Give a summary of Daylight by Elizabeth Knox in terms of conventional and unconventional forms and binary oppositions (if any). Give examples to illustrate these. 

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many novels about vampires have an unfortunate predictibility about them that prevents them from being anything more than reading for (light) entertainment. However, in Daylight, Elizabeth Knox transports the reader, even one who does not usually read novels with any hint of a vampire in them, to a place that is unfamiliar but recognizable, perhaps a place within themselves that they feel uncomfortable with but are forced to examine. When has a vampire book ever done that before?

A love story ("Bad" and Dawn) would suggest a conventional theme - man meets vampire (or suspected vampire) but as Daniel (the priest) and Ila(the protector) are inextricably involved, an extra dimension exists.

"Bad" is intrigued by a body he recovers from a cave and the vague but unsettling memories it stirs. He is driven to investigate further and becomes drawn into the story of the Blessed Martine Raimondi,  resistance heroine and martyred nun from World War II who is the namesake of the dead woman he has recovered from the cave. Bad is ensnared by the dead woman, her namesake (one and the same), Eve and her twin Dawn. Bad's beliefs will be tested. The priest- Daniel is excited by the mystery but far from God. He is able to find redemption and reassert his relationship with God. It seems that Daniel and Bad are essentially searching for the same thing.   

The binary oppositions are apparent in the beautiful landscapes within which the story unfolds and yet which remain mostly unseen in the depths of the "world beneath the world."  There is talk of martyrs, saints and vampires, again not generally associated with each other and so unacceptable, almost blasphemous, to any Christian doctrine. There is also the very obvious vampire connection with the aversion to light and all things associated with them. Daylight refers to far more than actual daylight but an inward recognition.  

These together with her style which is somewhat confusing but supportive of the story, help Elizabeth Knox explain herself in a unique and compelling manner reinforcing her message and bringing history to life through characters who contradict each other whilst still supporting the same theory. Knox does not subscribe to any expected style, using her imagination to create, mystify and  thrill her readers.


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