When you think of werewolves, you probably think of them as being human flesh eating monsters or good looking men that turn half wolf during sundown, like Twilight. Werewolves have been said to originate from a story titled, “The Epic of Gilgamesh”. “[This was] the oldest known Western prose, when Gilgamesh jilted a potential lover because she had turned her previous mate into a wolf”. (history.com Staff). Werewolves are creatures created that have been considered “monsters” due to several such as reasons such as their abnormal physical characteristics that include yellow and red eyes with fangs, their superior abilities such as sensing humans by smell, and having the speed of a werewolf. The 2011 television series based on werewolves titled, “Teen Wolf” contributes to the knowledge of how werewolves are perceived and relate with Cohen’s seven theories of what and how monsters become. Teen Wolf is about a young teen named Scott Mccall who is bitten by a werewolf and leans to cope with how it affects his life and learns about the werewolf world. Scott is a normal teen who becomes a werewolf after sunset. He displays the characteristics of a normal young man, with the exception of sharp claws, red eyes, and super abnormal abilities which portray him as a monster.
Scott’s characteristics such as his sharp claws, red eyes, and fangs shows that he fits the origins of the werewolf and fits Cohen’s Monster Thesis 3, where “The Monster Is the Harbinger of Category Crisis”. The werewolf is a human being who transforms into a large and bloodthirsty wolf “(Ransom). This is because Scott’s werewolf characteristics competent when the articles mention that monsters are “disturbing hybrids”. (Cohen pg.6 ) Scott’s characteristics reveal that of a werewolf. He is half human and half wolf, which can be categorized and described as “disturbing hybrids”. This is showing us that it is very abnormal and scary, for Scott is a human and characteristics of a wolf, something that it not normalized in this society. He is described as a monster and fits the monster thesis for he does not fall into easy category that is known to us. Scott becomes a werewolf at night where he has red eyes and sharp teeth, both which do not fit into our world and are unnatural. He knows that he is abnormal and strange and refuses to tell his family members or friends in the beginning of the series. This portrays that Scott knows he is a disturbing hybrid that can be dangerous, which is why he refuses to explain to his family members. He is aware of the fact that they will consider him a monster. Scott is categorized as a monster due to his “disturbing hybrids” and resembles much of a werewolf.
However, unlike the origins of the werewolves, Scott is actually a protagonist werewolf in the show and also correlates to Monster Thesis II, where the Monster always changing. (Cohen pg.5). Werewolves have been known to kill whatever human they see and never portray any sense of “good” in them. They were even said to be “witches in disguise and needing to be destroyed. (Ginzburg). Scott, however, is a protagonist in the film. He helps and saves his best friends from the other evil werewolves and supernatural forces of the monster world. Although, the ancient history of werewolves tells us werewolves were “always considered male and were evil and immortal”. (McLeish). This portrays that the definition and information on the monster of the werewolf is always changing and returning back, which leads to the werewolf “always escaping”.(Cohen pg. 5) This is because in the past, werewolves were known as evil and most of the time triumph defeated, but here in the 21st century werewolves are people and a blend of good and bad. The Werewolf is in a blend of good and bad, which fit Cohens Monster thesis 2 where “its analysis is still bound in a double act of construction and re constitutions”. (Cohen pg. 6 ). Teen wolf is a prime example of how Werewolves fit Cohen’s Monster Thesis 2.
Teen Wolf representation of werewolves fits Thesis V of Cohens theory where “the monster stands as a warning against exploration of its uncertain demesnes”. (pg. 12). This is meaning that monsters warn us on acting upon actions or situations we are unfamiliar with. For example, in the show there is a scene where a young teen had caught sight of one of the werewolves in the show in action. Liam, the kid who caught sight of one of the monsters in action, tries to fight off one of the antagonistic shape shifter in the show. He gets attacked and almost killed by the shape shifter. Scott then recognizes that the shape shifter is one of the enemies and he immediately tries to save Liam. The only way to save him was to bite his hand and immediately after this, Liam turned into a werewolf. Liam is now part of the werewolf pack and he mentions in the beginning, he was afraid to come out to his mom as she would think of him as some kind of monster. He was crossing the boundaries of the monsters by trying to fight and challenge them and eventually, this lead him to become a monster. (Cohen pg. 13).
