Real Vampires Don't Sparkle

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" Always, he's [Dracula] alluring, dangerous, mysterious" --- Thomas Foster, page 16 How to Read Like a Professor. Notice he didn't mention that they sparkle....sorry, Twilight still annoys me to the point where I can't think about vampires without thinking about how much Twilight annoys me.

I guess this petty whining actually vaguely goes along with what the reading discusses. It talks about some common symbols that we see throughout literature. How the vampire, as a symbol of evil, sex, lust, etc, and the sharing of food is a communion. These are things that recur in writing and typically carry some significance.

Actually, upon re-reflection, this chapter actually helped me to determine why the idea of vampires as sparkling rather than immolating in sunlight bothers me so much.

The symbol of the vampire, as the books point out, is one of evil. True, Twilight isn't the first novel to ever have a vampire as a hero. However, other novels portray them as much more tragic. They tend to have over-burdened consciouses, or at very least have sacrificed any chance at being "good," and no matter how good their intentions. This idea of being stuck on a path of evil, is symbolized using the oldest symbols ever (light=good, dark=bad). At very least this inability to step into the light, not only strengthens the dark personna of the standard evil vampire, but heightens the tragedy of the good vampire. By having sunlight do nothing more than prove that they are vampires, Myers makes it possible for good vampires to be essentially content. The only real hardships left to them is prejudice and a lust for blood (which can be quelled by animal blood). So now, unless they happen to behave as such, the vampires are really no more evil, or tragic than recovering heroin addicts who have access to methadone. For that degree of suffering, who wouldn't deal with it for eternal youth, and superhuman strength, speed, agility, etc?

I hope that jumping off on a tangent, and discussing one of the common literary symbols mentioned in the reading somehow related to it in some way. Sorry...I do that from time to time.

8 Comments

Kayla Lesko said:

Twilight annoys me too and I almost did a rant about it instead of actually saying something worthwhile.

Comparing vampires to drug addicts is very interesting and something that I never really thought about before.

Jennifer Prex said:

While I agree that the sparkling vampires did seem odd to me too, you have to at least give the author credit for originality. If every author stuck to all of the same conventions all of the time, the world of fiction would get to be very old, boring, and predictable (not that Twilight isn't predictable in just about every other aspect of it). While authors who break conventions such as these do run the risk of turning some readers off, they have at least tried something new and risky. Authors need to do that from time to time. Besides, even Foster admits that not everything he writes about in How to Read Literature Like a Professor holds true all of the time.

DavidWilbanks Author Profile Page said:

I definately agree that authors do have to do new things, but in this particular instance, I thought it weakened an otherwise powerful symbol that she was using.

DavidWilbanks Author Profile Page said:

I apologize for the rant on Twilight....I read it in Young Adult Lit last semester, and apparently two class periods just wasn't enough time to get all the ranting out. Also, reading Foster helped me to formulate a better argument, than "that's stupid." Now I'm just bummed I didn't use it during the class discussion last semester. Next time I'll actually say something worthwhile....probably....I hope.

Katie Lantz said:

Ouch. This hurts.

While I have read all (yes, ALL) of the Twilight series, and enjoyed them just the same, I understand where you are coming from.

But I did want to make something clear. In her second book, "New Moon" Edward almost commits suicide by stepping into the sunlight and exposing himself as a vampire. Meyers makes known that sunlight is death for these vampires as well. If Edward would have stepped into the sunlight, the Vulture (basically the vampire elders/mafia) would have torn him to shreds, thus killing him.

DavidWilbanks Author Profile Page said:

That's interesting that she somewhat returns to the traditional convention in the second book. Though it does to some degree lessen the penalties for immortality. Then again, the whole keeping the identity secret was always part of the vampire tradition, though the risk from other vampires is new.

Jered Johnston said:

I have to admit when I was reading Foster I thought of Twilight too. I'm with Dave on this one, sorry Katie. This subject in particular has sparked some pretty intense debates between me and some friends and fans of the books. Over all though while I do give credit to Myers for originality although I hold her accountable for butchering the Vampire legend that I personally love.

Dave said:

I also agree with Dave, since he is always right. haha. I do find it interesting that a work of pop-fiction has sparked so many literary debates. It had much of the same effect when we read it in Lit. for Young Adults.

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