Exercise 1.1

The aim of this exercise is to better understand “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” by identifying the main idea in one section of the essay.

Estimated time: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Due by 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 29

Part 1: Reading
Carefully read “Thesis II: The Monster Always Escapes” in “Monster Culture (Seven Theses).” Take note of no more than eight difficult but important words you encounter. “Important words” are words that might be often repeated or are located in places where it seems Cohen is explaining his main idea. Research and write down their definitions. Also try to write down ideas and questions that you have in response to specific parts of this section. Bring your copy of this essay (either in printed-out or digital form) to class on Wednesday, August 29.

Part 2: Writing
Find one (1) sentence that you think expresses the main point of Thesis II. Write it out and then explain what it means in your own words. Try to be as specific as possible. Post your sentence and explanation below as a comment to this post. (To be able to post, you need to go to qwriting.org and sign up for an account using your QC email address ending in @qmail.cuny.edu. Once you have an account, join the site by using the link on the right.)

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15 Responses to Exercise 1.1

  1. Sentence: “The monster is born only at this metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment- of time, feeling, and a place”

    Both Thesis I and II concentrate mainly on the idea that monsters are oftentimes never just beast like creatures that are out to inflict pain on others, but they are a representation of real world problems or fears that people face. Not only do monsters reflect a specific time period, but they could also symbolize any form of movement, or an opinion that an author would like to convey without having to be literal in their works. Based on Thesis II, the author takes into account that, although, similar monsters are used in works of literature, they can mean different things. Essentially, there is always a meaning behind the monsters and they usually teach us the different social issues throughout history.

  2. Bridget says:

    “We see the damage that the monster wreaks, the material remains (the footprints of the yeti across Tibetan snow, the bones of the giant stranded on a rocky cliff), but the monster itself turns immaterial and vanishes, to reappear someplace else (for who is the yeti if not the medieval wild man? Who is the wild man if not the biblical and classical giant?).”

    In every story, there is a character that causes destruction and leaves behind evidence of its presence. It ends up disappearing and reappearing somewhere else, whether it disappears through death or any other explained phenomenon, it will reappear again in another story.

  3. Irene Macias says:

    Sentence: “In each of these vampire stories, the undead returns in slightly different clothing, each time to be read against contemporary social movements or a specific, determining event: la décadence and its new possibilities, homophobia and its hateful imperatives, the acceptance of new subjectivities unfixed by binary gender, a fin de siècle social activism paternalistic in its embrace.”
    I believe the main point of thesis II is that the monsters never really die. They only come back with a different name and story behind it. As new ideas and concepts present themselves, so do monsters; taking us back to the old ideas that we used to have just presented in different ways, based on what is accepted/ not accepted in society.

  4. Sydney Miles says:

    “‘Monster theory’ must therefore concern itself with strings of cultural moments, connected by a logic that always threatens to shift; invigorated by change and escape, by the impossibility of achieving…”. Depending on the culture or the events of the time, monsters were either accepted because they proposed an imaginary solution to a problem during that time period or rejected because it went against a social norm.

  5. ‘”Each time the grave opens and the unquiet slumberer strides forth, the message proclaimed is transformed by the air that gives its speaker new life.” This sentence means that how a monster is portrayed, and viewed is heavily influenced by the social climate it is created in. Tales of monsters reflect our own values, and anxieties as a society that created them. I think that this concept is the basis for thesis II, because it is a broad viewpoint in which the writer can then begin discussing the influences behind the creation of monsters in mythology and media.

  6. Sentence:
    “Each time the grave opens and the unquiet slumberer strides forth (“comes from the dead, / Come back to tell you all”), the message proclaimed is transformed by the air that gives its speaker new life.”
    Meaning:
    In my opinion, this sentence best expresses the main point of thesis II. When reading this thesis, he was saying how monsters never truly die. As different ideas come and go, or evolve throughout time, the monster just adjusts itself to fit with the time. Monsters are very complex and are hard to get rid of because they just come back in a different form when they “die” instead of going away for good as people may think they do at the moment.

  7. Brian Fong says:

    “Each time the grave open and the unquiet slumberer strides forth (“come from the dead,/ Come back to tell you all”), the message proclaimed is transformed by the air that gives its speaker new life.”

    In every story when it comes to monsters, they will never die. They send out a message to readers and educators that they’re back and to be ready for more. It will always appear to us everyday and everywhere we go.

