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Running head: MONSTER CULTURE 1
Essay for English: Monster Culture (Seven Thesis)
Running head: MONSTER CULTURE 2
Overview of Cohen’s Thesis
Cohen’s thesis is underpinned by an overarching theme of monsters in different aspects
of society, their impact, and how people deal with them. At the onset, the author derives that
modern society no longer subscribes to the Unified Theory but instead, today’s culture is made
of up of fragmented pieces. Further, he notes that elements of fear, anxiety, desire, and fantasy
are present in today’s culture which has been likened to a monster. Monsters appear, disappear,
and reappear at a different time on their own accord just as King Arthur killed the ogre on the
mount of Saint Michael. This signifies how culture ebbs and flows from one generation to the
next, and each generation is at liberty to interpret cultural elements differently (Cohen, 1996).
The vampire stories depict the inevitable return of the dead but each time “in slightly
different clothing” which essentially means that problems like homophobia never really go away;
they keep rearing their ugly heads but in different forms. The Monster Is The Harbinger of
Category Crisis notes that monsters manage to escape because they refuse categorization. i.e.
Human beings are unable to adequately fathom monsters and this makes it difficult to find
lasting solutions. For example, gun control is a hot-button issue that has caused divisions in
political and social arenas. America’s inability to understand this issue means that solutions are
not forthcoming, and hence, more people will perish in the hands of deranged gunmen.
The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference highlights a simple fact that cultural,
racial, economic, and political differences are the real monsters that people are grappling with.
Cohen is reminding the audience that refusal to appreciate differences has created all kinds of
monsters that have befallen society such as racism, violence, poverty, among others. Racism, in
particular, is a humongous monster that has not left anyone unscathed; even Queen Elizabeth
feared the “blackamoores” would trigger a population surge in the UK (Cohen, 1996).
Running head: MONSTER CULTURE 3
Monster I: Children
Towards the end of the essay, The Monster Stands at the threshold of Becoming, Cohen
refers to children as monsters; they can go away from their parents only to return later. Parents
raise their children and send them off to conquer the world with hopes that their children cope
with whatever challenges that befall them. These children do more than that; they become master
explorers of the world around them, question longstanding belief systems, misinterpretations of
the world fed to them by in childhood, etc. Upon their return from the “Outside”, children
display impressive self-knowledge and exude enough confidence to pose all manner of questions
to parents. Hot-button issues like race, religion, gender, sexuality, politics, etc. become the
mainstay of dinner conversations and this time, they cannot be shut down by mere “Go to your
room!” by parents. Dismissive yelling may have worked before but no longer.
In this passage, Cohen appreciates that while the world is full of monsters in all shapes
and sizes, the closest and most relevant monster is actually the younger generation. Children are
often raised in sheltered environments that keep the harsh realities of the world at bay in hopes
that children can figure things out when they are older. In a recent post published by the New
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