Consider Cohen’s assertion that monsters can represent “cultural , political, racial, economic, [and/or] sexual” difference. In what ways have you seen this process occurring in your everyday life?
Thesis IV. The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference
- People who are different can be viewed as monsters.
- Differences tend to be political, cultural, racial economic, sexual, not fitting into the norm.
- People make up stories that will form the different people into monsters.
- The “monsters” are a threat.
- Used to justify treating them differently.
- Going against what was considered the norm of the culture was considered monstrous. This included sexual orientation, , race, economic status, and political preference.; this allowed actions against these “monsters”, or “not normal” individuals to be justified.
- “Representing an anterior culture as monstrous justifies its displacement or extermination by rendering the act heroic” (Cohen).
- “The monster is difference made flesh…” (7)
- “… for the most part, difference tends to be cultural, political, racial, economic, sexual” (7)
Writing an Evaluation: It is one thing to offer an opinion, yet it is an entirely different matter to back up a claim with reasons and evidence. Only when you do will readers take you seriously.
- You are evaluating one or more representations of a monster or category of monster.
Explain your mission: Just what do you intend to evaluate and for whom? Are you writing for experts, a general audience, or novices? How much explaining do you need to do so that you audience follows you without getting annoyed with too much information.
- If it is a well known monster you do not have to go into detail to explain it to us. If it is one we would not generally know, you have some work to do to introduce and explain it.
Establish and defend criteria: Criteria are the standards by which objects are measured.
Successful presidents leave office with the country in better shape than when they entered.
When readers are likely to share your criteria, you need to explain little about them. When readers disagree or object, be prepared to defend your principles.
- Remember: Monster Theory (Seven Theses) is a great starting point for establishing criteria.
Offer convincing evidence: Evidence makes the connection between an opinion and the criteria for evaluation that supports it. Supply data to show that a product you judged faulty didn’t meet those minimal standards.
- The monster evidence should come from your primary sources of the monster. The movie, book, short story, video, etc.
Offer worthwhile advice: Some evaluations are just for fun. Done right, most evaluations and reviews provide usable information, beneficial criticism or even ranked choices.
- Make sure to answer the so what question? Why does this matter? What can we learn about society or ourselves by understanding the monster?
Purpose of Evaluations
Let’s look at an example evaluation for a movie.
Lisa Schwarzbaum is reviewing “The Hunger Games” movie.
- Does she acknowledge what her mission is and who her audience is?
- What criteria does she establish for it to succeed?
- Does she anticipate her audience’s questions and reactions?
- Does she address any differences between the book and movie?
- What is her grade or judgment of the movie?