Dear Dr. Frankenstein

by Jericho Brown

Photo by Brian Cornelius

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Dear ____

Step 1

Say, “Think of a fictional character that you’d like to have a conversation with. Your conversation can be about something you both relate to, about a difference in opinion you may have, about a question you’d always wanted to ask, etc. Then discuss who this person is, why you’d like to have this conversation, and what you would say.” Give them 5-10 minutes to discuss.

Step 2

Read Jericho Brown’s “Dear Dr. Frankenstein.” Then discuss the intent behind the poem.

*You may need to lead your students through the poem, as it is a bit difficult to understand with a cursory reading.

Step 3

Say, “Take some time to think of a fictional character whom, like Dr. Frankenstein to Jericho Brown, you’d like to speak to. Try to think of a reason why you’d like to speak to this character in particular. For example, in “Dear Dr. Frankenstein,” the poet wanted to talk about both of their misguided beliefs that they could “play God.” So, try to think of a specific reason why you’d need to have a conversation with this person.”

Step 4

Have your students write a poem, like “Dear Dr. Frankenstein” by Jericho Brown, in which they converse with a fictional character about a specific topic or subject.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Figurative Language

Step 1

If your students are not familiar with the concept of “figurative language,” go through the introductory lesson.

Step 2

Open the following presentation. This document will take you through all the steps of the lesson. In this lesson, your students are going to read Jericho Brown’s “Dear Dr. Frankenstein,” analyze the figurative language, and draw parallels between the poem and novel.

Step 3

When the presentation prompts you, have your students open the following document and go over the introduction & instructions with them. Though it is recommended that this lesson accompanies the reading of the novel Frankenstein, the lesson can be completed as a standalone assignment. If you are using the poem as a standalone assignment, we suggest showing the overview of the novel (hyperlinked in the introduction) before having your students work through it.

Step 4

When your students are done, have them share their responses with one another. If time permits, share the exemplar essay with them.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Figurative Language


  • Creativity / Imagination / Writing
  • Education Formal / Informal
  • Labor / Work
  • Parenting
  • Philosophy

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone