Study Guide

The Monstrumologist Man and the Natural World

By Rick Yancey

Man and the Natural World

As far back as anyone can remember, human beings have liked to believe that they dominate the natural world. Animals and plants exist for us to eat, to keep us warm, or to provide us with shelter and tools and raw materials with which to produce goods that benefit us. But what happens when a predator arises that reveals the fact that we are not always at the top of the food chain? It's a pretty rude awakening for some of the characters in The Monstrumologist when the Anthropophagi prove their dominanceā€”and us puny humans are reduced to being their prey.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. What are different ways people understand the nature of the Anthropophagus? For example, Malachi calls them "spawns of Satan," but Dr. Kearns insists they're just part of the food chain. How does that effect how they feel about the creatures? And what does it reveal about the individual characters?
  2. Setting the Anthropophagi aside for a moment, how else is the natural world depicted in the book? How does this compare to the depiction of the Anthropophagi and how does this contribute to your understanding of the theme of man and the natural world?
  3. Why does Dr. Kearns "admire" the Anthropophagi? Be specific, and don't forget to consider his own relationship to killing.

Chew on This

The two monstrumologists (Dr. Warthrop and Dr. Kearns) are less frightened of the Anthropophagi because of their belief that they are merely a part of the natural world; there is nothing supernatural to fear.

Just because the Anthropophagi are part of the natural world doesn't make them less terrifying. In fact, it is the idea that they really exist (as opposed to fairies or something) that makes them frightening.

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