Project 3: Monster Culture Prompt

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This week we are starting our final project (Project 3) which is a research essay. The topic of this unit is monsters (real and imagined) and how they function in society. If working on this research papers on monsters (real or imaginary) is triggering or difficult to work with, please notify me as I have an alternate prompt that I can discuss with you.

Because much of our work in the first two units of this course was spent discussing race and culture, we will be analyzing monsters through the lens of race and culture and how monsters represent the other.

First, let’s go over the due dates of the essay before we consider the prompt.

  • Draft for Peer Review Due: Wednesday 8/5 by 11:59pm
  • Final Draft Due: Sunday, 8/9 by 11:59pm

Step 1: Review the Prompt.

Essay: Using a Text as a Lens (Synthesis)


  • Use all phases of the writing process to create a largely error free essay, understand and use an academic article to analyze an element of culture, research, synthesize, integrate, and contextualize multiple outside sources (through quotations, paraphrasing, and summary) with their own voice, analysis, or position, while avoiding plagiarism. Employ a variety of organizational patterns to support or advance central ideas (theses/claims).

Minimum Length

  • 6-10 pages

Prompt: Your goal is to argue whether or not Cohen’s theses are valid – that this argument is or is not an effective way of analyzing society’s understanding of race and culture through the monsters it engenders.

Your thesis can either use first person POV language, ie. I agree/I disagree with Cohen… or you can use third person POV language, ie. Cohen is successful/Cohen is unsuccessful…

Successful essays will do this by:

  • Including an introduction that draws in the reader, briefly introduces Cohen and the topic of your essay, and has a clear thesis that states your argument and signals a plan for the essay.
  • Creating a literature review that establishes and explains Cohen’s theories in a body paragraph. Summarize his main argument, claims, and evidence. Discuss his ideas as if you were explaining them to someone who was unfamiliar with the text. Your lit review will also include rhetorical analysis on intended audience, tone, and purpose. In your literature review, remember you must cover Thesis 1 and 4. Remember to add to the literature review the parts of Cohen you have written down on the “Breaking Down Cohen” Worksheet.
  • Finding at least three different monsters of your own to prove or disprove Cohen’s theses through the lens of culture and race. (You may also focus on three different interpretations of the same monster. Example: Zombies from Night of the Living Dead 1968, Zombieland 2009, and Warm Bodies 2013). You could use movie monsters, TV monsters, literary monsters, mythical or fairy tale monsters, and/or real, historical monsters. The choice is yours. This section of the paper will be where you include your outside sources to strengthen your analysis.
    • Consider any of the movies or texts we have watch or read so far for your monsters.
  • Including at least three outside sources to strengthen your argument. The three sources must be in addition to Cohen’s chapter – find a mix of peer reviewed and popular sources that support your analysis of the monsters and society. Don’t just rely on your interpretations and opinions – find others who agree with you! Your outside sources should be connected to your monsters in that they support your understanding of the monsters you have chosen.
    • Look for these outsides sources through Mesa’s Library
    • If you need help finding outside sources that fit these requirements, please contact me.
    • Feel free to also use any of the readings, podcasts, and TED Talks I have already assigned or posted for this paper as well.
  • Including vivid and specific details when describing the monsters you have chosen, and tie your examples to Cohen’s theses.
  • Synthesizing by combing information from different sources to inform and support a greater understanding of your argument.
  • Finishing with a conclusion that restates your thesis, reviews your body paragraphs, and a final though, prediction, piece of advice, something you learned or realized or the answer to a question you posed earlier.

Suggested Formats for Your Essay

By Monster Format
Paragraph 1: Introduction
Paragraph 2: Literature Review
Paragraph 3: Monster 1
Paragraph 4: Monster 2
Paragraph 5: Monster 3
Paragraph 6: Conclusion

  • You may have one or more paragraph per monster.
  • This format is a better choice if you are using different or more than one of the theses per monster.
  • This format is also a better choice if you are choosing three different types of the same monster.

By Theses (Cohen’s) Format
Paragraph 1: Introduction
Paragraph 2: Literature Review
Paragraph 3: Cohen’s Thesis
Paragraph 4: Cohen’s Thesis
Paragraph 6: Conclusion.

  • This format is a better choice if you have different monsters that prove the same thesis.

Words to Use in Your Synthesis Paper


  • affirms
  • argues
  • confirms
  • contends
  • denies
  • disagrees
  • believes
  • concedes
  • insists
  • rejects
  • responds
  • emphasizes


  • adds
  • reveals
  • states
  • mentions
  • finds
  • verifies


  • alleges
  • warns
  • advises
  • admits
  • complains
  • holds
  • predicts
  • proposes
  • acknowledges
  • speculates
  • suggests

Step Two: Read the Sample Essay.

Now, let’s look at an essay written by a student in a previous class of mine who scored a perfect score on a similar assignment. The focus of her essay was Godzilla in three Godzilla movies. (Heads up, for this essay she covers more of Cohen’s theses than we will be working with.)

Essay 4 Sample Student Essay.pdf

Step Three: Answer the following questions.

  1. Do you have any questions for me about the prompt?
  2. Do you have any anxiety or confusion over completing this writing task to the best of your ability?

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