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In "Monster Culture (Seven Thesis)," Jeffery Cohen claims "Monsters are our children...They ask us why we have created them" (28). Cohen also claims monsters are born at a crossroad in societal values, they evade categorization, they represent our fears and anxieties, they cannot be defined or controlled, and they escape any attempts to eradicate them (12-13). Although Cohen focuses on fictional monsters such as vampires and werewolves, his argument applies equally well to school shooters. This essay takes a historical view of school shootings, tracing the beginnings of this phenomenon to more recent events, demonstrating that as media coverage of the violence increased the monster grew worse over time. In the 1990's, the number of school shootings increased rapidly along with the advent of twenty four hour cable news, which as Cohen said, fed the monsters. From Columbine High to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook Elementary, the monsters’ savagery increased despite society’s efforts to control and eradicate them. Media outlets profited from advertising as their audiences tuned in for countless hours seeking answers as to why the monsters killed, how they were able to kill, and how they could be stopped. As the monster morphed, the ability to profit off of the monster also morphed. Hollywood grossed billions from The Hunger Games, a tale of children killing children, in which the last child standing, the child who killed all the other children, is glorified. Did we create our monster children to feed off of society’s fear and fascination of them?


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Robinson Ballroom A

  • Event date
    • 1 April 2015

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Diana Edelman-Young