The Cultural Significance of Monsters

The Cultural Significance of Monsters, Inc.

 

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Monsters, Inc.(2001) is about a city of monsters (called Monstropolis) that is fueled by the screams of human children. Screams are becoming scarcer, however, because children are becoming less afraid of monsters. One day, a monster named Sulley discovers a young human girl who has stumbled into a scream factory in Monstropolis; through the process of helping her get home, Sulley discovers that the owner of the scream company is trying to find new ways to get screams out of children. Sulley also discovers that children’s laughter is ten times as powerful as their screams. At the end of the movie, the scream company changes to making kids laugh; laughter now powers the city. The movie Monsters, Inc. reveals specificAmerican fears and hopes that were powerful during the cultural moment when it was produced. In Jeffery Jerome Cohen’s “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” he argues that monsters always reveal something about the culture at the time the monster was popular (68). In Cohen’s first thesis “The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body,” he suggests that monsters embody and reveal powerful cultural anxieties (69). What is the cultural significance of the movie Monsters, Inc.? There are two reasons why this movie is culturally significant. The most obvious is that people are not always who you think they are. In the film, Sulley is a monster who is good; Cohen would argue that this monster is messing with binary norms that we are comfortable with. On an even bigger level, however, the film also reveals the cultural fear of running out of natural resources, and the corresponding desire to find alternative ways to supply America with the resources it needs. In the film, the town is fueled by screams, and since children are becoming less afraid the town is running out of fuel. Monsters, Inc. challenges our view of monsters and asks us to take the issue of scarce natural resources seriously. As such, it can illustrate what was happening in American culture in 2001.

 

 

The Cultural Significance of Monsters, Inc.

 

Outline of Introduction Paragraph

 

[Hook –Overview of the filmMonsters, Inc.(2001) is about a city of monsters (called Monstropolis) that is fueled by the screams of human children. Screams are becoming scarcer, however, because children are becoming less afraid of monsters. One day, a monster named Sulley discovers a young human girl who has stumbled into a scream factory in Monstropolis; through the process of helping her get home, Sulley discovers that the owner of the scream company is trying to find new ways to get screams out of children. Sulley also discovers that children’s laughter is ten times as powerful as their screams. At the end of the movie, the scream company changes to making kids laugh; laughter now powers the city.

 

[Transition to talking about cultural fears in the film] The movie Monsters, Inc. reveals specificAmerican fears and hopes that were powerful during the cultural moment when it was produced.

 

[Explanation of key idea from Cohen] In Jeffery Jerome Cohen’s “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” he argues that monsters always reveal something about the culture at the time the monster was popular (68). In Cohen’s first thesis “The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body,” he suggests that monsters embody and reveal powerful cultural anxieties (69).

 

[Transition with inquiry question] What is the cultural significance of the movie Monsters, Inc.?

 

[Thesis Part A – more obvious fears] There are two reasons why this movie is culturally significant. The most obvious is that people are not always who you think they are. In the film, Sulley is a monster who is good; Cohen would argue that this monster is messing with binary norms that we are comfortable with.

 

[Thesis Part B – deeper fears] On an even bigger level, however, the film also reveals the cultural fear of running out of natural resources, and the corresponding desire to find alternative ways to supply America with the resources it needs. In the film, the town is fueled by screams, and since children are becoming less afraid the town is running out of fuel. Monsters, Inc. challenges our view of monsters and asks us to take the issue of scarce natural resources seriously. As such, it can illustrate what was happening in American culture in 2001.

