What do Dr. Frankenstein and the framers of the Constitution have in common? In this lesson you will consider the analogy between Dr. Victor Frankenstein trying to form a living being that would serve him without creating a monster and the framers trying to structure a strong federal government without overpowering the states.


1. First, brainstorm with a partner all you know about the story of Frankenstein.

2. Next, define the term, analogy.

3. As you know, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were charged with creating a better structure of government for the United States. The delegates wanted to create a more powerful national government than the government under the Articles of Confederation. Yet the delegates feared making a central government that was so powerful it would overwhelm the state governments. Records of the many debates among the delegates at the Constitutional Convention suggest that many of them were, in fact, worried about creating an uncontrollable "monster." Some of these concerns were expressed in the Federalist Papers (
#1, #2, and #51). Using the Constitution, create a list of national powers that the delegates included in the new Constitution.

4. In the novel,Frankenstein, Shelly wrote about a scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who wanted to create a living being for the good of humanity. Frankenstein learns the secret of infusing life into inanimate matter, but the being he creates becomes a monster who ultimately destroys him. Frankenstein's monster is given many positive qualities, including great strength, intelligence, and obedience, but he lacks the characteristics necessary to be accepted by others.

5. Re-read the Handout "It's Alive!" which is an excerpt from the novel, Frankenstein. Then, using your list of powers created above, your assignment is to creatively illustrate the new powers the delegates are "experimenting with" at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Will it work? Also, think about creatively illustrating their laboratory.

6. Review the rubric for your illustration and essay. Make sure you understand the criteria for both the illustration and essay.