"The Monster"

Essay by rakeshcalton November 2006

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"The Monster" portrays the African American struggle. This is the story of a black man Henry Johnson who sacrifices himself in a laboratory fire in order to save a little boy and in the process gets his face destroyed and becomes a social outcast. The central theme in the book examines black extinction and white philanthropy. Words of Judge Hagenthrope reflect hatred and fear towards Henry, "As near as I can understand, he will hereafter be a monster, a perfect monster, and probably with an affected brain. It is obvious that Judge Hagenthrope is not only afraid of Johnson's face but also draw comments on his intellectual abilities.

Dr. Trescott has the gratitude towards Henry for saving his son. He symbolizes white philanthropy when he takes Johnson under his care. On the night when Henry wanders around the town people see his face, and get terrified. The symbolism of white supremacy is reflected when Johnson is imprisoned.

And in subsequent suggestion to Dr. Trescott to, "bring a-er-mask, or some kind of a veil". Henry is perceived as a problem when four men, including Judge Hagenthrope, suggest Dr. Trescott, "we want you to get out of this trouble". The way people treated Johnson before the fire changed as his face changed. Miss Bella was engaged to marry Henry but after the episode she too got away from him

The story shows that even a closest human being change in the face of adversity. In "The Monster", Johnson seems to be a monster because of his look, however Stephan Cane is trying to suggest that the real monsters are those who didn't treat him as a human being