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All Dogs Come from Hell: Supernatural’s Canine Connection

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Supernatural, Humanity, and the Soul
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Abstract

The issue of monstrosity lies at the heart of the TV series Supernatural. It is not simply that monsters are what the Winchester brothers, with their earnest yet world-weary modus operandi, track down and destroy. It is what constitutes the monstrous that gives their pursuit meaning, edge, and terror. The alien-looking, merciless creatures such as the Wendigo are not only, perhaps not even primarily, what strikes fear into the series’ spectators, but rather the creatures with ostensible proximity to humanity—shapeshifters cloaked in lamb’s clothing whose savagery soon belies itself. Scholars have long defined monsters as the commingling of two or more different types of creatures (Burke), noting that the hybrid nature of entities with both animal and human elements creates a source of “confusion and horror” that “threaten[s] to destabilize all order, to break down all hierarchies” (Hanofi 2–3). Such creatures are as often rendered pity-inspiring victims as formidable enemies, whose demise poses ethical dilemmas. These monsters bring life to Supernatural’s fundamental questions: Are Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles)—having both taken on a demigod’s burden of guilt, Hell-harrowing, and losing and regaining of a soul—not themselves beings of a dual nature? Are they killers first or saviors? Moral or heartless? Worthy of trust or forever a potential threat?

The blood-longing became strongerchrw… He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alonechrw… surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survived.

—Jack London, The Call of the Wild

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Authors

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Susan A. George Regina M. Hansen

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© 2014 Susan A. George and Regina M. Hansen

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King, S.D. (2014). All Dogs Come from Hell: Supernatural’s Canine Connection. In: George, S.A., Hansen, R.M. (eds) Supernatural, Humanity, and the Soul. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137412560_6

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