Vampires and Novels

Feminism and the vampire novel have not traditionally been particularly well-suited bedfellows. The prototype of the genre, the shadow which lurks behind each and every modern vampire novel, is of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a novel which combines a mastery of atmosphere and suspense with a decidedly misogynistic mythology.
In recent years, however, the vampire text has evolved to encompass a narrative structure and an attitude towards women which moves beyond the virginal victim/deadly whore dichotomy that characterised the genre’s precursors. All of which makes Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series and its retrograde take on the role of women all the more infuriating. The success of the ...

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to develop the role of women in the supernatural novel much beyond what Stoker achieved more than a century previously.
At the crux of sexism within the vampire novel is the paradigm of male vamp/female human, a framework which an overwhelming majority of vampire novels are based around. The consequence of this is to represent the male as virtually unassailable in terms of power, and generally intellectually superior due to the centuries of wisdom he has accumulated. It is also a rare vamp novel which features a male (anti)hero not in possession of dazzlingly good looks and the ability to persuade a mouldy carrot into bed with one devastating glance. The female human is physically weaker and, at least traditionally, unable to resist the lure of the dashing corpse. These are tropes which vampire narratives such as Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer have delighted in overturning, yet in one form or another they remain pervasive in the supernatural novel.
In Dracula, the women ...

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Lucy are compelled by the Count to work against their allies. Their own opposing wishes and agency are completely overtaken by the control which he exerts over them. While Jonathan is subject to the same mind control, he manages to maintain a sense of his own identity, and eventually escape from Dracula. The women in the novel are represented as incapable of sustaining any individuality in the face of Dracula’s power.
Of course, this is a scenario which will be eminently familiar to ‘Twihards’, mirroring as it does Edward’s control of all Bella’s actions and restriction of her choices. Bella’s sense of self is so dependent on Edward that his absence in the second book of the series, ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 3/1/2011 10:44:18 AM
Submitted By: sasa1991
Category: Film & Theater
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2225
Pages: 9

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