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8 June 2018
The Evolution of Vampires in Recent Literary Work
Immortal creatures have always been a source of interest for humanity since the
beginning of time. Vampires are one of these mythical creatures that have enjoyed huge
popularity in the past two centuries, starting with the publication of Polidoriâ??s The Vampire in
1819 (Brodman and Doan 12). However, Bram stokerâ??s Dracula is the first iconic figures that
represented vampirism in the form of a literature work and received huge appreciation by the
public. Stoker included sex, marriage, good, evil, blood, and death as themes in his story.
Published in 1897, Dracula has been the definitive description of the vampire in popular fiction;
the character is shown as a blood-sucking monster who controls his victims in order to feed.
Twilight, another vampire-based novel, follows an entirely different path; Stephenie Meyer
represents vampires as superheroes who tend to not drink human blood, fighting their instinct in
order to save humans. From Stoker’s Dracula to Meyer’s Twilight Saga, the presentation of
vampires has evolved, making them more humans rather than the monsters they were usually
Bram Stoker published his novel Dracula in 1897, portraying his most famous character:
Count Dracula. It was said that Stoker got inspired to write Dracula after he dreamt about a
vampire rising from a tomb (Nussbaumer 37). The novel is about a count from Transylvania who
buys a property in England in order to get new victims. In the novel, Dracula was shown as a
gentleman; however, his character and attitude gained him both respect and fear. He was an
intellectual man, who knew many languages and learned about a lot of cultures in order to be
able to conquer as many lands. When Dracula first arrives to England, he seeks his first victim
Lucy and turns her into a vampire; Stoker uses Lucyâ??s case to showoff Draculaâ??s powers.
Dracula had so many supernatural powers like mind controls. An example of mind
control is what he does to Lucy; he makes her sleepwalk out of the house, in order for him to be
able to suck her. Moreover, he had no reflection in the mirror, no shadow, the strength of 20
men, and could change his appearance. For example, several times in the novel he showed his
ability to turn into a bat. For example, when Mina hears a bat by her window: â??Between Mina
and the moonlight flitted a great bat, coming and going in great, whirling circlesâ? (Stoker 76).
One of Draculaâ??s other supernatural powers is controlling animals such as when he ordered
wolves to prevent Jonathan Harker from escaping. Harker says, â??somewhere high overhead,
probably on the tower, I heard the voice of the Count calling in his harsh, metallic whisper. His
call seemed to be answered from far and wide by the howling of wolvesâ? (Stoker 43). .
In Stokerâ??s novel, Dracula relates to the old vampire folklore. He drinks on human blood,
leaving his victims with only two marks on the necks. To create another vampire, he has to drink
his victimsâ?? blood, but without killing them. This establishes some connection between Dracula
and his victims. This is described when Mina was able to read draculaâ??s thought after being
bitten by him. Also, Draculaâ?? weaknesses coincide with the old vampire folklore. He is repelled
by holy items, such as holy water and crucifixes, and he must get an invitation to enter a house.
Dracula can be out in the sunlight; however, his strength is then limited. To defeat Dracula, a
stake must be put in his heart and his head must be stuffed with garlic. All these features are
considered typical vampire features that represent the old vampire folklore that novels such as
Dracula and The Vampyre portrayed in the 18th and 19th century.
On the other hand, Stephanie Meyer portrayed a completely different version of the 21st
century vampire novels in Twilight. Instead of living in a dark castle, the Cullens (the vampire
family) were living in Forks, Washington, and attended a regular high school. The story is told
from the point of view of Isabella Swan who decide to live with her Father in the same town. The
vampires in this story had a small family setting, consisting of the married Couple, Esme and
Carlisle and five children: Rosalie, Emmet, Jasper, Alice, and Edward. The conflict begins when
Edward saves Bella from a car accident, and she starts to suspect that there is something wrong
with him. He is way stronger than humans; he can stop a moving car with one hand. Also, his
skin is as cold as ice along with being exceptionally pale. Therefore, she figures out that the
Cullens are vampires; however, they learned how to control their instinct in order not to drink
The Twilight-vampires are different from vampires from other literature such as Dracula.
The Cullens live together with humans in Forks; however, they move from town to town when
people start noticing that they do not age. Carlisle works as a doctor and the children go to a
regular high school. The Twilight novel contradicts the traditional vampire folklore in so many
ways. For example, instead of being destroyed by the sun, vampires in twilight sparkle and
become more beautiful in the sun. Bella says, â??Edwardâ??s skin, white despite the faint flush from
yesterdayâ??s hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in
the surfaceâ? (Johansson 20). Also, they are not repelled by holy items and do not sleep in coffins.
According to Edward, killing them is a hard task since they must cut their head and burn the
body in order to kill. To become a vampire, a vampire has to give their venom to the victim,
which will start the transformation.
