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Twilight

Let me tell you why I hate Twilight: Everything about Twilight is stupid. That’s all anyone has to say about it and anyone else who hates this terrible trend will understand exactly what I mean. Here’s the thing, vampires have come a really long way from being monsters. I hate that. There’s no more horror or fear. Now it’s about love and nothing but love. Maybe it’s because personally I don’t like love stories, especially when the story is too wholesome, like a Taylor Swift song. I like terror and blood and guts and partners in crime. Twilight doesn’t offer that. There’s no intense, horrific danger. If Edward wasn’t a vampire, the story would be exactly the same. Also, the story is mainly for teeny boppers and high school kids. I’m not saying I’m all grown up but the very setting of high school makes me miserable and sick to my stomach. Just thinking about Twilight makes me angry. But I guess I’ll stop with my personal opinion and get analytical for the sake of my keyboard.

Edward Cullen has the basic characteristics of a vampire. His skin is pale, he drinks blood (or used to), and he doesn’t age as time goes on. It’s his lifestyle that makes him different from the rest of the vampires. He and his family live among humans but unlike in Dead Until Dark, their vampirism is kept secret. Another thing that sets Twilight apart is that each vampire has a unique power, like the ability to read minds or see into the future. I think that the story would be a lot more successful if the supernatural additions were kept to a minimum. The conflicts would be a lot more strained and not so easy to fix.

 

I’ll have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of this book. I think it was very well written and it caught my attention at times. It was easy to read and understand but I think it was the storyline that just didn’t cut it for me. The characters included a little kid named Oskar who is obsessed with murder as a result of his inability to man up and beat the shit out of the other kids who bully him, a pedophile, some bum group of friends, and of course the vampire who is doomed to be twelve years old forever. I feel like the assortment of characters didn’t do much for the book. It’s like a big mash up of screw ups.

Anyway, the vampire figure was definitely odd and was perhaps the most interesting character. I found it refreshing that the issue of gender was tackled in here because throughout this class I’ve been wondering whether or not vampires really do have a gender. Eli wasn’t like the other vampires we have discussed because it was never clearly defined if it was a boy or girl. I kind of like that its gender is questionable because in a way it answers my question. Perhaps I will use this for the next essay.

Dead Until Dark

This book was certainly a good read. It’s a simple book but the content of it was very entertaining. It’s pretty sexy actually when it gets into some graphic material, even when a crime scene is described, but that’s just my kind of thing. I didn’t have any difficulty following the story like with Dracula. If I went back to read something over it was because I thought, “What the hell? That’s pretty neat.” What surprises me too is that I’m starting to enjoy reading; it was impossible for teachers to get me to do that!

Anyway, about the book; It’s noticeably different from other vampire stories. Dead Until Dark kind of puts a spin to the typical story. I guess the author asked herself, “What if vampires lived openly among humans?” and then wrote about it. I thought it would be really corny but it isn’t. The characters have their own distinct personalities and it’s almost as if you get to know them. Their little quirks help the story in that you can practically agree with whether or not their actions fit their personalities.

The fact that Sookie can read minds is pretty interesting. I think her power is useful for getting herself out of trouble, and she does get in lots of trouble. Her ability is one of the unique characteristics that help in the presentation of the inner conflicts expressed in the book.

I also noticed that just about the whole book revolves around sex. Women get killed because of their sexual associations with vampires, one of Sookie’s conflicts is that she is not mentally prepared to have sex, her brother Jason gets himself into trouble because of his little sexual mishaps, sex, sex, sex everywhere! I’m not really used to reading books that are that… open… about it, at least not when it comes to sex in an erotic aspect. It was practically an erotic novel.

Side note: That vampire club reminds me of Hot Topic hahaha

I’m really enjoying this book. It’s much easier to read that Dracula and previous stories, even though there are tons of characters to keep track with. I’ve noticed how King may have used Dracula as a blueprint for Salem’s Lot. You can really tell by the characters.

I see Ben Mears as Jonathan Harker. They both have questionable masculinity and they are attached to a woman. In Dracula, Jonathan became sick after his encounter with Dracula despite not having been bit by him. Ben is also affected by Barlow indirectly; via Floyd Tibbits.

Matt Burke is the Van Helsing of Salem’s Lot. He is knowledgeable because of his extensive studies but he also an older man. Because of his age, like Van Helsing, Matt must hold back a little when the men “slayers” go after Barlow.

I see Mark Petrie as another Van Helsing-type character because he is also familiar with fiction and monsters. To me, he’s the most interesting character of all. It’s surprising how this child is able to keep calm even in the face of danger. He’s careful and calculated in his moves, especially when facing bullies. In a sense, that’s all Barlow is to Mark: a bully, just like Richie, the kid he got into a schoolyard brawl with. Mark takes a similar approach to Barlow’s advances.

Obviously, Barlow is the Dracula. He has similar features as Dracula, like the pale skin, crimson lips, long nails, and his old-fashioned and articulate demeanor. No surprises here.

Fleur de Fur

This story made me giggle. It starts out with a Gothic feel to it and ends with a modern chick-flick storyline complete with the misunderstood guy who has a sensitive side. I guess the funny part to me was how Rohise became the Duke’s replacement daughter and then leaves with the vampire. That’s a slap to the Duke’s face, I say.

