Essay 1: Photo Essay on Monsters
For your first essay, write a two- to three-page essay (not counting the photo or Works Cited page) using a MLA format related to our readings and discussions in class on monsters. You are NOT required to include research or use outside sources, including the readings assigned related to monsters, but if you do, you are responsible for using proper MLA in-text citations and a Works Cited page. See Purdue OWL’s MLA Style Guide for help. I want you to include a photo that relates to the content of your essay, preferably one that you have taken or drawn, but it can be borrowed from another source and properly cited. You may also create a monster with Legos or other materials and take a picture. The photo can be uploaded separately to Blackboard.
List of possible topics:
- At one point, I asked you write down your definition of monster. Your understanding of the term monster may have changed through our readings. Write a definition essay in which you define and expound on your idea of a monster. You can find some examples of definition essays at http://www.lonestar.edu/model-essays. Draw or create an illustration of a monster that relates to your definition.
- Draw a cartoon or find one (and cite it) that uses one or more monsters to express your views on a contemporary political issue. After you finish the drawing, write a reflective essay and answer the following questions: 1) Did you use a familiar monster (such as Frankenstein’s Creature) or invent a new monster? What difference does (un)familiarity make in your cartoon? 2) Does your representation of the monster(s) create “Othering”—does it frame any ideas or people, perhaps those opposed to your own position, as a bad “them” in relation to good “us”? If so, what or who is framed as the Other, and what problems might this Othering pose? If not, who or what does your monster represent, and how does it avoid Othering them? 3) Finally, how might your use of monstrosity in your cartoon serve as a warning about society approaching the issue you’ve chosen in a dangerous or misguided way?
- Consider Cohen’s assertion that monsters can represent “cultural, political, racial, economic, [and/or] sexual” difference. In what ways have you seen this process occurring in your everyday life? For example, in what ways do modern media present people as Others? When have you seen monstrous attributes projected onto individual people or groups? Find two examples in which the media use monstrous attributes to vilify a particular individual or a group, and write an essay analyzing how language and imagery contribute to the negative characterization. Make sure to use MLA in-text citations and a Works Cited page.
- Have you in some way been the victim of “Othering” because of your race, culture, orientation, or some aspect, or have you witnessed “Othering”? Write a personal essay in which you discuss your experience.
- The introduction talks about monsters being used as warnings for society. In fact, the “Latin word monstrum . . . derives from the word monere, to warn” (2). Research a monster or myth that you want to know more about and write an essay about its cultural significance. How does it serve as a warning? Make sure to use in-text citations and a Works Cited page to properly document any ideas that are not your own. Make sure to use MLA in-text citations and include a Works Cited page.
You are not required to choose a topic from this list. The subject of essay can be anything you as long as you tie it monsters in some way.