Now You’re in the Sunken Place: Constructed Monsters in Daniel 7 and Get Out

In: Biblical Interpretation
Eric X. Jarrard Department of Religion Wellesley, Wellesley College, Massachusetts USA

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This essay argues that both Daniel 7 and the film Get Out render the respective political status quo of their times in monstrous form, and use the horror narrative to dramatize their struggles against these monstrous political hegemonies. Comparing the two in this way reveals notable trans-temporal commonalities between groups forced to reckon with their socio-political disenfranchisement, with both works externalizing their respective social anxieties by fictionalizing their oppressor in monstrous form. These texts function comparably as creative expressions of political resistance in their respective eras by serving to empower oppressed groups. They do so by postulating an imagined escape from tyrannical structures of political abuse through the crystallization or manifestation of their fear of those structures in monstrous form. Part one of this essay identifies and analyzes the monstrous beings in Daniel 7 and Get Out, concentrating on the physical and spatial characteristics. Part two describes the historical and cultural specificity of these monsters and the productive value of their affect. The final part of this essay explores how a comparison of Daniel 7 and Get Out not only challenges the relative capaciousness of horror theory, but also helps us to better access the ambiguous rhetorical shaping of the biblical text. In sum, I will argue that both Daniel 7 and Get Out confront our existing notions of what horror is, how it functions, and the work it can do.

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