Another example on how Teen Wolf werewolves relate to Cohens Monster Theory V is when one of the high school kids tries to mess with the werewolf’s enemy, Berserker. There is a scene where a kid named Garrett had tried to mess with one of the Berserkers in the show and taunts them. After taunting the monster, it lashes out against the 16 year old boy and results in his crucial death. This can relate to the monster thesis because instead of a normal human being, he crossed the boundaries of the monsters in this film and was punished for it and gets killed by the monster. Cohen gives examples on stories of creatures that disobeyed other monsters such as Jurassic Park and Werewolves that ended up being penalized for crossing the boundaries of a monster. (pg. 13). In the same way, when Garrett tried to cross the boundaries of the supernatural monsters, he ended up getting killed. Monsters act as a gatekeeper of boundaries to not cross and Teen Wolf overall shows us how the werewolves in the film can relate to Cohen’s definition of a monster.
Whether Teen Wolf represents the exact replica of a werewolf, I believe it shows us a decently accurate representation of the way they have been presented in our society today and how it is perceived as a monster. Jeff Davis’s TV show “Teen Wolf” does a good job in showing us the representation of Cohen’s definition of a monster by looking at Scott’s characteristics, the origins of the actual werewolf, and how he has changed. This makes Scott fit the definition of how Cohen explains the monsters. Scott is displayed as abnormal and strange, something different from what society sees which make him appear as a monster, but he has become an admirable, attractive, and commendable monster. Werewolves have been around for hundreds of years and the portrayal of them have been shifting and changing constantly. The story and the way werewolves have been perceived alters in Teen Wolf, but it overall does a sufficient job in showing us the werewolf monster today.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture: Seven Theses.” From Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25.
This article is the one we have went over and discussed in class many times. It shows us how monsters have become known as “monsters” and why they are considered a monster. I will be using the source to help prove my thesis on why Teen Wolf does a decent job on showing the correlation of Cohen’s thesis perception of monsters and Werewolves.
Ginzburg, C. “Conjunctive Anomalies: A Reflection on Werewolves*”. (April 7 2017). DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7440/res60.2017.09
This source is discussing the actual origins of werewolves and how they have come about. It discusses the morphology and abilities of the werewolf. I have used this source to discuss the features of the werewolf and how it is in teen wolf and compare it to the thesis of what a monster is. The author is a very credible writer due to him being a noted Italian historian and proponent of the field of microhistory. He has been studying history for decades, including mythical creatures.
History.com Staff. “Werewolf Legends”. (2017), History.com https://www.history.com/topics/history-of-the-werewolf-legend
This article is explaining how the history of the werewolf came about. I will be using this source to help prove my point of why the werewolves in Teen Wolf and the origins fit the Cohen’s definition of a monster and how they relate. They are a website funded by the History Organization and acquire many history facts and journals through tons of prior researching. They are going to be used as my primary source.
McLeish, K. “Werewolves.” Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth, Bloomsbury, 1st edition, 1996. Credo Reference, https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/bloommyth/werewolves/0?institutionId =53 Accessed 18 Jul. 2018.
This vivid source is discussing the definition of what a werewolf is. It also goes into detail about where its origins came from. They were born to human mothers and were widely feared in Europe. I will be using this source to better distinguish and help in how my “Teen Wolf” character fits the definition of a werewolf monster and how it all comes to fit our monster theses. The author is credible due to studying and obtaining a
Ransom, Amy J. “Werewolf.” The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Ashgate Publishing, 1st edition, 2014. Credo Reference, https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/ashgtmonster/werewolf/0?institutionId= 5312. Accessed 18 Jul. 2018.
This article states the actual origins of a werewolf. It also compares it to other monsters such as Frankenstein and Dracula. I will be using this source to further help establish on the perception of werewolves as a monster and how it relates to one of the monster theses. This source is credible due to it being an Encyclopedia all about Cinematic Monsters. She is also a professor and has earned the “Science Fiction Research” award worldwide. She has been researching science fiction and monsters for years.
Werewolf. (N.D.) Teen Wolf Wikia. http://teenwolf.wikia.com/wiki/Werewolf
This brief forum/ article is a synopsis of what the werewolves in the show are actually like. I am doing my evaluation of the werewolves portrayed on teen wolf. I will be using this source to describe the characteristics, features that all correspond with one of the theories and the definition of it. The source is credible due to it being sponsored by the show and the creators of the show.