Intersection of monstrosity, ecological imperialism and hope in Bong Joon-ho’s "The Host" and Indra Sinha’s "Animal’s People"
Siti Nurhasyimah Othman
Date of Issue2017
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Recent discourse in popular literature and culture often illuminates the contemporary fascination with the monstrous to the extent that monstrosity is deemed as a “condition of the twenty-first century”. The idea of the monster often provokes fear, terror and disgust in the individual whilst at the same time evoking a sense of intrigue. Evidently, monstrosityThe monstrous manifests itself as a strange amphibious creature found in the Han River in Bong Joon-ho’s monster film The Host. This South Korean film projects the wreckage brought about by the monstrous creature, which is a product of ecological toxic waste. On the other end of the monstrous spectrum, physical monstrosity materialises itself in the abject and deformed body of Animal in Indra Sinha’s Animal People. The novel is narrated by Animal, whose twisted spine as a result of a disastrous gas leak led to him walking on all fours. These representations of the monstrous highlight that they are the creations of ecological imperialism, specifically environmental racism. This paper seeks to argue that monstrosity is utilised as a means to legitimise Western authority in an effort to sustain its postcolonial rule. Nonetheless, these different representations of the monster also serve as an emblem of strength and hope for the individual and the collective. Building on the concept of environmental racism and injustice, I will be adopting an ecological approach for this essay. This paper will also draw heavily on Julia Kristeva’s notion of the ‘abject’ and Jeffrey Cohen’s theses on monster culture. As such, this paper aims to shed light on the severity of ecological imperialist issues and the injustice which it purports, whilst highlighting the possibility of empowerment for the victims who are wronged.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University