Meyer Focused on a different side of the vampire character; she was more interested in
portraying social issues that faces our society, using vampire as a metaphor. For example, Bella
cannot fit in her high school and she falls in love with the other weird boy who turns out to be a
vampire. She also talks about feminism and the power of women; Bella was strong enough to
take her own decisions. She follows Eduard and insists to know his truth; she is a smart,
independent woman who didnâ??t accept no for an answer. Moreover, she mentions the problem of
orphans and their search for families. For instance, Edward is an orphan who loses his mortal
parents and joins the Cullens and transform himself into a vampire. Also, Bella shows no strong
connection to any of her parents after she suffered enough from their divorce. According to Anna
Silver’s Studies in â??Twilight Is Not Good for Maidensâ?, although the novelâ??s narrative mainly
focuses on Edward and Bella, the serious does not completely revolve around them since it sheds
light over the contemporary American family and a womanâ??s role within it. (129-131).
Other analysis suggest that the Twilight saga is a story about racial prejudice: the good
white people versus the bad dark-skinned people. In his article “Twilight if Truth,â?? Randall
Woods shows how the Cullins possess extraordinary beauty quality associated with their white
pale skin. Woods says, â??Their skin sparkles in the sunlight and their bodies are solid, perfectly
carved, and smooth, like marble statuesâ??which are white. Just as the Cullens exude purity and
kindness, they’re also strongly associated with this whitenessâ? (613). Stephenie Meyer’s use of
such metaphor enhances this claim. Same concept applies that nonwhite should be perceived by
the reader as not good which applies to the Cullen clan’s mortal enemies, the Quileute werewolf
pack who indeed were characterized with similarly alarming color coding (Woods 611-615).
The previous two examples show some sort of a timeline of how vampirisms have
evolved in literary works throughout the years. Starting from Dracula and stokerâ??s representation
of vampires as viscous monsters who live on sucking human blood and ending with Meyer and
her representation of teenage life using vampirism as a symbol for social status. While writers of
modern vampire fiction still show some influence related to Stokerâ??s Dracula, they have taken
their stories in different directions to represent their own ideas and perspectives of the 21st
century problems rather than the old 19th century ideas. In old folkloric vampire stories such as
Dracula, vampires are shown as monsters to imply the theme of fear and horror in the stories. In
Twilight, vampires are shown as superheroes who save humans and feel guilt, pain, and love.
Vampires are shown as normal teenagers who go through social issues like responsibility,
bullying, and social awkwardness. Authors will keep developing the vampire character to appeal
to the constantly changing times and cultures, but vampirism seems to have found its place in the
representation of social issues in this era. It will be interesting to see how in the future the
representation of this creature will evolve, creating new and interesting ways to use vampirism as
a symbol to imitate human-related issues.
Brodman, Barbara., and James E. Doan. The Universal Vampire Origins and Evolution of a
——Legend. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Co-Published with The Rowman &Amp ———Littlefield Pub. Group, Inc., 2013.
Johansson, Elisabeth, and Billy Gray. â??A Domesticated Vampire: How the Vampire Myth Has ——-Changed since Bram Stokerâ??s Dracula to Stephenie Meyerâ??s Twilight.â? 2010
Lyons, Deborah J. Gender and Immortality: Heroines in Ancient Greek Myth and Cult. 1997.
Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. Atom, 2005.
Nussbaumer, Janina. The Vampire in Literature: A Comparison of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and
A—-Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. 2014
Silver, Anna. â??Twilightâ? IS NOT GOOD FOR MAIDENS: GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND ———-THE FAMILY IN STEPHENIE MEYER’S â??TWILIGHTâ? SERIES.â? Studies in the Novel, ——vol. 42, no. 1/2, 2010, pp. 121â??138.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Modern Library, 1897
Woods, Randall Bennett. â??Twilight of Truth: Chamberlain, Appeasement, and the Manipulation
——of the Press (Book Review).â? The Journal of Modern History, vol. 65, no. 3, 1993, pp. 611â??
1. What do you like best about this paper? Be specific.
2. Write the thesis below. What is the subject and what is the significance of that subject?
Does the introduction catch your attention? Did it make you want to continue reading? What are your
suggestions for improving the introduction? Be specific.
What is the tone (informal, argumentative, etc.) of the paper? Does the introduction set up the tone effectively?
Does each paragraph in the body have a clear topic sentence that shows how that paragraph relates back to the
thesis? If not, mark where the topic sentences should be.
Does each paragraph in the body logically support or help to â??proveâ? the thesis? If not, mark the paragraphs
that are not topical.
How effectively is the essay organized? Does the essay move logically from one idea to the next? What are
your suggestions for structuring the essay?
Are all of the parenthetical citations done correctly, and is the Works Cited page formatted properly?
How effectively does the author integrate quotations and introduce each source? Does the author adequately
engage with the quotations and information from sources and discuss the quotationsâ?? relevance to the point?
10. How well does the conclusion reiterate and develop the thesis? Does the conclusion end with a bang? What are
your suggestions for improving the conclusion?
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