abundleofletters asked: What was your 60 page English project??
It was about the evolution of the vampire myth from Romanian folklore to, Dracula, to well, of course, Twilight.
My premise was that any surge of interest / shaping of the vampire myth can be tied back to a stimulus originating from the contemporary social anxieties of a given period. For example, the vampire of folkloric origins was shaped by a pre-industrial society’s fear of death / inability to explain the spread of disease. The vampire of Stoker’s era was shaped (partly) by anxieties related to the emergence of progressive women, the pressure to maintain sexual relations only within the bonds of marriage, and homoeroticism/homosexuals. When talking about our modern era, most recently we have terrorism, social networking anxieties (online privacy, identity theft), the economy, and changing social norms related to things like gay marriage and gender roles.
That last intersection was particularly interesting because it means that a lot of problematic Victorian issues are STILL problematic for us, even after all this time has passed by. This suggests that some social anxieties are very much deeply woven into the vampire mythic tapestry. The one topic that was an evergreen issue across all generations was, appropriately enough, SEX (and/or intimacy).
Twilight, can kind of be seen as an weirdly accurate homage to older works like Dracula because it (I imagine subconsciously on the part of the author) affirms all the conservative Victorian values of Stoker’s era. Bella relinquishes control to Edward (the patriarchy) by agreeing to marry him in order to gain a higher social status (the vampiric abilities / longevity that she desires). Her need to become a vampire in order survive her pregnancy affirms that metaphor of marriage/domestic life ultimately resulting in the loss of personal identity (the un-death status).
My final point was an attempt to argue that the slasher serial killer villain of the horror genre was, effectively, our modern day interpretation of the traditional vampire. I won’t go into all the details, but there are some cool parallels between the two that relate to psychological degeneracy, sexual ambiguity, and gender dynamics with the “final girl” character who manages to survive the horror film and outwit the killer in the end.
I emailed my professor a copy last week, but am still waiting to hear back from her with any results. My fingers will be permanently crossed until then ;)