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A Monster like Me

We all are indeed monsters. In any venue, the story of the monster provides a lesson to be learned. More often than not, monsters bring warning and cause for positive change. We define monsters by their power to terrify or cause great harm, thus ignoring the fact that monsters are created and must be accepted by society to become such. Monsters are necessary even in today’s society. In the articles Monster-Making: A Politics of Persuasion (Edward J. Ingebertsen) and Monsters and the Moral Imagination (Stephen T. Asma), there is an apparent agreement that monsters are created for the betterment of society. Monsters assist us in addressing our ethical convictions and allow us to discover our true values. The tale of the monster can cause us to think and then rethink about what could possibly happen if a monster were to come out. “Good monster stories can transmit moral truths to us by showing us examples of dignity and depravity without preaching or proselytizing� (Asma). The story of the monster is not only necessary to teach a lesson, but to provide narrative imagery of what uncivil behavior looks like. The story gives an explanation of why we should not be monster like and the consequences if we choose to be so. Both authors discuss our natural desire to conquer our vulnerability by placing blame or becoming victors instead of victims. We often point the finger at the victims asking why they did not do things differently, not truly knowing what we would do in the same situation. Although we can state that we would have handled a monstrous occasion differently, it is usually after the fact and with the subtle knowledge that we are less likely to fall victim to the same exact situation. In a sense, we have all the right answers when we hold no responsibility. Victims often


find a way to fight back thus becoming a victor. It is our way of saying the civil way of life is the best way of life because from every monstrosity rises victory for the most humane. The inhumanity of our enemy allows us to better define what is civil and enables us to create new ways in addressing the challenge of being “normal”. The increased interest in monsters in recent years has me questioning if the rules of civilized society. We can easily indulge in the uncivilized, inhumane, and evil ways of characters in movies but are compellingly criticized if we are to act in an uncivil manner. Social anxiety causes us to readily identify the differences in others and assume the worst of those who most different from our own idea of what normal is. Our intolerance’s in society encourage the creation of monsters to give order and illustrations of what it takes to be a part of the civil or “normal” society. Much like Dr. Jekyll, we all have a Mr. Hyde. I am convinced that each person has a more distinct disgust or fear of the “monster” that they feel they would most vulnerable with. We create our own monsters by allowing ourselves to be naive to what is really going on in the world. We create monsters in society by grasping for the power to prove that we are in control. The need to make an example of those who do not follow society’s rules of engagement are cast out and labeled “monsters” and through communal agreement the actions of the labeled monsters are monstrous. Although I am finding it increasingly hard to define the word monster, my experience has encouraged me to accept that the meaning of the word is best defined in the context of which it is used. Two main ingredients in the creation of monsters are circumstances and audience. The sweet lady down the street is just that until others learn she is a serial killer. If my family was in danger and I needed to cut the foot off of a stranger to save them, I would. Given the right


circumstances, anyone could easily switch to monster mode to do what they think is right in that moment. An audience determinates the level of monstrosity the action was, labeling the person as a monster or just someone doing what he or she had to do. The stories told about monsters allow us to think about what we would do in the most gruesome of situations. Our imagination enables us to step outside of ourselves just for a moment and realize that yes, we all are indeed monsters.

Monster Revision  

learned. More often than not, monsters bring warning and cause for positive change. We define can transmit moral truths to us by showing us...

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