Annotated Bibliography: Definition of a Monster
Considering that particular focus of this research is defining what a monster is. The sources incorporated herein essentially work to define the term monster in relation to film literature, and personal perceptions. In a bid to accomplish this, sources that are to be used in the research establishes the chronology of the term monster, culture perception of the term monster, and finally the relation of monstrous characteristics to human behaviour. The most important ideas in understanding the subject of the research evident from the sources below include myths, history of monsters, magic and believes.
Asma, Stephen T. On monsters: An unnatural history of our worst fears. Oxford University
In the book entitled On monsters: An unnatural history of our worst fears by Stephen Asma the author of this book presents a conceptual and cultural history of monsters. It essentially presents the evolution of monsters overtime, the future expectations of the same and the functions they have since served.
This source will be of utmost importance to the research ensuing the fact that it will provide me with the necessary background regarding the definition of monsters and the evolution that the same has since undergone. By evaluating the chronology of definitions related to monsters, the reader will be able to establish the most definite definition.
Bassil-Morozow, Helena. Tim Burton: The Monster and the Crowd: a Post-Jungian
Perspective. Routledge, 2013.
Helena Bassil-Morozow the author of this book that contain a total of 216 pages essentially presents the notion that Burton is rebellious lonely and monstrous. Burton roams the earth because he cannot fit the society essentially because of his monstrous character.
Considering that this book focuses on a character that possess monstrous characteristics, this book will be of great significance subsequent to the fact that, by analysing the characteristics of Burton, I will be able to deduce a clear meaning of a monster. This source is unique due to the fact that it gives a character characteristics that well defines him as a monster.
Beville, Maria. The Unnameable Monster in Literature and Film. Routledge, 2013.
In the book entitled The Unnameable Monster in Literature and Film by Maria Beville, the author essentially responds to the notion that monsters embody all that is horrible and scary within the scope of human imagination. In explaining this, the author focuses particularly on film and literature.
Considering that the author of this book offers a standpoint regarding what she perceives to be a monster by essentially focusing on literature and film, this source is important ensuing the fact that it offers a profound correlation and meaning of a monster in film and literature enabling the reader to relate the definitions offered within the scope of film and literature. This source is unique because it relates the definitions of a monster in films and literature.
Frueh, Joanna. Monster/beauty: Building the Body of Love. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2000. Print.
In this book entitled Monster/beauty: Building the Body of Love author Frueh, Joanna while exploring love and pleasure, she presents the captivating and unique creature Monster/Beauty. He essentially explores and celebrates her body and those of her lovers. In a bid to present his notions, the author uses vampires, hyper muscular women among other monstrous figures.
This source is helpful to my research particularly because it offers insights on the relation between one’s body, beauty and monstrous nature. This source is unique subsequent to the fact that the reader can relate the characteristics of a monster with his or her persona life.
Hanafi, Zakiya. The Monster in the Machine: Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the
Time of the Scientific Revolution. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press, 2000. Internet resource.
In this book entitled, The Monster in the Machine: Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the Time of the Scientific Revolution, with a total of 272 pages the author of this book Zakiya Hanafi explains ways in which the characters of human beings were contrasted with those of demonic and supernatural creatures during the era of the scientific revolution. It does this by focussing on the Italian culture in relation to the same.
This source of important because it offers a framework under which a researcher can relate the contemporary perception of what is a monster in the contemporary times with that of the era when scientific revolution was taking place. This source is important because it relates human characteristics that we are well conversant with, with that of monsters that we are not well acquitted with.
Jewell, Keala. Monsters in the Italian Literary Imagination. Detroit: Wayne State Univ.
Press, 2001. Print.
In this book entitled Monsters in the Italian Literary Imagination with a total of 325 pages, the author presents what a monster mean from the perspective of the Italian literacy. It essentially relates the Italian culture to what is perceived as a monster, and the evolution of the same from the medieval period to date.
This source is of particular importance to my research ensuing the fact that it relates the culture and the meaning of the term monster. Considering that the author covers the evolution of the same since the medieval period, the reader can easily relate the contemporary cultural perceptions of a monster to that of the past. This source is unique because it relates the culture and the monstrous characteristics.
Kullstroem, Chris. Monster Parties and Games: Fifteen Film-Based Activities. Jefferson,
N.C: McFarland & Co, 2009. Internet resource.
Considering that this book presents monster games and parties that relate to familiar classic and modern films, this source is important for my research since I will be in a good position to allude the films hence reinforcing my arguments. This book is important to the reader because it alludes films in an effort to explain the meaning of a monster. This source is also unique because it offers an easy understanding of monstrous character by relating it with familiar films.
