Monsters are embodiments or personifications of social anxieties. For example, in general terms, vampires represent our fears and desires about sex; zombies represent our fear of the mob and loss of individuality; werewolves represent our animalistic selves and the transformation into madness; ghosts represent histories of traumatic events and troubled memories; witches represent the male fear of female power, knowledge, and sexuality.
Choose a monster. Your monster may be from legend, myth, folklore, literature, film, or popular culture. It may be from anywhere in the world, and from any period. You will develop a four-page research essay that connects your monster to the culture that invented it. Your thesis will explain how the monster represents the time and place from which it comes.
There are three ways to approach this project.
1. Research the origins of a monster—what are the earliest stories, and what do they say about that society?
2. Research how a monster changes over a period of time—how do changes in the monster represent changes in society?
3. Focus on the connection between a monster and its immediate context—how does a specific modern monster represent the contemporary concerns of society?
Your essay must make a clear argument. It must use (at least) one primary source and four or more secondary sources. Information, quotations, and other people’s opinions should be cited according to MLA style.
Find four secondary sources on your monster or its historical context. They should be essays or book chapters. Use sources from the Seneca library system when possible. Cite each secondary source in alphabetical order using MLA style. Under each citation, write a summary paragraph that summarizes the thesis and main points of each source in your own words.
The Essay Proposal should be one double-spaced page long (250 words). The proposal must do three things: identify and describe the monster and its society; name the primary and secondary sources you will use; explain the research problem that your essay will explore. Think about the most clear and concise way to do these three things.
The Research Essay should be four double-spaced pages in length (1000 words). Your essay should make a single, unified, and coherent argument. It should be well organized into clear paragraphs, with a thesis statement in the introduction. Your argument should use quotations from the primary and secondary sources. At the end of the essay include a Works Cited page that lists in alphabetical order the primary and secondary sources used in the essay.
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