Document Type

Honors Thesis


Chemical Engineering


Jennie Woodard

Committee Members

Ellen Weinauer, Melody Neely

Graduation Year

May 2023

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Monsters have persisted in literature throughout human culture serving the role as the living embodiment of our greatest fears. Based on that definition, we should have no reason to want to offer them our sympathy, our understanding, our love, yet we see them written with depth, complexity, even humanity, time and time again. The monster is more than just what scares us. They can be difficult to understand - foreign and strange, but if we take the time to look a little deeper, we may find part of ourselves staring back. This thesis explores the role the “monster” plays as an obstacle to empathizing and connecting with the “other”. The creative work of this thesis consists of four short stories featuring various “others” that have been labeled as monstrous, but within each of them sits the capacity to see yourself in their thoughts and feelings, and only then can you choose to give them your understanding - your empathy.