In this reading, Cohen proposes a sketch of a new modus legendi, meaning, “a method of reading cultures from the monsters they engender.”(Monsters page 11) He also says that he’s going to break some rules from recent cultural studies. Now, Cohen offers seven theses towards understanding cultures through monsters by their character, appearance and representation, such as: Vampires, the Alien, Frankenstein, Werewolves, Grendel, the Boogey man, and etc.
The next thesis proposed by Cohen is that a monster is the harbinger of category crisis. In order to feel comfortable about places, people, and things in the word, we tend to group things into categories. All of these are placed in categories typically by physical appearance and certain traits that tend to stick out. Well, what’s scary about monsters is that they tend to be unnatural and not just fit into one category, but rather many different categories. One of the most common characters described by this thesis is Count Dracula, a monster that is neither dead nor alive. When one cannot be distinguished into a basic category this tends to frighten us because it goes against one of our common norms. He breaks our human-made laws of nature. Along with the violations of our norm groups, monsters also tend as an act to forewarn our cultures of crisis. The creator of Frankenstein can be seen as an act to
In Mary Shelly’s epistolary Frankenstein and Franz Kafka’s novella “The Metamorphosis,” the authors explore the dangerous impact of society and rejection. Both creatures are rejected and isolated by their families have been defined as monsters. But, the authors force the reader to look past physical appearance to uncover who the real monster is, society; it defines what make us human. Society defines others solely based on what they see, disregarding any humane characteristics they may possess.
The Thematic Paradigm, written by Robert Ray, shows that throughout America’s history, people are often attracted to heroes whose traits reflect those of the society at the time. Ray writes about how many American heroes are valued for their strong leadership and sense of community, but there are other heroes who are celebrated for their individuality and their ability to form their own moral laws. In The Thematic Paradigm, Robert Ray shows that the American people are drawn to those who embody traits of both good and bad values. By comparing common values and laws, showing a strong sense of individualism, and contradicting opposite views on America’s historical heroes, Ray is able to give a strong argument as to why Americans are drawn to certain characters in cinema and history.
When people hear the word monster, they usually picture in their minds images of vampires, zombies, demons, ghouls, or other physical supernatural beings. However, today's society contains its own modern monsters contained in minds of people or in systems in society, as opposed to some type of physical entity. Examples for modern monsters of today can be pressure and apathy, but caring too much has more effect and negative results rather than apathy’s effect of caring too little.
The concept of a hero has been around for many generations, and the meaning of a hero is defined in ways people grasp its idea. A hero can be a person who has a superpower and is willing to make a personal sacrifice for the benefit of others or can be an ordinary everyday person who just wants to help people out of his or her own heart. Linda Seger’s article, “Creating the Myth,” tackles the idea of a “Hero 's Myth,” and shows the ten steps of how heroes are transformed from an ordinary person to the Savior. On the other hand, Robert B. Ray piece titled, “The Thematic Paradigm,” emphasizes that in modern films, it is either having an “Outlaw Hero or an Official Hero,” which he uses three stages to demonstrates how they are different each other in the way they perform in the society. Further, the article, “Out of Character: Wonder Woman’s Strength Is Her Compassion - What Happened?” by Stevie St. John, explains how Wonder Woman was viewed as a compassionate woman in the 1940s and 1950s, and in the 2000s she changes into a more violent person. In this essay, I argue that a hero is subjective, and is defined by the villain or event that they had to adapt to suddenly.
Asma states, "Monsters can stand as symbols of human vulnerability and crisis, and as such they play imaginative foils for thinking about our own responses to menace.” This means that human weaknesses and fears are represented through monstrous figures, and these fictional situations provide perspective into how we react in fearful environments. In our current society we fear many things, including but not limited to failed or corrupt governmental systems, the afterlife, the unknown, and captivity, which makes this claim valid. Although we may not realize it, these fears are embodied by the horror monsters we see in popular culture. Society shares common fears, and often times the most prevailing fear is reflected in the most popular characters at any given time. Monsters are the fictional representations of society’s dark subconscious, exploring not only why the author’s statement is accurate but what we actually fear.