Storm, Rory. Monster Hunt: The Guide to Cryptozoology. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.,
Rory Storm the author of this source that contains a total of 207 pages presents ways in which scientist particularly the zoologists’ work to investigate strange creatures across the globe by using significant methods. This far, the author argues that findings have accentuated that some mythological creatures relate to some real animals.
This source is important because it explains the nature of monsters or rather strange creatures by using creatures that we know. By relating monstrous characteristics with existent creatures, a reader will easily deduce the meaning of a monster. This source is unique because uses existent creatures to explain the nature of mythological creatures (monsters).
Considering that collecting relevant information may be quite exhaustive, searching for the above sources was quite challenging since some sources may contain the information but its validity is questionable. Additionally, searching for relevant information embedded within large volumes of books was quite tiring. The most significant thing I learned subsequently to doing this research is that, it is important to get familiar with the subject of the research before conducting it. In relation to this research, it is important to acknowledge the fact that though many definitions of the term monster may exist, it is important to do an extensive search of the meaning rather than leaning on a few sources.
Research Paper: Monsters
Our awareness of the monster has evolved, however, every monstrous thing in the world has an ancestry. Examinations of monsters should be done in terms of in terms of intrinsic matrix of relations which include literacy- historical, social and cultural. Certainly, cultural and historical matrix is inevitable, as they are compatible and could not be possibly in conflict with universal principles.
Looking at different cinemas, one can ask themselves how monsters are common and how realistic is the concept of monsters’ existence. Experientially, they can be seen as unrealistic; however, they may be human. Also, the horrors may be real and non- fictional; looking at Henry in the film Portrait of a serial killer but this does not necessarily mean they are real. Monsters are similar in terms of their effects to the human fraternity; as they tend to kill human and not co- exist with them in a good way. However, they are depicted to have different physical characteristics, ranging from having double personalities, ugly physique and ugly faces.
Therefore, monsters seen in cinemas are seen as representations of monsters. The depictions are also seen to be very diverse as seen in Dracula, Chucky, Karie and Freddy Kreugger. Mark Jancovich, a horror film expert, asserts that different groups present monstrous differently, and such representations can be historically traced. Judith Halsberstam in her book Skin Shows, Gothic horror and the technology of monsters she makes similar assertions. The individual characters that add up to monstrous characteristics is seen to change overtime, depending on preferred interpretations to monstrosity. One can view this characterization is mainly aimed at horrifying viewers. However, most of the time they are unsuccessful, also according to Caroll most of the times they are aimed at deconstructing effects of the genre and the resulting appeal.
Monsters are seen as potentially horrifying creatures. This is because of the embodiment of surmounted beliefs which are horrifying to viewers. There are different concepts in regards to what is a monster. According to Aristotle, it is a mistake in teleology which occurs now and again. Caroll asserts that a monster is an impossible impure thing which arouses disgust and fear. Freeland has somewhat similar views to Caroll and suggests that the monster is an impossible evil creature sometimes in real life and sometimes empirically impossible.
According to Aristotle, the monster is a mistake of nature; this is demonstrated by the two- headed calf showing how nature went wrong. His natural deformities cause extreme repulsion and arouse pity. Therefore, a monster can be defined by implying something that failed to attain its natural end. On the other hand, monster can also be seen as being in volition of nature.
Monsters are also unrealistic beings and only exist in the human imagination. They are horrific, impure and have a mixture of characteristics which are naturally distinct. Comparisons show that monsters have the common characteristic of being distinct from human, and most of the time act in an evil manner which harms the normal humans. They are also seen to display both natural and unnatural characteristics as seen in the Case of Hyde, where Hyde is sometimes depicted as being a gentleman.
Additionally, monsters are disgusting creatures. In the story of Psycho and the peeping Tom, Caroll and Freeland evoke monsters which are disgusting. This shows a tale of terror rather than horror. There is involvement of Norman Bates and Mark Lewis, who are natural monsters. Bates resembles impure being in the horror art world. Bates in neither man nor a woman and belongs to the living dead. He is not normal because he is interstitial, he is abnormal and also a person who is two in one. However, it can be argued that this is a function of psychology rather than biology; because he is arguably within the laws of nature. This shows another case of the distinction between what is acceptable normal and a case of two in one; living and dead.