 

 

 

Bernie Sanders is a Political Monster – For Good

Twenty thousand people are packed into a stadium, cheering uncontrollably as their guy comes out. No, this isn’t a concert or a sporting event, it’s a revolution. Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont, is shocking our political world with his so-called radical proposals. As a self-described democratic socialist, he has risen to a level of popularity nobody imagined possible when he announced his presidential campaign last year; he now seriously challenges Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for the nomination. This has a great many people in the current power structure losing their minds. They point their fingers at him, demonizing the socialist aspect of his platform. Bernie Sanders is a monster, at leastinsofar as the people on top are concerned. In “Monster Culture: Seven Theses” Jeffery Jerome Cohen describes how monsters reflect their culture’s fears and anxieties and also how those fears may actually be a kind of desire they often can’t face directly. No, Bernie Sanders is not a vampire or werewolf or other fictional creature, but he’s viewed as a monster nonetheless. What are the fears that Sanders awakens in many Americans today? The reasons that Bernie is seen as a monster are many, but primarily it is America’s historically rooted fear of socialism gone awry, even though he is certainly not a pure socialist. That’s the general public’s fear, but it goes further than that for the people in power. Bernie is not shy about his views toward the corruption that runs deep in our political and financial systems. His incredible grass-roots movement, free from corporate bribes (i.e. “contributions”) has the donor system on edge, and people on Wall Street are freaking out because he is the only candidate calling them out for their blatant fraudulent practices. Did I mention he wants to do away with all fossil fuels? Most people seem to have a one-track mind when it comes to politics, which is what we need to avoid in order to dig into these fears. In Unflattening, Nick Sousanis explains that in order to gain a fuller understanding of an idea, you need to look at it from multiple perspectives simultaneously. Throughout this paper we will use this approach to examine the fear that the Sanders campaign is putting in so many people across the country, and we will see that, aside from the Wall Street guys and Koch brothers, much of that fear is really part of a desire for a better nation for everyone, not just the people on top.

 

 

 

Bernie Sanders is a Political Monster – For Good

 

Outline of Introduction Paragraph

 

[Hook – Introduction to Topic and Monster] Twenty thousand people are packed into a stadium, cheering uncontrollably as their guy comes out. No, this isn’t a concert or a sporting event, it’s a revolution. Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont, is shocking our political world with his so-called radical proposals. As a self-described democratic socialist, he has risen to a level of popularity nobody imagined possible when he announced his presidential campaign last year; he now seriously challenges Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for the nomination. This has a great many people in the current power structure losing their minds. They point their fingers at him, demonizing the socialist aspect of his platform.

 

[Transition to monsters representing fears] Bernie Sanders is a monster, at leastinsofar as the people on top are concerned.

 

[Explanation of key idea from Cohen] In “Monster Culture: Seven Theses” Jeffery Jerome Cohen describes how monsters reflect their culture’s fears and anxieties and also how those fears may actually be a kind of desire they often can’t face directly.

 

[Transition with inquiry question] No, Bernie Sanders is not a vampire or werewolf or other fictional creature, but he’s viewed as a monster nonetheless. What are the fears that Sanders awakens in many Americans today?

 

[Thesis Part A – more obvious fears] The reasons that Bernie is seen as a monster are many, but primarily it is America’s historically rooted fear of socialism gone awry, even though he is certainly not a pure socialist.

 

[Thesis Part B – deeper fears] That’s the general public’s fear, but it goes further than that for the people in power. Bernie is not shy about his views toward the corruption that runs deep in our political and financial systems. His incredible grass-roots movement, free from corporate bribes (i.e. “contributions”) has the donor system on edge, and people on Wall Street are freaking out because he is the only candidate calling them out for their blatant fraudulent practices. Did I mention he wants to do away with all fossil fuels? Most people seem to have a one-track mind when it comes to politics, which is what we need to avoid in order to dig into these fears. In Unflattening, Nick Sousanis explains that in order to gain a fuller understanding of an idea, you need to look at it from multiple perspectives simultaneously. Throughout this paper we will use this approach to examine the fear that the Sanders campaign is putting in so many people across the country, and we will see that, aside from the Wall Street guys and Koch brothers, much of that fear is really part of a desire for a better nation for everyone, not just the people on top.

 

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