Horror moviesand scary story books are one of the things that send cold shivers toany individual when mentioned. One still does not understand whypeople love such movies with passion and would stay awake all nightwatching them in their rooms, all alone. We all agree that there isnothing much scarier than a piece of literature that is based on aterrifying monster. Take a scenario when one is left all alone athome after everyone else have gone on a trip. The wind is whistlingwith darkness and silent house. With a large screen and the deadsilence in the room, one only imagines of evil surrounding the wholevicinity. A myriad of imaginations keeps on running through one’smind with the specific accompanying words. Frankenstein is one of thefamous pieces of literature that effectively brings out the use ofmonsters as a stylistic device meant to deliver some message to thetarget audience (Frankenstein’s monster). Do monsters exist in ourcurrent society?
The use of monsters in literature is not a new phenomenon. It isbecoming common in the modern society, and to some extent hasaffected the pop culture. Frankenstein is the oldest piece ofliterature that used a monster to bring out a message by the author.
The creature inFrankenstein’s monster is a representation of a human being that isborn in a mysterious way but is ready to benefit from the society inwhich it is born. The least expected happens when the creator of theonce good creature begins a mission of turning it into evil. Theresult is a rejection from the society. The monster believes that itwas born ‘good,` and that sin was an outside phenomenon. Shelleyhas a message in mind that she wants to put across and resolves touse monsters[ CITATION Tib11 l 1033 ]. The way in which the monsteris created in the society and later rejected and discriminated is areflection of the contemporary society. Individuals are judged ontheir skin, race, and even weight. What the creature expects is onlylove, but is instead rejected everywhere it goes. This is the kind ofthe society in which we find ourselves.
Let’s takeanother turn and view the relationship of the monster withFrankenstein. There is the concept of the societal misogyny seenbetween Viktor, the monster, and his father (Frankenstein, thecreator). It is a kind of relationship that comes into being withoutthe existence of a sexual process. It is a representation of the lessfortunate in the society who may be adopted. They receive littleattention from the society and may end up harming others as a way ofrevenge. Viktor murders Elizabeth on the night of her wedding.Shelley has used a monster to describe what is happening in the realsociety. We are all born with a human heart it is a sin that weacquire that changes us. One of the aims of literature is to educateand ridicule individuals in the society. In this case, parents areobliged to look after their children, either born or adopted.
In the StrangeCase of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the author creates an alternativecharacter of an individual as a way of bringing out the unspokencharacter of the real character. In the modern society, monsters arebeing used as a tool to educate and inform on the things that areunspoken of or the things that people to speak out. They take viewersto unexplored boundaries and exposes them to the reality of the otherside of life. The use of a portion by Dr. Jekyll is an indication ofthe individuals in the society who use hidden powers to remainrelevant (Guske, 2009).
In the novella,there is the doubling effect that results in the ambiguous identityof the main character. There is an issue that is raised regardingmorality. There is a resultant conflict in the society that isassociated with the moral conflict of one individual. The presence ofmonsters in the society is an enough cause for individuals to panic.Monsters in this novella can be viewed to represent the human natureassociated with civilization. People tend to become stubborn andresistant to change. They become fixed with their ideas and areas ofinterest.
Fears of thedouble nature of humans and the plan for evil are all generated fromwithin an individual. The inbuilt human nature is concerned with thecorruption of the morals that govern the society. Once the bestialityand the voices that lie deep inside get out of control, a threat getsposed to the society. All forms of fear are associated with immoralbehaviors in the society (Victoria & Randall, 2012).
The picture ofDorian Grey depicts Dorian, a young man who is gifted with so muchbeauty and lives a happy but rather careless life. His joy is howeverlimited when Lord Henry instills in him the fear of death. Thistroubles him so much when he Basil the artist brings out a portraitthat is so much prettier. With the thought of aging that had beeninstilled in him by Lord Henry, he casually exclaims that he wouldprefer to sell his soul so that the painting would rather age in hisplace. Dorian, therefore, becomes Soulless due to the deal with thedevil.
The monster inthe Picture of Dorian Grey is used to depict that love can beunrequited. This is evident from the fact that since the portrait isaging in place of Dorian. Dorian has the time to have fun with womenand later abandon them. Women are innocently depicted as falling inlove with Dorian who ends up leaving them ruined. Dorian sometimeselopes with them but later ends up abandoning them. Considering thelaws of that time, these acts were more than a social death sentenceto the women who he abandoned[ CITATION Tib11 l 1033 ].
Monster has beenused to depict the evil that lives within the hearts and souls ofaristocrats. Lord Henry was the main conduit through which Dorian gotcorrupted. Henry has that philosophy that led to the corrupting of ayoung and free mind that was Dorian. Through the condition of LordHenry, his enormously acquired wealth, and his community status,Dorian was deeply immersed into all the vices of the world which ledhim to have freedom do whatever he wanted.
The paintingitself was an Artifact of Doom. The basis of the transformation ofDorian’s heart was the sight of the portrait. Through the monsterlook of the aging portrait, it shows that outward beauty can beequated to a person’s goodness. People, especially the gulliblewomen, believed that Dorian was innocent due to the facial beautywithout believing the horrible things that he was fond of doing. Asdepicted in the portrait, Dorian would have looked uglier due to agewere it not for the picture.
According toGeorge Haggerty, in the past the monsters were used to reflect commonfears that were in the society. They were meant to criticize theculture of that time and carried less educative messages. It wasbelieved that the monsters were responsible for the ill health ofindividuals, for instance, mental illnesses.
