing a piece of history that is best expressed in the past. However, when we discuss the writing of Smith, or the writing of Shelley as it still exists today, we discuss it in the present tense because it still exists and will continue to exist in the present moment.