There is a long history when it comes to the incorporation of monsters into narratives and stories. Many authors found the monster genre to be quite attractive to the audience and, therefore, in the 19th and the early 20th Century; there was a rise in the number of monster stories authored by different writers. Some of the most famous works of literature that have incorporated the element of monsters include “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley (1818), “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1818), “The Invisible Man (1897) and “Dracula” (1897). Many of these monster narratives have been such hits that they have been made into film. In addition to appearing in stories and narratives, monsters have also appeared in other media contexts that include comic books, video games, children stories, cereal boxes, political cartoons. Many monster stories are diverse in nature exhibiting different aspects that are meant to captivate the audience. In many of these stories, the monster in question is depicted as interacting with the public and wreaking havoc on this public. In all works that involve literature however, one thing is clear, monsters are simple creations of people; they are what people aspire to be, what people are told to hate the most about themselves and what they yearn for secretly, and when people create these monsters, they often turn out to be lonely and isolated and many start terrorizing the society, as a way of connecting with it.
A monster is usually someone who exhibits stark differences with the rest of society members (Hume 8). The differences with the rest of the society are what makes the monster feel alienated and isolated. The monster then engages in various acts that are although quite devastating to the society, depict the monster as trying to make its presence known (Hume 12). In addition, a monster may target particular individuals in the society and not just everybody.
In fact, there are four distinctive characteristics that can be used to describe a monster. A monster can be a plant or an animal that has an abnormal structure or form. In this case, it is a creature that deviates from the acceptable or normal behavior or character. The other distinctive characteristic of a monster is that it can be a threatening force (Murgatroyd 34). This means that its general physique is naturally threatening.The third characteristic is that the monster can have a hugely strange or terrifying shape. Most monsters with threatening shape are usually large tan normal and deviate from the general physique of others of its kind. For instance, a monster can come from a family of apes (Murgatroyd 36). Apes are not relatively big, but a monster that deviates from the normal size of apes can emerge. A perfect example is the tale of King Kong. King Kong tells the story of a giant ape that is beyond the normal size of apes. It is this sheer size accompanied by huge physical power and capability that essentially allows King Kong to wreck utter chaos to the society. As mentioned earlier, a monster is usually an isolated creature and that often enters into the society to make its presence known or to look for a connection with the rest of the society only that is does this in a manner that is very chaotic (Murgatroyd 45). This is what happens in King Kong whereby a huge monster that has been alienated from the society and from everything else is able to connect with a young woman during an epic adventure. When this companionship or connection is taken away, the monster becomes aggrieved and starts terrorizing an entire city looking for this one person who offers some form of companion, friendship, and emotional connection. The other distinctive characteristic of a monster is that it is something evil and monstrous. This means that a monster may be a creature of extreme or unnatural ugliness, wickedness, deformity and cruelty (Britzman 259). A monster can be a normal person with normal body features but who is nevertheless filled with evil, wickedness and cruelty and this may cause the monster to commit atrocious acts in the society including killing (Scott 43). On the other hand, a monster can be a normal human being but who has been deformed or who is extremely ugly (Hantke 199). These features may make the monster feel alienated from the rest of the society and may therefore attempt to make connections with the rest of the society albeit in manner such as killing or dis-configuring them (Hantke 200). This is particularly very common in works of literature involving monsters (Scott 50). This is where the monster does not in actual sense kill people, but, for instance, slashes some of their body parts so that they can become deformed and ugly and therefore look like the monster. In this way, the monster is once again depicted as trying to seek some sought of connection, only that instead of seeking this connection in a conventional way, it does this in a very violent manner.
As mentioned earlier, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is one of the most famous monster stories. Perhaps the reason this monster story has been adored so much by readers is because it involves an artificially created monster that comes to wreck chaos on the individual who created it together with his closest family members. In this story, Victor Frankenstein is a scientist who is driven a huge desire for enlightenment and knowledge and this causes him to create a monster named from body parts of dead criminals (Shelley 2). Victor Frankenstein does this in an attempt to create what he calls a perfect human-that is- a human who is smarter and stronger than all other people. However immediately after creating this monster, Frankenstein realizes his huge mistake and is regretful of it (Shelley 34). He, in fact, completely deserts the creature that he has created. However, the act cannot be undone. The monster that has now been endowed with extreme speed and strength starts tormenting its creator together with his family members and friends. The creature instills a lot of fear in not only Victor Frankenstein, its creator, but also in the community living nearby. As the story progresses, one cannot help but to feel utter disgust for this monster and it’s inhuman and devastating actions on Victor Frankenstein as well as his family members and friends (Mythical Monsters in Classical Literature 100).
