After high school seniors in my classes read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, they wrote a prospectus for an original essay that explores what kind of light her novel sheds on a significant issue they see in society today. Once they had written those pieces and started the essay itself, I showed them my prospectus. Here it is. As often as possible, I like to model for them. In this case, I waited until they had completed their prospectuses, which allowed me to address an issue that had not come up in their writing.
Prospectus: Monster Drugs
According to the US National Archives, just over 58,000 Americans have died as a result of the entire Vietnam War, which began in the 1950s. The number of Americans who died last year of opiod overdoses is 64,000 (AJC 01 Oct 2017: A22). How has this epidemic happened? The editorial board of the AJC cites several elements of this problem, all of which echo Mary Shelley’s novel. First, the editors’ opinion refers to “the human toll of suffering” caused by widespread opiod abuse. Second they claim, “It is a problem not confined to what many might believe are the usual suspects.” In more general terms, the editors mention “opiod abuse and its societal consequences.” Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, the AJC editorial board notes that the accompanying guest columns “point out practical strategies for gaining control of this societal scourge.” Attempts to gain control of this national problem echo Frankenstein’s creature because the monster became uncontrollable. So, how has this monster-drug problem happened, and what light can the novel shed on it?