The most interesting part of the story for me was how reincarnation was incorporated into the story, just like in “I, the Vampire.” It seems as though the reincarnation of a woman becomes the central theme to these vampire stories. One theory I have on why that happens is that the writer wants his/her audience to sympathize with the vampire figure or relate to him. When a vampire expresses his feelings for a long-lost love, the reader begins to understand different things about the vampire. He is no longer just a monstrous creature of the night who attacks for no reason. The vampire is now a heart-broken being capable of feeling human-like emotions. As a result of this, there is more depth to the story.

I was also curious about why the color red was forbidden in the castle. It may have something to do with what the color represents, like violence and love, but that doesn’t convince me very much. I’d say the reasons behind it are more literal. Maybe the Duke has some sort of trauma and upon seeing anything red, he remembers the night his daughter “disappeared.” Perhaps he may have seen happening right before him.

I didn’t really get why Lee chose to make the vampires have wings. I’ve only heard of vampires becoming bats or flying without other assistance. The wings throw me off because I begin to think about gargoyles and it’s sort of distracting. I think that today’s vampires don’t have wings because it just isn’t appealing. Wings just make the vampires seem more like mythological creatures from Greece or something.

Week 7 Readings

The Funeral

The Funeral was probably one of the corniest things I have read in a while. Then again this is a class about vampires so it was bound to happen. It was certainly more comical than other stories and I think that was intentional. Perhaps this story was meant to lighten up the mood on other vampire stories. Here we have something that reminds me of X-Men and how there are different kinds of mutants. The Funeral’s characters came from the menu of supernatural creatures that go “bump” in the night.

The Meeting Place

This story was also very different from other vampire tales. I appreciate how it leads you on to think that it’s about some kind of post-apocalyptic event that came out of the Sci-Fi channel but instead ended up being the complete opposite. Having a group of vampires as the last “people” standing on Earth really makes me want to have some sympathy for the monsters. It turns the tables on the symbolism of vampires. For example, in Victorian times vampires might have been portrayed as foreigners invading England. But in The Meeting Place, there are vampires from all over the world which in a would widen the fear of the thought that vampires could be from ANYWHERE.

I, the Vampire

How dramatic is that title? This story was bit more developed and thought out. I think it had some similarities to Dracula but it simplified the story. It stripped down the unimportant details and cut straight to the point: there is vampire, this vampire has some internal conflict, there are some actors, these actors become troubled, how do these actors rid themselves of the threat?

Homecoming

Now this one was really cheesy, at least in concept. It did raise some questions for me, though. It seemed as though vampirism was hereditary or perhaps optional. That must be what confused me, the mother vampire mentioned something about her childred learning to like blood. So then I wonder, how did the mother and father turn into vampires? Maybe this story was about the occult. Yes, that must be it.

To answer this questions, I will take a look at some of things we learned in class. The Victorians were probably not the most fun-loving people. Everyone had a set role in society according to class, gender, etc. The women were merely slaves to their homes while their husbands provided the bread and butter. I like to think of the Victorian era as neat and organized. However, someone (or something) like Dracula had to come in and break the rules, just as the unwritten rules of society have been tested throughout all of history.

Obviously Dracula can represent real and unreal fears the Victorian people may have felt; fear of death, fear of the unknown, heck, even fear of foreigners. But being the good ol’ Christians that the Victorians were, their fears had to be something more than fairytale madness. I think Dracula was something like the Hugh Hefner of the Victorian era. In a sense, Dracula represented the perversion of young and pure women. Anybody can see that there are definitely sexual themes in the book.

Once the ladies of Dracula were bitten, they were depicted as sensual figures with their appetizing lips that even nice guy Jonathan Harker struggled to resist. They’re voices were sweet and it became impossible for the person hearing them to turn the other way. The women that Jonathan encountered served as tools of seduction, trying to suck in both men and women into their trance. That trance or hypnosis, I believe, was temptation. If anybody gave in to that temptation, they would soon become vulnerable and therefore easy targets for Dracula.

Dracula’s bite was the last stage in his chain of seduction. It is like the “deflowering” of women. This corruption of the pure would have been a big deal for God-fearing Victorians.

First Essay Ideas

So the first essay¬† has been assigned this week and I’ll have to admit that I’m kind of excited to get started on it. I think I will respond to the second prompt because it’s a compare/ contrast essay. It’s funny because in a sense I had to argue with myself by gathering evidence for which prompt would be “easiest” to write, the same way you gather evidence for an essay and come up with a conclusion. Anyway, I’ll most likely compare Dracula to Varney. They have many similarities so I’ll be able to come up with a theory for why those similarities exist.

First off, both Dracula and Varney are male, a characteristic that I would say is intentional because in earlier times male and female social roles were very distinct and established.

Similarities in physical characteristics also exist. They are both pale, tall, strong, etc.

A significant difference is that Varney acts as more like a predator, rather than a humble host. Varney invades Flora’s bedroom, whereas Dracula begins with inviting Jonathan Harker into his home.

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