Vampires in 20th and 21st C Literature, Film, and Television

Shanaz Pasha, Blog Post 10

Over the centuries, vampire narratives have changed course; from representing the violations of what society reject and label as being abnormal outcasts to the acceptance of those select mortal humans who are indeed the outcasts of their own society. Boundaries were adapted and placed with the convenience of maintaining the separations of these many different societies, both on human and non-human, which depict a similarity to that of today’s reality and history of segregation/stereotyping.

Twilight (film):

  1. The Cullen “family” sit alone at a lunch table, by themselves; hence they are seen as the outcasts of the Fork’s society.
  2. Bella is invited to go into the forest with Edward, where she learns of his sparkling skin color in the sun.

Twilight(novel):

  1. “I felt a surge of pity, and relief. Pity because, as beautiful as they were, they were outsiders, clearly not accepted.” (Chapter 1)
  2. ” ‘What was that he was saying about the doctor’s family [the Cullens]?’ I asked innocently. ‘The Cullens? Oh, they’re not supposed to come onto the reservation.’ ” (Chapter 6)

True Blood(film):

  1. Sookie, as a waitress who has these mind reading powers knows beforehand, what people are thinking; because of this she is seen as an abnormal human being in the Bon Temps society.
  2. Bill, as the vampire, is treated differently by the humans. When Bill enters Merlotte’s, he is sitting alone initially; hence the feeling of an outcast, until he is joined by the Rattray’s. The vampires are classified as being unholy. In the opening song of True Blood, the main line repeated is:

“I don’t know who you think you are
But before the night is through
I wanna do bad things with you”

In the first episode with the store and the young couple, the humans can’t tell the difference between the vampire and the human. The human mocks a vampire outlook and jokes about it with the humans, he makes a joke of the vampire’s diet of synthetic blood. This part of the episode, the humans don’t know who really is a vampire or not (“…I don’t know who you think you are…”) but they continue to make it look foolish.

4 Responses

  1. Another thing that will help your argument about the human outcast accepting the vampire outcast is in True Blood, second season episode 1. Tara and Sam talk about Sookie accepting Bill, and Tara explains that Sookie is drawn to Bill because she can’t read h is mind. All she wants to do is stop having the ability to read minds. Bill allows this escape for her.

    May 7, 2014 at 10:07 am

  2. You are getting at some fascinating concepts here, Shanaz! Your thesis is still a bit unclear to me, however. You seem to be saying that vampires once represented outsider status but today they represent “human outcasts.” Your evidence then seems to support the idea that they are still outsiders, so I’m not sure what distinction you are making here. In the second portion of your thesis, you write: “Boundaries were adapted and placed with the convenience of maintaining the separations of these many different societies, both on human and non-human, which depict a similarity to that of today’s reality and history of segregation/stereotyping.” I’m not quite sure what you are saying. Try revising your sentences to be more clear and concise (and try to avoid passive construction)so that you can directly convey your meaning to your readers. Feel free to post a revised version if you want me to take a look at it!

    Laura

    May 10, 2014 at 9:35 am

  3. Here is my revised thesis, I decided to cut out some parts and sum it down to this one sentence (I’m really bad when it comes to writing thesis statements): Over the centuries, vampire narratives have changed course; from initially representing what a perfect society would reject and label as an abnormal outcast to establishing themselves a place in that perfect society where they are comfortable to express whom they are.

    May 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm

  4. This is much clearer, Shanaz. The only question that I have at this point (that you can address in your essay) is how this type of vampire is different from Day’s Liberationist vampires that struggle with their nature and ultimately embrace it. If you can account for that, then it sounds fine!

    Also, in your essay you should explain why you think vampires have taken this form today. What about our contemporary culture/history makes this particular vampire type interesting to readers and viewers?

    Laura

    May 11, 2014 at 6:25 pm

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