There is a greatrelationship between the monsters and the pop culture in the presentday. A majority of the individuals today have their minds fixed inhorror movies. Apparently, the movies are cheap to produce, and thishas acted as an incentive to some of the famous movie stars joiningthis industry. There is some form of contamination to the moralityof the society. For instance, the British society views individualswho have come in contact with Dracula as monstrous[ CITATION Vic12 l 1033 ].
When people hearof monsters, they become terrified. What exactly is this that isreferred to a monster? Does it still exist in our current society? Amonster can be viewed as a creature that behaves in a unique manner,a powerful creature that cannot be controlled and usually does greatthings. Additionally, a monster can be defined as a threatening forceor one that has highly succeeded in society, one that doesextraordinary things. To understand more about monsters, it is veryvital to look into the Gothic heroines.
In the Gothicnovel, there is a clear picture of monastery behavior and itseffects. In this novel, Jane Austen gives an example of one lady whoshe considered to be mysterious. In the story, Austen mentions ayoung girl by the name Catherine Morland. The mystery behindCatherine is that no one knows when she was born. No one sawCatherine growing through her infancy. This assumption made peopleperceive that she was born a heroine.
Besides, Austenwrites that the girl, whose heroic acts are modest, is sent to theunderworld by his parents. The mission is that Catherine is supposedto transact with Satan and many other monumental dangers. In theunderworld, Catherine is faced with terrors which later overwhelm herknocking her down to the ground weeping. She is later saved by malecharacters. In this story, it is seen how the monastery behaviorearns Catherine trouble[ CITATION Gus09 l 1033 ]. The reason as towhy Catherine does this act is because she wants to be identified asa heroine.
Furthermore, thewriter explains that the young girl was curious and disobedient. Shewas not ready to be given any form of assistance from a male figure.She wanted to be recognized as a superior being. She wanted to doextraordinary things such as having a mission with Satan in theunderworld. The Gothic heroine in this narrative believes in herselfshe believes she can overdo everyone. It is this ignorance that makesher undergo all this suffering.
In anotherscenario, Catherine wants to encounter all the horrors in a certainbuilding. In this scene, Catherine starts exploring one big room thatis dimly lit. In the process, she comes across a high chest which isstanding back besides a fireplace. The sight on the chest makes herforget everything else, standing still gazing at the stationarywonder. She starts imagining what the chest may contain. She tries tolook closely into the image by raising a lid covering it. Abruptlyshe hears a sudden knock at the door she leaves the lid fallingmaking an alarming sound. Austen describes that this is one of theinstances the horror and suspense are felt in the novel. The narratorconcludes by saying that instead of Catherine finding a skeleton of ahuman being, she only finds a white counterpane that is neatlyfolded. This finding once more leaves Catherine disappointed over herheroic act (Tibbetts, 2011).
From this scenewe realize that Catherine acts like a monster. She wants to performextraordinary tasks like interacting with Satan in the underworld.Moreover, we realize that Catherine is a curious young girl as thewriter puts it. She is not ready to be defeated. She competes withmale figures and wants to surpass them. Is this monster taleapplicable today? Yes, it is. Nowadays we have heroines who want tobe recognized for their undertakings.
In the currentsociety, female figures have become dominant. They are curious anddisobedient as the case of Catherine. They do not respect the malefigures as in the case of the Gothic era. They have deviated from thenorms of their cultures. Men have taken their roles andresponsibilities. Most of the female have become immoral. Some ofthem have indulged themselves in prostitutions. Traditionally, womenwere supposed to remain faithful to their husbands so that they caninherit the wealth. Nowadays, things have turned upside down in thename of heroism. Women want to lead as the heads they are not readyto be submissive to their men.
It is evidentfrom the Gothic novel that still there exist Gothic heroines up todate. Nowadays women are employed as security officers. This was aresponsibility that was set aside for men. It is very clear that thisbehavior is not coming to an end any soon because women are becomingan enlightened day in day bout. Women are struggling for top seats inthe governments a sign of superiority. They are seeking forsupremacy. The fact is that the monsters do not exist today, but thecurrent society can be related to the Gothic world of monsters[ CITATION Tib11 l 1033 ].
The Gothic novelis becoming popular with time. Different people hold varying viewsregarding the increase in popularity of horror movies. There is arise in the social views and problems in the modern society. Thesociety is full of uncertainties that can be associated with thedecline of religious certitude. Monsters are used to explore theareas where normal humans cannot access. By crossing dangerousborders and bringing into light some hidden information, individualseasily confirm their fears and readily make changes where necessary.
In conclusion,it is clear that most pieces of literature are now incorporatingmonsters in their works. Literature is viewed as the mirror of thesociety and is a reflection of everything that is taking place behindthe scenes. There is the potential in the monsters that enable themto trespass into unknown boundaries as a way of revealing the hiddento the humans. Frankenstein is one of the famous piece of literaturethat effectively brings out the use of monsters as a stylistic devicemeant to deliver some message to the target audience. In the currentsociety, female figures have become dominant, curious anddisobedient. Roles have changed, and women are participating in areaswhich were once dominated by men. Literature can also be used todepict the roles of different individuals in the society. There is nospecific role for any given group. Anyone can attempt anything.
Guske, A. (2009). Setting out to explore the place of evil in the mind.” Erklärungsmuster des Bösen in der englischen Gothic novel. Berlin: Diss. U.
Tibbetts, J. (2011). The Gothic Imagination: Conversations on Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction in the Media. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Victoria, M., & Randall, B. (2012). “Fien-de-siècle Gothic.” The Victorian Gothic. An Edinburgh Companion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.