Essay #1 Defining the Monster

Essay #1 Prompt

Essay #1: Defining the Monster



Authors use monsters in stories to start conversations about cultural relationships. In other words, stories with monsters are never really just about Monsters; they’re about us and our relationship with Others, Otherness, etc. Night of the Living Dead, Twilight, When Darkness Falls, and Walking Dead are all creative responses using monsters to carry a message, a lesson, a warning, an awareness etc about how we treat others, how others treat us, etc.

Essay Options:

Option 1: Using the term “Monsters”, please write a 2-3 page essay that defines what is a “Monster”. For this essay, adopt a clear definition and use examples from our texts to support your definition. You may use outside research, and you should keep in mind that you much have clear symbols that identify a Monster for you, and include a rebuttal to address other definitions.

Option 2:

Imagine you are an artist (a painter, filmmaker, photographer, digital design artist, video game designer, architect, cartoonist, dancer, etc) and you’ve chosen Monsters to carry a socio-historical message about Otherness (race, class, gender, sexuality, etc). Think from the author/artist’s lens and submit a 2-3 page essay that “pitches” for an art project using Monsters to carry a message about Otherness. After you describe your art project, you must DEFEND your creative choices to the reader, providing details about the project and explaining why, what, and how those choices effectively carry the message. Please include textual references to support your ideas.

Option 3:

Compare and contrast King’s “Why We Crave Horror Movies” with Klosterman’s “My Zombie, Myself…” in 2-3 page essay where you analyze whether they have the same argument or a different argument about horror in people’s lives. For this essay, you should focus on analyzing the texts and not use outside research.

Option 4:

Why do you think America has shifted from loving to fear vampires to loving to fear zombies? Analyze the difference between the zombie as a monster and the vampire as a monster in a 2-3 page essay. For this essay, adopt a clear definition of a monster and use examples from our texts to support how society uses Zombies and Vampires different. You should focus on the texts from class, and you should keep in mind that you much have clear symbols that identify a Monster for you, and include a rebuttal to address other definitions.

Essay Requirements:

  1. An introduction that provides context on the topic, eases the reader into your essay, and has a “hook” that grabs people’s attention
  2. A thesis statement or controlling idea that takes a stand
  3. Transitional topic sentences that are clear, provocative, and develop your thesis and provide unity in your essay
  4. Body paragraphs that help prove your argument
  5. Plenty of support from the texts: Remember you must have a minimum of pieces of evidence from the topic you choose


  1. For each quote, please use the direct model discussed in-class
  2. Some analysis of all your supporting examples
  3. A conclusion that offers some ideas about what can be done about the situation
  4. Strong sentences that are both grammatically correct and sophisticated
  5. Use proper MLA formatting, in-text citations, and Works Cited entries. NOT having proper MLA citations will result in a 0/100 on the assignment.

Paper Format:

  1. 500-750 words. Anything over will be sent back for editing.
  2. All drafts must be typed and double-spaced with Size 12 Times New Roman Font.
  3. Have Name, Class, Date, Assignment, and Topic in upper

left hand corner.

  1. A title that is not GENERIC


A Successful Essay Will Have


* A title specific to the topic

* An attention getter

* Background on the topic (please make it clear which prompt you are answering)

* End with your thesis

* A clearly stated thesis (your opinion – your 1-2 sentence response to the essay prompt) which speaks to the “so what” of

the issue and is not merely a list plan of development.


* Topic sentence that is related to the thesis

* Supporting evidence

* Quotes from the text (Remember to cite the quotes)

* Consideration of and rebuttal against the other side of the topic


* DO NOT bring up a new topic

* A suggestion of the consequences of your position for society, readers, individuals, what you want to happen in the

future, or how the author might feel about your position, etc.

Works Cited Page

* That cites all sources using current MLA guidelines.


Independent Page with a Title

Author (if given). Page Title. Publisher/Sponsor. (If none, use n.p.)

Publication Date. (If no date, use n.d.)Medium. Date of Access.


Ebert, Roger. “An Inconvenient Truth.” Rev of An Inconvenient Truth, dir.

Davis Guggenheim. Sun-Times News Group, 2 June 2006.Web. 24 May 2009 Rafoth. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. 24-34.

Evaluation Criteria for Your Essay & Checklist:

I will use the following criteria to evaluate your position paper:

  1. Did the writer engaged the readers’ interest at the beginning and throughout the paper?
  2. Did the writer chose an arguable position and defined it carefully (e.g. placing the issue in its historical or cultural context, citing specific

instances to make the issue seem less abstract, or establishing or redefining the terms of the debate)?

  1. Did the writer organized the paper into an introduction, body (containing several paragraphs), and conclusion?
  2. Did the writer include at the end of the introduction a thesis statement that asserts a clear, unequivocal position on the issue you have chosen and, possibly, forecasts the stages of the argument, identifying the main reason or reasons that you will develop and support in the essay?
  3. Have you given reasons why readers should take your position seriously?
  4. Have you organized your reasons into a logical order (e.g. placing the strongest reason last and the second-strongest reason first, with the other reasons in the middle)?
  5. Have you supported each reason with examples, facts, analogies, statistics, anecdotes, or quotes from authorities? .
  6. Have you anticipated readers’ questions and their positions on an issue, counterarguing as needed?
  7. Have you signaled explicitly the move from one topic to the next using forecasting statements, transitions, topic sentences, rhetorical

questions, and/or summaries?

  1. Have you cited at least four quotes in your essay, using MLA in-text (parenthetical) citation strategies correctly?
  2. Have you integrated the sources into your essay, using signal phrases to introduce long quotations or incorporating shorter quotations

into the sentences smoothly?

  1. Have you included an MLA Works Cited at the end of your essay?
  2. Are the sentences clear and correct?
  3. Is the essay between 500-750 words.