Duality In Monster Culture

Good Essays
From the emergence of literature and arts to contemporary times, monsters have served a dual purpose of both inciting fear and awe. This duality is reflected through the vastly different reactions of humans to the presence of monsters. For the young, depictions of horrific creatures often haunt their dreams, creating feelings of anxiety and terror in times of loneliness. Adults, conversely, frequently dismiss the notion of exotic beings, but rather imagine the dejected and deplorable of society as true “monsters”. The latter distinction is critical; Jeffery Cohen in his work “Monster Culture (Seven Theses), presents an intriguing claim that monsters represent their cultural body, specifically the context in which they were conceived or have…show more content…
In the film, scientists inadvertently create a zombie plague while searching for a cure for cancer. Ultimately, the vast majority of the world’s population are killed, while a small percentage are transformed into zombies and an even smaller percentage remains immune to the disease. This theme continues to be extremely popular in the United States, with similar films such as World War Z (2013) using the same devices. The monsters of I am Legend symbolize a greater, overarching concern with society’s overwhelming trust and reliance on medicine. In his Seven Theses, Cohen writes, “the monster is born only at this metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment- of a time, a feeling, and a place”. I am Legend corroborates Cohen’s assertion; the zombies of the film are created as a result of our obsession with science, and ultimately our fear of deadly diseases, such as cancer. When then science goes wrong, panic is inevitable. In the film, Will Smith’s character becomes quarantined on Manhattan island following military strikes on all bridges and tunnels that connect the island to the mainland, leaving those still present to die. People fill the streets, running for their lives away from an invisible killer. Through these images, the movie captures the essence of our culture’s fear of disease and consequently, our fundamental fear of dying at the hands of…show more content…
While these obsessions seem superficial, they ultimately reflect a deep discomfort not only with ourselves, but also with those around us. Modern medicine has progressed exponentially through the years, and our trust in this science is almost blind. Is it possible for researchers to create a disease that transforms us into mindless beings? How would I personally survive such a nightmarish scenario? These questions are nearly universal, shown by the sheer number of zombie inspired arts. What makes I am Legend so wildly successful is that it’s antagonists, the flesh obsessed darkseekers, embody multiple cultural elements that we find
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