English 11

What is a monster?

Directions: Read each of the following scenarios. With members of your group, determine what societal fear(s) each monster represents and to what extent this fear(s) is (are) real or imagined. After examining these scenarios, rank the monsters according to the threat each poses to society. Which monster is the most dangerous (1), and which is the least dangerous (10)? Then rank the fears themselves. Which societal fears are the most widespread, and which societal fears are the least widespread? Be ready to justify your group’s rankings. You should conclude your investigation with a list of criteria for defining a monster.


  1. Freddy Charles Krueger, the child of 100 mentally unstable men, uses the dream world to wreak revenge upon his favorite prey—children, particularly the children whose parents burned and killed him in a lynch mob. The dream demons awarded Krueger his power of the dreamscape-- only when one sleeps and believes in Freddy’s control will he become Freddy’s victim. Krueger possesses an evil sadistic nature, often using a glove of sharp knives to kill his victims. Freddy wears a tattered red and green sweater and hat; and is badly disfigured, a result of the lynching.Youtube clip - 1 min.
  2. Dr. Hannibal Lector is a brilliant psychiatrist who loves Italian art and the opera. A powerful and clever mind manipulator, Dr. Lector uses this skill to gain his victim’s trust before he murders him. This psychopathic serial killer then eats his victim’s organs, a favorite dish being “liver with fava beans.” Although Dr. Lector has been in prison, he has escaped the FBI twice. Lector’s appearance is not extraordinary—he is a white male about 50 years old.Youtube clip-1 min.
  3. Seth Brundle, a brilliant young scientist, invents “Telepods,” teleportation devices which against the expectation of the scientific community prove successful. When testing this device, a fly accidentally enters one of these transmission booths while he is in another. The Telepods splice their DNA. Brundle finds he is a changed man—he is stronger, angrier, and begins to evolve into a horrific man/insect creature—“The BrundleFly. Youtube trailer -1:45
  4. Dr. David Banner, while working on a military project to create a super-soldier, purposefully modifies his own DNA. Although the mutation is dormant, he passes this gene to his son, Bruce. While researching healing technology, Bruce, who is also a scientist, is exposed to radiation. This radiation combines with his DNA to unleash the Hulk. When angered, Bruce Banner transforms into a massive green Behemoth with incredible strength, resistance to damage, and the mind of a child. Youtube trailer- 1 min.
  5. A peaceful island resort community of Amity is being terrorized by JAWS, a great white shark, who prefers human flesh (swimmers, sailors, and skiers) to fish guts and seal blubber. This particular beast appears to selectively choose his prey, targeting individuals who want to eliminate it or their family members. JAWS possesses sharp pointy teeth, speed, instinct, and a haunting jingle to signal his attack. 3 min. youtube trailer
  6. In 2029, a computer called Skynet fights a losing war against the humans who built it and who it nearly exterminated. Skynet sends one of its warriors, a Terminator, to kill Sarah, the mother of John Conner, the human resistance’s leader. Although the nearly indestructible Terminator appears human, this cyborg uses his exceptional intelligence and strength to complete its mission of murder. 2 min. youtube trailer
  7. In 1993, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence Project receives a transmission detailing an alien DNA structure, along with the instructions to splice it with human DNA. The result is Sil (the Species), a sensual but deadly creature who changes from a woman to an armor plate killing machine instantaneously. Sil’s goal is to find a mate and breed.Youtube trailer -2 min.
  8. In a galaxy far, far away, Darth Vader attempts to create “the Empire,” a government which desires to control this galaxy. Vader is responsible for such devices as the “Death Star,” a machine capable of destroying planets whose inhabitants rebel against his leadership. Although once a Jedi fighter trained in the arts of the force, Darth Vader uses the force to control others and to maintain his reign of terror. Darth Vader wears a cape and a helmet, both of black, and is over six feet tall. He lives with the help of machines to stay alive, and consequently suffers physical abnormalities, such as heavy breathing. Whenever Vader is present, the “Imperial March” is played. Youtube trailer -2 min
  9. Ostracized by Anglo-Saxon society, Grendel mercilessly wreaks havoc on the ancient Danes by destroying meadhalls and gobbling up humans with his superior strength. Grotesque in appearance, Grendel remains resentful towards the humans for his alienation. Adopting a nihilistic mindset (the denial of truth that leads to total and absolute destruction), Grendel often takes pleasure in the dismemberment of those who stand in his way of his rebellion against laws and institutions.
  10. Possessed with formidable strength and undeniable courage, Beowulf is considered a hero of the Danes and the Geats. Yet motivated not by the betterment of his society but rather the pursuit of glory, Beowulf goes on to kill various “monsters.” In fact, Beowulf even severed the head of one of his victims (Grendel), displaying his glorious triumph for all to see. After eventually becoming king, Beowulf dies while killing a dragon hoarding a large treasure. His last moments are spent staring at the enormous treasure he had just won. Youtube trailer- 2 min.