Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Bridget Hayden

Committee Chair School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 2

Dr. Dana Fennell

Committee Member 2 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 3

Dr. B. Katherine Smith

Committee Member 3 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Abstract

WEREWOLVES: A THREE-DIMENSIONAL CONTENT ANALYSIS OF FILMS FROM 1980 – 2014 revolves around how monsters function in stories. Monsters represent fears and teach social norms. They are often portrayed as “other”, but more recently the werewolf has appeared in media as more sympathetic (Brannon 2016, 21; Gilmore 2008, 362; Hughes 2009, 97). Limited research has systematically studied how werewolves are represented in the media. This content analysis focuses on how major werewolf characters are represented in 20 films.

The analysis showcases werewolf characters in today’s culture and what it means to be a monster by analyzing hybridity. This study presents a three-dimensional analysis of werewolves to conceptualize the core ways monsters exhibit human and monstrous traits. It will allow us to better understand the werewolf’s relationship to humanity. The dimensions: physical states, location and social integration, and relationships and emotional competency can be utilized in future studies to examine more closely how monsters, even those not so hybrid, may have hybrid traits.

Through hybridity, werewolves are malleable, serving different functions in films. Some werewolves in this study fit stereotypes of dangerous beings by wreaking havoc on humanity. Yet this study confirms the changing representation of the werewolf. Many werewolves analyzed for this study lived amongst humans, exhibited hybrid physicality, part human and never fully wolf, retained human cognition, and formed consensual non-violent romantic relationships with humans. Therefore, the findings suggest werewolves serve some of the same mythical functions as they did centuries ago but have taken on new functions as well.

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