The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

In the Twilight Zone episode we viewed in class, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, the neighbors living on Maple Street turned against each other, pointing fingers and accusing one another of being aliens. I believe that Carroll had intended for us to identify with the the bystander neighbors (those who were not accused). I believe that the Other in the storyline is between Charlie and the boy. Charlie is the one wearing the brightest colored shirt and has the loudest personality. He stands out as being argumentative and stubborn and ends up killing the man in the end. The boy appears normal but gives off the impression that he knows exactly why all of the weird things are going on and is the one who brings up the possibility of aliens. Also, most of the neighbors are fearful of the boy because of the strange things he says while they are not afraid of Charlie because he doesn’t come off that abnormal; this complicates the Other formula. I think it is important to keep us guessing who the Other is because that’s what makes the plot interesting. Nothing really happens with the aliens, but something major does happen at the end when Charlie shoots the man. I think that most people saw the boy as the other up until that point. I feel like Charlie was more monstrous than the others because he was so quick to kill. He was so caught up in the situation that he shot a man without even thinking to see who he was first.

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“We make up horrors to help us cope with real ones.”

The famous horror author, Stephen King, once wrote “We make up horrors to help us cope with real ones.” I believe that King is definitely right and that this quote means that horror fiction is meant to distract us from horrific realities that we do not want to face. We hear about real-life horror stories everyday on the news; rapes, robberies, murders- all of which are depicted in movies and novels. We read, watch, and enjoy these thrilling stories, but often fail to make the connection and to recognize the similarities between the fiction and the reality. Although there are always terrible things going on around us, we often choose to repress the thought that these things could happen to us. As the audience, we live vicariously through the victims of these horrific happenings, and in some cases, maybe even the criminal. It is almost sick that we enjoy tales of people dying because we know that it would definitely not be entertaining at all if we were actually put in any of the situations. King’s quote is enlightening in a way because I have never thought of horror in that way. I used to interpret horror and science fiction as just spooky tales- horror involving more ghosts and murders; science fiction involving more aliens and alternate universes. I now think of horror and science fiction as more of a way for people to experience something that they never want to actually experience. We’re all curious, but never actually wanting to be involved in any of the situations depicted in these stories.

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