However, a deeper analysis reveals that the monster cannot be entirely blamed for all its actions. A part of the blame can be directed to Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who created it and then abandoned it. Once again, the monsters comes across as isolated and lonely. It was created only to be isolated and cast from the rest of the society. Therefore, through its actions on Dr. Frankenstein and family and friends, the monster can be seen as trying to connect with the rest of society (Mythical Monsters in Classical Literature 104)-. The monster is unloved and alone, and it, therefore, attempts to connect with the society in the best way that it knows, and this by wreaking havoc and chaos or simply terrorizing the. Therefore, it can be concluded that some monsters creations of human beings and their actions can be directly tied to humans sometimes.
The story of Frankenstein also reveals another thing about the characteristics of monsters and humans. Monsters are sometimes the creations of people, and they depict what people aspire to be, what people are told to hate the most about themselves and what they yearn for secretly. The monster was created by a scientist known as Dr. Victor Frankenstein had a deep desire for greater knowledge and enlightenment. He secretly desires to be a perfect human being and since this is not possible, he creates a person out of the body parts of dead criminals and inserts features that he hopes will make this person to be perfect human being. Therefore, even though the creature turns out to be a monster, his creation nevertheless depicts a secretly yearning for Dr. Frankenstein. It depicts what he aspires to be and what he yearns for, and this is a perfect human being. This is perhaps a lesson that if humans were contented with their current status and did not desire things that are conventionally out of reach, there would be no monsters coming to terrorize them.
Grendel is another famous story that depicts a monster. This story is adapted from another classical work of literature named Beowulf. This story depicts the main character Grendel engaging in war with various societies as he seeks for his own meaning and identity. Just like Frankenstein, the character feels alienated from the rest of the society and he feels that perhaps by wreaking havoc on them and destroying them through war, he might find his own meaning and identity (Gardner 18). In fact, the only person he has a connection with is his mother. Even on his path of destruction, Grendel is still intrigued by the humans and he occasionally takes time to revel in their civilization and development. His first interaction in humans (the Scyldings) does not go good as they capture him and torture him (Gardner 16). This perhaps what brings out the monster in him.
Grendel is driven by a huge desire to exact revenge. This once again a depiction of how monsters can sometimes be created from the actions of humans, just like in Frankenstein. Henceforth, Grendel engages in a journey searching for personal meaning and identity. This search is accompanied by a huge desire to torment humans which he feels aggrieved against. In spite of this, he however cannot help but sometimes admire humans, especially in regard to the creativity and beauty of the minds (Gardner 63). This makes his journey to be quite paradoxical whereby he avoids and at the same time seeks the company of humans.
This causes great frustration in the monster. He hates humans and at the same time adores them. His battle with humans is perhaps a way of trying to connect emotionally with them. The humans he wishes to join however shun him. This causes him to practice even more self-isolation by making rendering his presence among the humans to be terrifying (Johnson 230). As mentioned earlier, however, Grendel is a huge admirer of the human brain’s creativity and beauty. Therefore, in this case, his frustration does not simply stem from the isolation and loneliness that he feels. It also emanates from the fact that he is unable to choose between the hatred that feels for humanity on one hand and the admiration that he has for humanity; development and accomplishments (Johnson 231).
As observed, monsters have become very common in works of literature as well as in various media contexts. These monsters usually have distinguishable characteristics that make them different from other humans and the rest of the society. For instance, a monster can be a plant of animal that has an abnormal structure or form. A monster can also be a threatening force meaning that its general physique is naturally threatening. A monster can also have a hugely strange or terrifying shape. Most monsters have threatening shapes that significantly deviates from the general physique of others of its kind. Finally, a monster can be something evil and monstrous meaning that it can be a creature of extreme or unnatural ugliness, wickedness, deformity, and cruelty.
However, one uniting aspect of monsters is that they are in most cases simple creations of people; they are what people aspire to be, what people are told to hate the most about themselves and what they year for secretly and when people create these monsters, they often turn out to be lonely and isolated and many start wreaking havoc in the society, as a way of connecting with the rest of society. Monsters are creatures that create themselves but rather result from the imaginations of humans who then go ahead and reciprocate their ideas into reality.
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