What are the essentials of the Vampire story? Please apply this to a literary work you have read or viewed.This is a question regarding chapter 3 ("Nice to Eat You- Acts of Vampires") in Foster's...
What are the essentials of the Vampire story? Please apply this to a literary work you have read or viewed.
This is a question regarding chapter 3 ("Nice to Eat You- Acts of Vampires") in Foster's "How to Read Literature Like a Professor." The basic idea of the chapter is that a vampire is an archetypal character who doesn't necessarily suck blood, but is an older man who "preys" on a young woman. The part I'm really having trouble with is coming up with an example of this.
The most elemental example that I can come up in fulfilling the standard of an older man who "preys" on younger women would be Nabokov's work, "Lolita." I think that the vampire idea might very well apply to Humbert Humbert. Both he and Qwilty are older men who have this rather "dark" quality to them, despite the public accolades and credible perception they both project. Especially valid with Humbert, his coveting of the concept of the young girl is something that might fulfill a characteristic of being a "vampire." Humbert is attractive and charming, but is fairly self centered in the way he covets Lolita and seeks to make her his own. At the same time, the "mark" of taking her sexuality is something that he pursues when her mother is dead. This would be another example of his selfishness. He might also fulfill another element of the vampire narrative in that he presents himself as tormented and experiencing a level of pain at his condition. He argues that his love of young girls is akin to a "poet," yet he is also aware that he bears full responsibility for Lolita's condition, to the point where he recognizes his "obsession" with her "broke" her life. This might be another example of the vampire theme in Nabokov's work.
Another example of a vampire story as defined outside of the specifics of the genre, but more broadly as an older man preying on a younger woman would be Henry James's A Portrait of a Lady. In this novel, the beautiful, young American woman Isabel Archer inherits a large fortune unexpectedly. An older man she meets in Florence, Gilbert Osmond, marries her, an arrangement brokered by his former lover, Madame Merle. Osmond has no real affection for Isabel, but he does want her money. He thinks he deserves it: he is such a refined connoisseur of the arts that he knows he will spend it well. Isabel is, of course, just another item in his collection of objects. Too late, Isabel realizes that there is more than a casual friendship between Madame Merle and Osmond, and that she has been set up. Although she could leave, she goes back to him, and it is clear he will continue to suck her dry, metaphorically speaking.
Outside of an older man preying on a younger woman, there is Osmond's helper in Madam Merle. Classic vampire tales like Stoker's Dracula depict the male vampire relying on female helpers he has already victimized.