The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson which demonstrates literary representation of anatomies of masculinity. The story literalizes the struggle between transgresses and normative embodiments of masculinity in the late ninetieth century; hence visibly making intelligible some contradictions permeating opposing configurations of the gender identity of males. The story is a narrative which begins with a dream, the idea of the strange case first infected the author’s imagination when he was wrestling with tubercular illness, which he wrestled with through most part of his life. Waking from the tangled encounters of his sick bed, Stevenson purportedly discerned liniments of the tale and a fit verbal passion and hence the first incarnation of the monstrous double being Jekyll/ Hyde. Jekyl/ Hyde is an evil anti – hero who plays two roles, which are different sides of the same person.
Monsters can also have two sides. The strange case is marked by thematic transgressions which are formal as much as thematic. Strikingly, the strangeness of this case culminates from the plot which derives story telling convection from horrors. Notably, the strange case is a short text, but with derived convection of horrors with minimal depictions of violence. The strange case establishes a first- person account of a character verging for more than one person, hence ‘duplicity in life’. According to Stevenson, the character is to be understood as apotheosis of proprietary standards and not a moral failure or failure of character. The character is also not depicted hypocrite but a profound double-dealer with two dead sides. The case constructs a failure of character, attributed to sociological/narratological of a person. The person created also has distinct embodiment. Jekyll’s reflection shows a character which is a unitary male subject, who is partial, as he is incomplete in the sense of disclosing the composite nature. Stevenson puts in place a prose which negotiates a nineteenth century bourgeois ideology, invoking morality, intelligence, morality, science, truth, mysticism and science. This creates a vision of self- divided male.
A monster can be seen as a person who is difficult to describe, the monster in this case depicts a person who is marauding and immoral underclass of dissipated and immoral leisure class. According to William Lee, Stevenson also creates a figure that is difficult to explain, Hyde is seen as being Stigmata and degenerate, even making it difficult to give him specific characteristics. He also gives a strong sense of deformity, although it is also difficult to specify the point. He can’t be easily described, although he is extra-ordinary looking. His unexpressed deformity captures the troubled relationship between texts and Hydes’s body as interpreted. Hyde’s stigmata are expressed everywhere although difficult to explain with certainty. Stevenson continually underscores the misinterpretation in less imperial data, like his huge skin and the shape of his face. The novel tends to portray monsters or villains as being gentle; hence Hyde is a gentleman.
Certainly, monsters are seen to show what is conceived as supper human body, and in the case of Stevenson, or sometimes irreducible physicality. This physicality is mostly seen in ugliness seen in the physical appearance of most monsters. The appearance parodies stereotypes show virile masculinity or feminine beauty. Sometimes the monsters are seen to have the questing, needy soul, as depicted by Mary Shelley. Thus puts aside the depiction of immorality and shows the creature longing for the family bond and compassionate love (Alexander, p. 135). This is illuminated by Mary Shirley’s world who forged the phenomenal mother daughter connection, hence romanticism in the monster world.
On the other hand, monsters are generally, modern inventions which aim at scaring people. It is used to threaten the community from the core rather than simply from outside. The monster is seen as the power of masses unleashed, a sign of French revolution and a sign of social struggle. A monster is seen as a technological invention which poses scientific danger without conscience (Hilberstam, p. 29).
Monster technology is a narrative subordinating class to family; however it is crucial to realize that monsters seem play a role in delineating family from class, economic from political and social from personal. Monsters are seen to have chameleonic nature, hence acting as a symbol of multiplicity inviting various interpretations. However various critics in an attempt to narrow down monstrous imagination, assert that monsters are beings which are used to theorize fear and semiotic of horror. Most of these critical accounts tend to emphasize on monsters status of being hybrid in favour of specific gender or class inflicted readings.
Conclusively, one may say that monsters are unique beings invented by technology and imagination, having unique physical as well behavioural characteristics which are distinct from those seen in normal human beings. The definition of a monster, therefore, depends on human bias, according to how they are depicted to them and what type of the monster is seen.
Alexander, Meena. Women in Romanticism: Mary Wollstonecraft, Dorothy Wordsworth, and
Mary Shelley. Savage, Md: Barnes & Noble Books, 1989. Print.Bottom of Form
Bailey, Dale. "FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA CAST THEIR SHADOWS.” Daily PressOct
28 2012. ProQuest. Web. 22 Mar. 2014 .
Halberstam, Judith. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham
[u.a.: Duke Univ. Press, 1995. Print.
Williams, Lee. "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Houston Press: 1. Jun 21
2007. ProQuest. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.