Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Comparing Vampires, Haggerty and How to Address a Sullen Vampire

                Throughout this class we have learned a lot about the importance of perspective. With Dracula we had shifting narratives, but with Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire we have a running story told by a sympathetic character, Louis.  I could not help but compare the two vampires by noticing that even though there are different styles of narratives, they have a similar outcome.
Starting with the vampires themselves, consider the differences from Louis to Dracula; Dracula was a character who, especially with his early scenes with Jonathon Harker, looked English from the outside and had the want to be English but himself, when viewed up close was horrific and beastly. Dracula had invited Harker over to deceive him into teaching Dracula how to become more English. He was a foreigner, looking to disguise and live among the regular humans. 
Louis is quite the opposite. He in fact begs for death from Lestat initially and fights off his feelings of being a monster by eating off animals. Even though Louis succumbs too feeding off humans due to Lestats charms, he still resents doing so. And is frustrated with the inhuman characteristics of Lestat who seemingly, has no remorse for feeding off of humans. This again shows how our major vampires are different from each other. Interview has a major plot devise with Armand however, as he introduces sub culture too Louis and Claudia. It is quite ironic that Louis ends up burning down the very theatre that Armand operates from and that they travel together.
With Dracula, his castle represented sins and desires to Jonathon Harker that he did not want to partake in as he was conditioned they were horrible. With Louis, we have someone who is conditioned to believe that life is terrible. What is ironic, is that he seeks to create companions or help other vampires, such as Claudia, work on creating traveling friends for themselves. Louis is not looking to become English or to blend in; he is looking to hide in the shadows.
The profound difference between these two vampires is important to note as the outcome for mankind is the same; vampires kill humans.  To try to change this outcome, I would of started with providing education to the masses. As the boy giving the interview, personally, my response to Louis would be one of reverence and respect. And since he demonstrates elements of remorse and hopelessness, I would be very wary to ask of any favor, especially for someone in a state where they feel a need to confess. Louis whole story was about how looking for companionship destroyed him, how he must stay in the corner of society. Instead of using society as a smokescreen like Dracula, Louis must be the smokescreen. Asking to become a vampire too Louis when he is in this mindset, well, it would be easy to understand why someone would find that as insultive.
Finally, I would like to note that with our reading of Anne Rice and the Queering of Culture, I to found that it is beneficial to read as the characters being gay. The following line states this case well:
“To understand the Chronicles, in fact, they must be read as gay, and their relations can only be understood in terms of male-male desire. (p5)” Indeed, Interview starts with Lestat and Louis, and this respect and fear they have for each other has many elements of love. As Haggerty says, “…the homoerotics of Rice’s vampires are at least as culturally telling as anything that happens in Byron, or LeFanu, or even Stoker. Rice makes her vampires homoerotics for reasons that tell us more about their moment of creation than they tell about any historical precedents, however rich these might be.”

1 comment:

  1. Lestat is more “out in the open,” living without fear of consequence. Lestat knows his powers and his limitations and is frightened of nothing -- Claudia tries to kill him and he quickly recovers. Lestat and Louis have powers comparable to Dracula, yet they use them in a different way. I think it’s interesting that whereas past vampires lived in elaborate castles, Louis and Lestat do attempt to blend in to an extent and live amongst society. Where Dracula was ‘evil,’ Lestat is trying to pass eternity without being bored -- this may lead to some questionable actions, but I certainly wouldn‘t call Lestat ‘evil.’ On the opposite site, Louis seems more ‘jaded’ than anything -- eternal life is the worst thing he could’ve received, as he was sick of life to begin with.

    Your post got me thinking when discussing Louis and the “smokescreen”, that if “they must be read as gay” (Haggerty 5), would that mean that Lestat is more “out” whereas Louis is still “in the closet”?