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102 Causal Analysis: Monster

Assignment: Causal Analysis of a Monster

A Causal Analysis essay gives you a precise way to ask tough questions about the world you live in. Everyday the news is full of issues that raise why and what if questions. Instead of focusing on the whole of an issue, focus down on why something happens or what the effect is of something happening.

For example: Instead of focusing on the death penalty which has a ton of information to sort through once you begin researching. The causal analysis assignment focuses the inquiry into causes and effects: Why was the death penalty reinstated in Texas in 1982? Or, what has the deterrent effect been since then?

The causal analysis gives you a line of inquiry to pursue, that is central to understanding the argument and arguing well. In this way, the assignment asks you to develop rhetorical skills, in particular logical thinking, the supporting of explanations with evidence, and the ability to explain the “story” of cause and effect to an audience.


  • 1200+ Words
  • One Primary Source for your monster
  • 4+ Scholarly/reliable sources
  • Must use one or more monster theses from Cohen’s Monster Culture
  • MLA Style

Grading Criteria

  • Clarity of Thought. Clearly defined the subject of analysis and the cause/effect that is explored.
  • Critical Thinking. Can write reasonably and logically, exploring the causal relationships.
  • Appropriate tone and organization for a causal analysis.
  • Sources and use of sources to support the analysis with evidence.
  • Appropriate title and proper use of visuals.


For this assignment, you will pick a monster to investigate more in-depth. Focus on the causes leading up to the monster, category of monster, or monster in a movie or the effects caused by the monster. Make sure to utilize one or more theses from Monster Culture to clearly define and explain your monster. Your purpose is not only to analyze a monster but to ask why that monster came about or developed. What were the causes leading to this monster produced by society and what were the affects of it?

Your research questions should ask howwhy, and what if, and your essay should answer “because . . .” and offer logical reasons and evidence to support it. Your goal is to gain a fuller understanding of the reasons behind the creation of a monster, or the effects the monster has created.

Possible approaches to this assignment:

  1. Find a monster from a movie to further investigate. Example: You want to understand the basis for the serial killer Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.
  2. You want to understand the causes leading up to the creation of a monster in literature or film. Example: What was happening that led people to create and believe in vampires?
  3. You notice a current trend in monsters. Example: You notice that zombies are quite popular in television and film. Explore the cultural, political, or economic forces responsible for the current popularity of zombies.

All these causal analysis approaches have the causal relationship as the focus. Try to understand the why behind a monster.

Parts of the Assignment

  • Rough Draft
  • Final Draft

Sample Causal Analysis

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