In Michael Chemers’ brief account of the “act of fear” (assigned for class on 3/10), he mentions the scientific view that fear is “a neurobiological response to certain stimuli” and then goes on to note that “not only what we fear but also how we conceive and define what we fear” varies from time to time, place to place, and person to person. For part one of your blogpost, I’d like you to quote something interesting that Chemers says about “the act of fear” as it pertains to literature; more to the point, you should apply this quotation to one of the monstrous characters and stories from ancient
Greece and medieval Europe assigned for class this week. Elaborating on your thoughts, you might consider: How does Chemers’ idea about fear connect up to the story in question? And in this story, which character is afraid, what are they afraid of, and how does it impact their behavior? Furthermore, what does this representation of fear suggest about the writer or society that spawned this particular story?
As we have mentioned in class, Unit Two will simultaneously move us forward into the realm of imaginary monsters, but also backward in that we will make frequent connections between our make-believe creatures and the various historical ideas and “real life” monsters we examined in Unit One. So, for some early practice using this kind of comparative thinking, in the second section of your blogpost I want you to connect an imaginary monster assigned for this week with a specific “real life” figure or idea from our studies of these periods during Unit One. In other words, what are some of the links you can identify between the creative and historical monsters of the ancient and medieval worlds, and what larger ideas or issues can we discover through these connections?