Jaws, Anthropocentrism, and Cinema as a Monster-Making Machine

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Jaws (Spielberg, 1975) is a film in which a shark is depicted as a monster. Readings and analyses of the film routinely describe the shark as a monster, and pleasures associated with the film rest on audiences reading the animal as such. The book the film is adapted from constructs the shark in similar ways, but there are notable differences between the two. This article examines how the film constructs the shark as a monster, with particular reference to differences between the book and film. It focuses specifically on the storytelling and representational norms associated with each medium, indicating how cinema’s centering of the audio-visual is fundamental to its monster-making processes. Drawing on work from the ‘animal turn’ this article demonstrates cinema’s embedded anthropocentrism, and points to the implications this has for non-humans outside of cinema.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adaptation in Film and Performance
Early online date10 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jul 2023


  • Jaws
  • adaptation
  • animal turn
  • anthropocentrism
  • monster
  • Umwelt

Research Centres

  • Centre for Human Animal Studies


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