  8. Jackeline says:

    “Each time the grave opens and the unquiet slumberer strides forth( “comes from the dead,/comes back to tell all”)the message proclaimed is transformed by the air that gives it new life”

    The above sentence means that, like previously stated, monsters reappear(“unquiet slumberer strides forth”) but it better summarizes thesis II in the way that it implies that monsters do so in newer forms based on contemporary/cultural fears and feelings(” by the air that gives it new life”). The whole section in thesis II concerns itself with how the monster always returns. The author throws in various examples to support his thesis. The his/or her first examples were literary; the ogre that kept on reappearing even after King Arthur killed him, Alien kept on returning to stalk Ripley, the undead return in all of the vampire stories etc. By the end of the first and second paragraph the author had begun to delve into the fact that not only do monsters return, they return in images that represent current fears and phobias( ex. the homosexual content in Bram Stokers Dracula was a “leitmotif…primarily as an AIDs awareness that transforms the disease of vampirism into a sadistic form of redemption.” The author then continues to state that vampires are a kind of monster that are worldwide from ancient Egypt to modern Hollywood but each reappearance is bound in an act of construction and reconstitution so therefore monster theory should be concerned and examined through cultural movements.

  9. Sumra Din says:

    “In each of these vampire stories, the undead returns in slightly different clothing, each time to be read against contemporary social movements or a specific, determining event: la decadence and its new possibilities, homophobia and its hateful imperatives, the acceptance of new subjectivities unfixed by binary gender, a fin de siècle social activism paternalistic in its embrace.”

    In this passage that Cohen is using “Vampire” as his description of a monster. He calls them “the undead” that shows that monsters are immortal. Their return being inevitable yet modified each time based on the societal norms. He mentions homophobia and acceptance of the homosexuality as a social activism. And that one can never completely get rid of the monsters. They are not new but rather historic figures and have been existing in our literature and society. From morte d’Arthurs to Dracula of modern times, there have been numerous examples of such portrayals. And each portrayal signifies a unique meaning.

  10. Hedy Chou says:

    “In each of these vampire stories, the undead returns in slightly different clothing, each time to be read against contemporary social movements or a specific, determining event”

    These monster characters are constantly being used as a scapegoat to portray a movement or idea. As various issues arise different authors will use the same monster to tell a different story. Keeping the basic ideals and characteristics of said monster while adding a twist or two of their own. These monsters are just a way to highlight or pin point a problem within a story. The focus is almost always to get rid of or attack the monsters so they can be removed from society so the people can live in peace.

    The real returning “monster” isn’t the monster character it self, but more of what the character represents within the story.

  11. Xinmiao Xu says:

    “Monsters theory” must therefore concern itself with strings of culture moments, connected by a logic that always threatens to shift; invigorated by change and escape, by the impossibility of achieving…
    In my opinion, this sentence is the main point of thesis 2. The monsters are never really gone because they are not something miracle that just exist a very short time in a long long time ago. They connect with the important culture moments. They always appear in turbulence time and escape when everything is done. The intricate matrix generates them, the complex situation creates them. That’s why they always appear in the heroic chronicle. Furthermore, the history always repeats itself in an amazing way and monsters are connected with it, so they always come and escape and come and escape…

    • Raj Ghimire says:

      In each of these vampire stories, the undead returns, leave its grave at night to drink the blood.
      In this passage Cohen is using vampire as monster. He calls them the undead that shows that monsters are immortal. He mentioned homophobia as a social activism.

  12. Raj Ghimire says:

    In each of the vampire stories,a corpse supposed ,in European folklore,to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by using its two sharp incisor teeth.
    These monster are just a way to highlight problem within a story.if monster can be remove from society then people can live in peace.
    In this passage Cohen is using vampire as a description of monster.He calls them the undead that shows the monsters are immortal.He also mention homophobia as a social activism.

  13. Moshe says:

    “Each time the grave opens and the unquiet slumberer strides forth (“comes from the dead, / Come back to tell you all”), the message proclaimed is transformed by the air that gives its speaker new life.”

    This quote demonstrates that the monster always escapes. The monster either gets away and comes back or the defendant kills one and the monster is replaced by more. Furthermore, monsters need to be examined in the culture and time that creates them because the same monsters are used over and over again, but they have different meanings each time.

  14. Sherin Azad says:

    “Monsters must be examined within the intricate matrix of relations (social, cultural, and literary -historical) that generate them”

    – In my opinion, the sprout of monsters is vital. Monsters are so vicious and cruel, yet they come in so many different forms. In other words, the creation of these monsters should be in a way more important than the toll they end up bringing, whether it be mental or physical. As a result, we should be focusing more on the sprout of these monsters rather than what mayhem they can cause.

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