A Question in The Monstrumologist
Yeah I know. This is probably the third or fourth post I’ve written about theme/symbolism/deep stuff. I’m super sorry if it’s starting to get annoying but after I get this project done, I’ll be writing and posting like three book reviews. (I’m really backed up on writing them :/)
This particular “theme” probably doesn’t really fall within the category of a theme. I guess it’s more like a discussion.
“When does the man becomes the monster he hunts?”
Dr. Warthrop is a very unique character, hardly the average person that lived during the late-1800’s. His wacky personality and mindset is what ends up being one of the possible causes of the massacre of Malachi’s family. Ironically enough, Dr. Warthrop had proclaimed that “The unfortunate Mr. Gray should keep them satisfied, at least for another day or two,” just the previous night. While they slept, Malachi’s family had been killed.
During one of their conversations, Will Henry had brought up the question of whether they should contact the town constable. Dr. Warthrop, quite prideful, had proclaimed that they would be able to exterminate the entire population themselves. Clearly he was wrong as the constable quickly got involved with another death.
Does this withholding of information make Dr. Warthrop a monster? Pride is a human emotion but it can often get in the way of someone’s success. But hubris doesn’t necessarily make a person a monster. Although Malachi does call Dr. Warthrop “a monster” at one point in the book, it seems to serve as a foil to Kearns, who is introduced in the next chapter.
“‘If a rabid hound runs amok, what fool looks instead for the creature that made it sick?’ he asked. ‘Shoot the hound first, and then find the source of its madness if you must.’
‘He thought we had time-“
‘Well, he was wrong, wasn’t he? And now my family is dead. Me, too, Will,’ he added matter-of-factly, without a shred of self-pity or melodrama. ‘I am dead too. I feel your hand; I see you sitting there; I breathe. But inside there is nothing.’
I nodded. How well I understood! I gave his hand a squeeze.
‘It will get better,’ I assured him. ‘It did for me. It will never be the same, but it will get better. And I promise you the doctor will kill these things, down to the last one.’
Malachi slowly shook his head, his eyes ablaze. ‘He is your master and rescued you from the bleak life of the orphanage,’ he whispered. ‘I understand, Will. You feel bound to excuse and forgive him, but I cannot excuse and I will not forgive this…this…What did you say he was?’
‘Yes, that’s right. A monster hunter…. Well, he is what he hunts.’…..
He is what he hunts, Malachi had said. I did not believe that but understood how Malachi might judge him, and the rest of the town as well, once it learned of the Anthropophagi onslaught.
I did not think the doctor was a monster who hunted monsters, but I was about to meet a man who did-and was.”
Kearns, who is introduced in the next chapter, comes off as an odd person. His kind of funny, laid-back personality is similar to the doctor’s. However, the key difference between these two people is that while Dr. Warthrop is cheerful in nature and most likely uses it to hide his pain from being neglected, Kearns is cheerful to masquerade his psychopathic personality. They are two similar characters but their motives are completely different.
In this case, would it be appropriate to label Dr. Warthrop as a “monster”? He might not be good at comprehending emotions but does it warrant a monster? The true monster would be Kearns, would it not? Kearns, who kidnaps women to use as bait and is willing to sacrifice his friends to feel the thrill of killing a monster.
Returning to the quoted question, when exactly does the man become what he hunts? Does it depend on his motives? If he enjoys the work he does?
Personally, I feel as though it depends on the finesse and empathy of the worker. I think that it depends solely on if the person feels empathetic or tries their best to make their job more humane. If they were to hunt in a way that makes the quarry feel every single blow of pain and they enjoyed it, I think I would classify them as a monster.
But readers, what do you think? What is the point in which a man becomes a monster?