Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Lynne McNeill


Lynne S. McNeill


Jeannie B. Thomas


Andrea Kitta


Current monster scholarship examines monstrous bodies, how they represent our cultural fears, anxieties, or forbidden desires, and how monsters can guard, break, or blur the boundaries between us and Other. While examining the monsters themselves can provide a better understanding of ourselves and our culture, it is just as important to consider the conditions in which these monsters were able to manifest in the first place. This paper argues that it is through our own actions, whether intentional or not, that we effectively “trigger” the monsters into our narratives. There are three categories of “triggers” that this paper will explore: we either create the monster, we conjure the monster, or we discover and awaken the monster. Monsters do not already exist in our spaces, we manifest them by triggering their arrival, and then in turn blame them for triggering our fears in return. What can we learn by acknowledging and analyzing our own part in these monster narratives? My aim is to expand monster scholarship by offering a more in-depth examination on how monstrosity is relative and reveal this cyclical relationship that monsters do not start outside of us but are generated by us. Using supernatural horror films as case studies, I will explore the relationships between us and the monsters we trigger into being and highlight these patterns to create a structural concept that can be applied and tested by future scholars.

Included in

Folklore Commons