In this world, from a long time ago, monsters have appeared and presented around us in many telling story. In fact, monsters are considered as something which is abnormal, and usually accused of having the ability to threaten and destroy humanity. Perfectly, the film The Elephant Man emphasizes about John Merrick who has a disfigured appearance, and also is called a monster. Fortunately, Dr. Frederick Treves finds out about Merrick when he is wandering around the freak shows, and tries to examine and help Merrick come back to the real society. On the other hand, people have opportunities to observe and judge Merrick as a new phenomenon. In the connection to the same focus, Jeffery Cohen’s Monster Theory gives contentions about monsters and their influences to the real life and humanity in the relation to the film, especially the first thesis – Monster’s body is a cultural body, the sixth – Fear of the monster is really a kind of desire, and the seventh one – Monster stands at the threshold of becoming.
Firstly, the 1st thesis of Cohen’s monster theory states that “monster’s body is a cultural body” (4). Truly, John Merrick is an unlucky man who was born with a deformed body and was forced to live as a disgusting freak in the 19th century Victorian, England. Undeniably, Merrick is called a monster because of his unusual appearance that can fear almost everyone. Next, it is also expressed that “the monster's body quite literally incorporates fear, desire, anxiety, and fantasy, giving them life and uncanny independence” (Cohen 4). Through the film the elephant man, we can see a different man inside the deformed outside who has a warm heart and an intelligence of a normal human. Despite the ugly look, he is a very friendly and harmless man, and he just struggles with the chance to be sociable enough to be considered as a human, not animal. It may be that different culture can have different opinions about the monster portray, however, is it the society itself a real monster, not that poor man? Surely, those heartless people who takes Merrick as a subject to entertain, to observe, or to judge are the real freak. In the film, Mr. Bytes who claims himself as the owner of the elephant man use violence to force Merrick to do as whatever he wants such as turning around, dancing, or giving the call of the elephant! The unfair treatment of the others such as Mr. Bytes, Night Porter to Merrick is the main reasons which make him lost the abilities to live normally. After finding out about what Night Porter has done with Merrick, Dr. Treves angrily points out:
Night Porter: You are not listening to me! I ain’t done anything wrong. People pay to see your monster, Mr. Treves. I just take the money.
Treves: You’re the monster! You’re the freak! Get out! You’re finished!
Secondly, the 6th thesis of Cohen which summarizes that “fear of the monster is really a kind of desire” can help to explain the reaction why people at that time both feel scared and curious...