The Monster Culture Seven theses written by Jeffrey Cohen discusses seven areas of monstrous aspects that have appeared in our culture due to a number of reasons by society. The story of the immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks can be intertwined in several of the thesis on monsters. Four areas I found to most correlate are Thesis I: The Monster’s Body Is a Cultural Body as it relates to Night Doctors, Thesis II: The Monster Always Escapes comparing to the HeLA bomb chapter in the book, Lastly, Thesis IV: The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference reflecting on the race of Henrietta and the concept of black genes/cells running thru all of mankind regardless of color. The Monster concepts in Jeffrey Cohen’s article interrelate to the story of Henrietta Lacks based on her story reads like science fiction and
A common concept used throughout literature is monsters that are based solely off of the differences characters are able to identify between themselves and another character. This relates to the fourth thesis in Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s essay titled Monster Culture, where he states that monsters are based on differences. These differences can include “cultural, political, racial, economic, and sexual” (Cohen 7) differences, just to name a few. This thesis is exemplified in many medieval poems, including Bisclavret, by Marie de France, and Beowulf. Bisclavret and Beowulf both exemplify Cohen’s idea of monsters lying at the point of difference by showing that people discriminate and create stereotypes based on these differences.
Historically American film have been centered on heroes. In Ray’s “The Thematic Paradigm” he states that heroes as have two preset archetypes with certain characteristics. These two archetypes are the family orientated “official hero” and the loner “outlaw hero.” In Segar’s “Creating the Myth” she states that heroes are made by the steps or events that they go through on their way to becoming a hero. This means that to Seger the heroes do not start out as heroes, but as normal people. However, Ray and Seger suggest different ways in which Americans relate to film heroes, they both agree heroes are popular through common experience and relatability.
Throughout the course of history it is evident that the values of society have dramatically changed over the years. The values that people posses change depending on what’s occurring around the world at the time, whether a fierce, bloody war resulting from a calamity or a time of peace and renaissance. The choices people make can either help change society for the better or they can help bring society down. Many different factors lead to the events that can change entire societies such as education or discrimination, both of which can have negative repercussions.
While “Have at thee!” the Arthurian battle cry from Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail, is a far a-hem cry from the modern day hero’s, the essence remains the same. Many aspects of culture have been wholly altered, but society’s quest for a hero has remained. Each people of the ancient times had a matchless idol that was unto his self the embodiment of cultural perfection. In more recent eras, where societies vary exceedingly, people have relied on scores of heroes. The United States is deemed the “melting pot” of the world due to the vast number of cultures she houses. Should she not, then, have a vast number of heroes, each one serving an essential role in society? Though modern culture does not choose one hero to exemplify
The genre of twenty-first century New Weird involves itself in many mainstream popular culture ideas. The genre delves into more modern day struggles and issues. But, while the genre of Weird Fiction has had its changes, its stories are still derived from the same emotion: Fear. The unusual, or the unknown is the driving force of this fear.
124). However, there is one final dimension to the study, known as long-term versus short-term orientation (Robbins & Judge, 2009, p. 124). Within this dimension, “it focuses on the degree of a society’s long-term devotion to traditional values” (Robbins & Judge, 2009, p. 124). Furthermore, a culture that focuses on the future and “value thrift, persistence, and tradition” pinpoints long-term orientation, whereas, the value in the present, the capability to change rapidly, and commitments do not hinder change defines short-term orientation (Robbins & Judge, 2009, p.
In his Chapter one called “Monster Culture” of Monster Theory: Reading Culture, Jeffrey Cohen describes seven theses which enlighten the reader to know how a monster is created, what its origins are and how people react to it. To begin, the first thesis is explaining what is a monster made of, and the answer is ‘pure culture’ (Cohen 4). The monster is a creatures that embodies the emotions of the culture that creates it; he creates a category on its own because he is the place where people throw what is different or not normal to their society. The monster is a human creation to warn the community of what is deviant and improper.