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So, in my literature class we are studying European folk tales. Mostly Hans Christian Anderson, the brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. If you were to name any famous European faerie or folk tale you will almost always find one of these three authors behind it. Like, for instance, Perrault wrote Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood, just to name a few. And almost everyone knows the tales of Anderson and Grimm. It’s my favourite class. It’s almost like getting to play the whole time because you get to read fun stuff. Who doesn’t want to read a faerie tale and get credit for it?
Two weeks ago, we had to pick a free topic and write a five page essay about it. Four people chose vampires. So unoriginal…uhm, except I was one of them. Ha! :) I mean, why not? I belong to a website that exults them so why not write about them. I can’t put my paper here because it’s really long but it was mostly the history of vampire lore going back centuries. There are traces of vampire lore in almost every culture, especially in Africa and Asia, but the lore and mythology that has captivated the world’s attention the most all the way to modern times is the romanticized European version of the undead, a character who either committed some great sin and upon their death was cursed to a daemonic existence, or a total innocent who was cursed by a bite. They usually die and come back as the undead who prey upon the living by drinking their blood. They possess no souls so they kill mercilessly without remorse because they cannot feel love or compassion. Only their memory remains clear. They know their own families and friends, and usually come back to prey on them, eventually wiping them out unless they are killed off first. Carmilla is one such famous story. Google it. It’s a typical romanticized version of the archetype vampire. I learned that word at the beginning of the quarter. My literature teacher uses it constantly, so now I use it whenever I can because it makes me sound so smart. :) Anyway, the vampire character started off as something vile, smelly and almost like a beast, but through time has become romanticized into a more sympathetic, cultured hero. Anne Rice raised the bar with her sagas and every modern writer has copied the format and tone since to give the vampire super powers, thought and reason. Now Twilight has made them borderline human, people with professions, family facades and schoolwork. Wow, you know… From an undead, risen, smelly, evil corpse all the way to beautiful, cultured super-humans. Whereas a vampire used to be a morality tale of lost innocence, it is now a character of pure fantasy and literary liberties. Vampires are now a RACE of beings as if they were created as such like a dog or a cat from the beginning of time. It is no longer a curse as it once was in literature, something to be avoided at all costs.
Stephanie Meyers characters don’t even die in sunlight anymore. She created her own mythology where they are just beautiful creatures, which in itself makes no sense. If a vampire is a race of beings then how come it takes a human to be bitten and turned into one. Vampires are still humans. They are merely changed by a virus. If I catch the ebola virus, I am still human. If I am exposed to radiation and I grow a new limb, if my child mutates into a two headed person with a super brain, they are still human as am I. Edward is bitten by his “father” to save his life. So he becomes a vampire but he is still human yet Edward describes himself as the perfect predator having always existed, as if he were a whole new race of beings sharing the earth with “humans.” Illogical. Anyone can see that. If a vampire is a race of people they should be able to procreate with their own kind and make babies like they do in the movie UNDERWORLD, which again creates its own mythology, but one that makes a little more sense. They dispensed with the morality tale and merely created a race of beings competing for the domination of the world with humans. I saw UNDERWORLD and thought it pretty stupid…but fun. :) I prefer the classic like Carmilla or like the vampire in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, the Swedish version. Eli came out only at night, she could die in sunlight, she had super strength, could fly, climb up a flat wall and survived solely on blood. You had to invite her in otherwise she could not enter your home, etc, etc. It was totally classic, and her character was a very sad, lonely being who may or may not be capable of love, but she tries to. It’s more a character study. Luckily, I have only seen four vampire movies in my life so I am not influenced by the movie industry. As of now I have read more vampire essays than movies which I find more interesting. You would think at my age and being a girl, I would prefer fantasy but…not.
The conclusion of my paper was this. Why are vampires so charismatic? Why do people want to become vampires? …Easy. Sort of. One, they are beautiful (which begs the question, what if you were not beautiful when you were alive, do you suddenly become beautiful with a different face? I mean Jack Black is still going to look like Jack Black, right?), they live forever and they can fly with superpowers. People are infatuated with Edward, Selene, and Eli. In olden times people were infatuated with characters like Dracula and Carmilla because they were so romantic and tragic. As in Carmilla’s case, she was a beautiful child who became a vampire. The fantasy in that is to be beautiful, immortal and seemingly innocent while at the same time being a brutal killer. The real topper? Being EXCUSED for it. You see, a classic vampire can commit all the sins it wants because it is not really at fault. It’s a vampire against its will. When someone finally stakes it in the heart, it is set free to enter heaven. So the moral there is be a vampire, commit sins and still get into heaven. Nice, right? The problem is – classic, literary vampires don’t exist. They are fantasy. There are no vampires like Edward, Selene or Eli. They are figments of imagination based on old time morality tales. You can have your own argument if you wish. I’ll let you. :) This is not to say there is not the cult of vampirism that exists today as it has since the beginning of time. The Bible speaks of heathen tribes who drank the blood of victims in sacrifices. Vampirism in the sense of drinking human blood has always been around. And it’s a choice. But a word to the ignorant, no human can survive purely on blood. You will die if you do. You will have the worst health on the planet. The life is in the blood, God said. That is why he didn’t allow his people to eat even the blood of animals. Kosher meats is meat with the blood drained out of it. Indeed, kosher meat is far more healthy for you than bloody red meat. Take it from the Jews and the doctors.
But…we still like to fantasize about vampires, real or not. It’s human, my teacher said, because we are so unhappy with ourselves. We want to find excuses for our less than perfect natures. If we were vampires, we could be excused and that’s part of the infatuation. We can be evil and say it's not our fault. It is the desire of all humanity. As he said, “If only.”
Aye, I would have to agree with him