Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Giving up The Ghost
Giving Up the Ghost by Nina Auerbach really interested me. It was interesting to see a compare and contrast of the different ‘types’ of Vampires. I am always interested in seeing how different authors do different thing with the personalities of the vampires and other things. During her essay she quotes, “The first use of vampire the Oxford English Dictionary records, in 1734, defines them as ‘evil spirits’ who animate the ‘bodies of deceased persons.’ Folklorists use vampire interchangeably with revenant or ghost.” When I personally think of vampires I too think of something evil. I also believe that most, if not all the older texts about vampires also portray vampires as strictly evil. However today’s vampires are seen to be better overall and less evil. If you look at the True Blood series where the vampires find a synthetic source of food (blood) so that they do not have to feed off humans, and this makes them look like they are not a threat. They have interactions with humans and even sexual relationships. A vampire today is defined, according to dictionary.com, as “a preternatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse, that is said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night.” This definition says nothing about being evil or being a ghost. So why is this? Why did the definition change so much? Why does the old definition say specifically that they are evil and the new one just says that they are ‘commonly believed?’ I think the change in the definition is due to the wide variety of depictions of vampires. Also, it seems that they think that this definition most closely fits the stories about these vampires and the behaviors show. I think that this definition is a little out dated still. All of the books I have read so far about vampires, which are mostly the modern ones, none of them have the vampires sneaking into sleeping people’s rooms to suck their blood. I do, however, agree with the fact that it is a reanimated corpse. In everything I have read they are all dead and do not have heartbeats. I also do agree that the vampires are preternatural or exceeding what is normal/supernatural. But then again I think anything outside of human/animal life is supernatural. While looking up the definition on dictionary.com there is also an additional definition that says, “A woman who unscrupulously exploits, ruins, or degrades the men she seduces.” I thought that this was a little odd to see this. But the more I think about it the more it makes sense. I just think that the first thing that struck me as odd it that it said women. When I think of vampires I think of men. But I guess they can be women too. Although this definition does not refer to the supernatural vampire they share the same qualities. A supernatural vampire is thought to ruin and hurt and use its victims which are similar to the women that this definition is referring to.