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CTZN 110 — Society and its Monsters

Professor Leeyanne Moore taught my citizen class. Each citizen class had a different focus, with the end goal to be improvement in public speaking and critical thinking. This class completed this goal by looking at the different ethical and social aspects that both realistic and fantastical monsters create in our world.

In addition to our two books for the course, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, we also read a few articles and short stories, and watched some monster movies. These readings and films aided us in talking about how monsters interact in society.

Throughout the course, we did three big presentation projects, as well as different assignments regarding our readings. Our presentations were all meant to be in a speech format.

My first presentation compared and contrasted Victor Frankenstein as he is portrayed in the book and in movies. I looked into the reasoning behind Frankenstein’s creation, as well as his feelings towards his creation.

For my second presentation, I researched how cannibals have changed throughout history. While the creature in Frankenstein was clearly a monster, cannibals are more “human,” in the sense of how they look. Through the analysis of different movies, I looked into the undulating history of why people are cannibals.

Our final project was the Longwood Research Showcase that took place November 21, 2019. Our citizen class put together monster panels, where we talked about the tensions human monsters create in society. We had five different monster topics with both sections of the class divided into them, and each topic had their own panel to speak on and answer questions about.

(Cannibals: Then and Now, Kyra Valovick, 11. 2020)

This cannibalism project was a little hard to swallow, as it was about gory cannibalism, but I think it was the turning point in the course. The first presentation I did was not my best work, and I had a hard time figuring out what my professor wanted. For this presentation, I knew what I was doing. I was able to organize the presentation the way my professor wanted it, and I was more confident in what I knew.

Overall, this course stretched my thinking and understanding of different aspects of society. It had its moments where I was really not sure about it, but in the end, I think it helped me learn to be a better critical thinker. I will be able to take this knowledge and experience with me throughout my future honors courses and out into the workforce.