Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Alive Than the Living?

Vampires are often made to seem more alive than humans. They appear more beautiful and enticing than a normal human and they seem to attract both sexes very easily. This is strange to me given the fact that Van Helsing considers them undead. “You do not know that, friend John, but you shall know it later, and in trance could he best come to take more blood. In trance she dies, and in trance she is Un-Dead, too. So it is that she differ from all other. Usually when the Un-Dead sleep at home," as he spoke he made a comprehensive sweep of his arm to designate what to a vampire was `home', "their face show what they are, but this so sweet that was when she not Un-Dead she go back to the nothings of the common dead. There is no malign there, see, and so it make hard that I must kill her in her sleep." (Dracula Chapter 15) When Van Helsing is talking about Lucy being part of the undead, I think most people get about the same picture in their head. An undead (to me anyways) is a gray, sullen, skeleton looking creature that walks around and causes havoc on people. The undead they are talking about in Lucy is very different. When Lucy walks around she is floating, beautiful, and mesmerizing. I think this conflicts with many people’s view of the undead; being more alive than someone actually living. I guess this is why vampires so easily prey on humans, they attract them and gain their trust very easily. "Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!" He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed cold as ice, more like the hand of a dead than a living man. Again he said.”(Dracula Chapter 2)
Some other things that seem to defy the natural definition of undead are found not only in their looks, but in their lifestyle. Vampires often seem to be extremely healthy, often being nearly indestructible. I suppose this makes sense because they are technically not “alive” in a humanistic sense of the word. If they are not alive they therefore should not be susceptible to common sicknesses or injury. Lastly I would like to point out how many vampires are given the description as very fertile. Sometimes it seems like they need sex more than real people. Overall I just think it’s a bit strange that Professor Van Helsing classifies vampires as undead. Vampires seem to be more “alive” than many of us. They are good looking, well spoken, fertile, and have, as Collen said,” Robust Health”.

4 comments:

  1. I really liked how you analyzed the meaning behind “undead.” And when you say, “An undead (to me anyways) is a gray, sullen, skeleton looking creature that walks around and causes havoc on people,” I can very much with that statement. However I do not really agree with you when you say that Lucy is very different from the undead. If you are referring to when Van Helsing what treating her, yes then I agree with your statement about being beautiful and mesmerizing. They even talked about how she was becoming more beautiful as she was turning into a vampire. However if you look at the Lucy that was in the cemetery killing innocent children then I would have to disagree with you. I also very much agree with your statement that vampires are “nearly indestructible” as you say later in your blog. This I find very true in every vampire story ihave ever watched or read.

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  2. I agree with your analysis of the undead. Some other examples of undead in popular literature are zombies (thats what came to my mind first). They do not have the same appearance as vampires. Usually they are bloody, walk slow, and searching for people in mobs. The vampires we have encountered are the polar opposite of this characterization. Vampires are well spoken, seemingly human, and, like you pointed out, fertile. This is an interesting note, especially your assertion that they seem to need sex more than the living. I believe that this has something to do with the fact that they have cheated death and, thus, don't have the same inhibitions that the god-fearing living does.

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  3. I enjoyed you bringing it back to Colleens statement of having 'robust health'. One aspect of the undead I always enjoyed was 'living death'; Dracula shows this well. The 'mesmerizing' state is much like a living death. The person is somewhat aware, living, not dying, but still not normal or alive in the traditional sense. From my research I gleamed that undead culture seems to have stemmed from colonialism into Haiti in the 17th century. At that point, there were no ideas for a living death. It is very anglo saxxon if you thinkg about it: it must be up, or it is down. It must be living, or it is dead.

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  4. I like how you said that vampires are sort of seen as indestructible. And, as you pointed out, they are to sickness and most injuries.
    But they are also very vulnerable too. They have huge weaknesses in holy water, and crosses. And they are able to be injured, it just has to be in a very specific way.

    I like that vampires are portrayed at more beautiful. I think it adds to their unworldliness, but also works as a way to lure people in. As a society we are more likely to trust someone who is more attractive than someone who is not.

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