Think back on the process of writing the monster evaluation and write a short note about what you learned from the process. What do you identify as the strengths and weaknesses of your paper? What do you like about the essay, and where did you struggle?

Take 5 minutes and comment below.

Quick Write

Imagine that you live in the time of Star Trek. No one has to worry about making money in order for food or shelter. Everything you could ever want is now taken care of. What would you do now? What would you want to be? What would you decide to do with your time?

Causal Analysis Intro

A Causal Analysis essay gives you a precise way to ask tough questions about the world you live in. Everyday the news is full of issues that raise why and what if questions. Instead of focusing on the whole of an issue, focus down on why something happens or what the effect is of something happening.

Causality: the relationship of cause and effect

Causal Analysis systematically examines the causes and/or the effects of an event, situation, belief, or action.

  • Cause asks: Why did it happen? Why does it happen? Why will it happen?
  • Effect asks: What did it produce? What does it produce? What will it produce? By carefully analyzing …

For example: Instead of focusing on the death penalty which has a ton of information to sort through once you begin researching. The causal analysis assignment focuses the inquiry into causes and effects: Why was the death penalty reinstated in Texas in 1982? Or, what has the deterrent effect been since then?

The causal analysis gives you a line of inquiry to pursue, that is central to understanding the argument and arguing well. In this way, the assignment asks you to develop rhetorical skills, in particular logical thinking, the supporting of explanations with evidence, and the ability to explain the “story” of cause and effect to an audience.

For this assignment, you will pick a monster to investigate more in-depth.

What are Real Monsters?

Serial Killers receive huge amounts of media attention and inspire countless novels, films, and television shows; including some that we have already discussed.

Why is society so fascinated with serial killers?

Here is the infamous shower scene from Psycho (1960)

While this scene is iconic, the movie is based on a real person: Ed Gein.



Quick Write

Why did Ed Gein commit those murders?

Charting Cause and Effect

Let us chart the causes and effects of a monster.


  • Don’t jump to conclusions
  • Appreciate your limits. We don’t know why so we have to follow the evidence from effect to cause.
  • Offer sufficient evidence for claims

Causal Relationships

As a class, we are going to clearly define the types of causal relationships:

  1. necessary
  2. sufficient
  3. precipitating
  4. proximate
  5. remote
  6. reciprocal causes
  7. contributing factors

Causality: the relationship of cause and effect

Once you understand these concepts, the charts you create to map cause and effect can become more complex.

You should identify the types of causal relationships on your charts (you might use different types of arrows, different colors, or simply labels to show what kind of cause is being mapped).

  • Necessary Cause: any factor that must be in place for something to occur.
  • Sufficient Cause: is a condition that always produces the effect in question.
  • Precipitating Cause: the proverbial straw that breaks a camel’s back.
  • Proximate Cause: nearby and often easy to spot.
  • Remote Cause: may act at some distance from an event but be closely tied to it.
  • Reciprocal Cause: you have a reciprocal situation when a cause leads to an effect that, in turn, strengthens the cause.
  • Contributing Factors: add to the causes to bring about the effect.

Why is society so fascinated with serial killers?

Ed Gein Continued

Another movie monster that was inspired by Ed Gein is Leatherface, from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

While you can hate or love horror movies, our job in this class is to ask why? Why do we have so many? Why do we create so many horror movies? Why are we fascinated with these monsters?

What monster theory can help us understand the what and why of these “real” monsters?

Phrasing the Questions

All good research begins with a purpose and a question. For this next assignment, your question has to be clear and your topic needs to be clear. Once you have decided on a monster or monster category to study, it is time to come up with an appropriate question to help guide you.

Monsters are a very popular topic in our society, what we are doing in this class is thinking of them in context with the culture that produces them. A clear research question will help guide your research and analysis.

Step 1: What monster are you going to research and study?

Step 2: Decide if you want to investigate the cause or the effect

Step 3: Write your research question.

Example: What was going on in society that led to the development of the original vampire belief? Or, What led to the development of the vampire myth?

If you remember, we previously saw a TED educational video that addressed this question.


  1. Vampires
  2. Causes
  3. What led to the development of the vampire myth?

If you remember, we previously saw a TED educational video that addressed this question.

Pick a monster we have not done at length in the class. DO NOT pick Dracula, or Ed Gein.

Causal Analysis video