Monsters Are Due on Maple Street-Twilight Zone (1×22)

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1×22)TheTwilightZoneLogo

“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” is a Twilight Zone episode about paranoia. The town of Maple Street is a symbol for the United States. The monsters that everyone is looking for are symbols for communists.

To understand the symbolism in this story, it is necessary to understand that this episode was created with McCarthyism in mind. McCarthyism was the hunt for communists who were hiding in America during World War II. This paranoia caused by McCarthyism caused Americans to turn on each other in an effort to find and arrest communist spies, and it got completely out of control.

These symbols are on full display in “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” for when the power goes off in the neighborhood, people turn on each other to figure out who caused the black out.  This insane paranoia led to these once peaceful neighbors suspecting each other of being the monsters who shut off all the power. Every little thing such as a working car, a light turning on, and making a joke about being a monster causes the neighbors to all place suspicion on each other. And just as soon as one person thought someone was a monster, the rest of the neighborhood quickly agreed. This symbolizes McCarthyism in that people were just as frantic to accuse each other of being communists over minor reasons.

As the story progresses, people are mistakenly murdered, and people begin to attack each other over the situation. A man is eventually singled out as a communist, only for him to place full blame on a child in the neighborhood so he could get away. This kind of terrible behavior showed that any time someone was accused of being a communist during McCarthyism, they would always try to find a scapegoat. When everything in the neighborhood flickers on and off, it leads to all-out violence, with people assaulting each other with intent to kill, this shows how out of control McCarthyism ended up being.

However, just like the communists were watching America devolve and attack each other from a distance during McCarthyism, it turns out that the monsters were watching Maple Street attack each other from a distance, commenting that the easiest way to conquer Earth is to let Earth destroy itself. This is similar to the way communists thought about taking over the United States; they could let America destroy itself. The meaning of this Twilight Zone episode is simply that we shouldn’t fall prey to our own paranoia, or else we could open ourselves up to hate towards our own fellow people and cause them harm.