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The Understanding of the Monster

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When analyzed online many of the definitions you will find for the word monster include: a strange or horrible imaginary creature, one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior, or an animal of strange and/or terrifying shape. (Merriam Webster) When observing the “Monster Theory” by Jeffrey Cohen and the 7 theses that he provides in this text, one can begin to somewhat disagree with these formal definitions and attempt to say that it has an even greater meaning. Monsters might scare us and frighten us because of their physical appearances but also can provide us with possible solutions to gaps and uncertainties in our mind that Sigmund Freud would label as “The Uncanny”. I can only but agree with Cohen’s proclamations that the monster’s body is a cultural body, a monster is the harbinger of category crisis, and a monster stands at the threshold of becoming. These theses attempt to explain the diversity of the term monster when it comes to different cultures and the human imagination of what has been, is, and can be.

The first of the seven theses that Jeffrey Cohen proposes in “Monster Theory” is that the Monster’s body is a cultural body. What exactly does he mean when he states this? What he means by this, is that a monster is something that people from different specific cultures imagine in order to signify meaning of the unknown and the things that typically scare us. A perfect example that was provided early on in the course was the use of Satan. Satan or the devil is a common character amongst all cultures and is often depicted as the ruler of all evil in the world. People could either interpret him as a monster because he is greatly related to evil or worship him if they believed his actions were acceptable. Not only is there Satan but we could also look at the aliens that were in the movie District 9 to see some cultural resemblance. The aliens in this movie were greatly treated as monsters and were isolated from... Show More

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