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Essay/Term paper: Stoker and rice's books about vampires

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Essays

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Stoker and Rice's Books About Vampires

Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anne Rice's series The Vampire Chronicles are
books about vampires. The way the two authors write about the vampires' powers,
the way they live and how they are created and destroyed prove that two books
about the same subject can be different in many ways. It also shows how the
vampire legend has evolved over a long period of time.
Special powers are used in both of the authors writings. A few of the
powers are the same, or very close to it, in each account. enhaced or super-
human strenth is one of these abilites. On page 7 in Anne Rice's book The
Vampire Lestat, her main chacter Lestast says "As for my strength, well it was
three times what it had once been. I could bend a copper penny double." After
becoming a vampire he notices his super human strength. Not much is written
about Stoker's use of super-strength for Count DraculaTherefore, One tends to
believe that Dracula in fact did not have enhanced strength. Stoker did use the
power of morphing into animals in his novel. In Dracula , the Count can morph
into a bat and he can turn into a greyish-green mist. He uses these powers so
humans dont detect his presence. As a gas he can pass by humans without them
even noticing and as a bat he can cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.
Rice's novels mention nothing of being able to morph into a bat, mist or
anything else for that matter.
The ability to fly is used in each novel but they are used very
differently. In Dracula the count can fly but, in order to do this he must
turn into a bat and fly as a bat would fly. More powerful vampires in The
Vampire Chronicles can fly as , for example, super man would fly. In order for
a vampire to fly it requires lots of energy and a great force of will Lestat
says " It was as if a current of air had caught me. I went up hundereds of feet
in one instant, and then the clouds were below me-a white light that I could
scarcely see. I decided to drift." (Rice, Queen of the damned 286)
Mental powers are used extensivly in both of the authors' creations.
Mind reading is common in The Vampire Chronicles. Vampires in the Chronicles can
not read the minds of vampires they themselves have created or minds that are
skillfully cloaked against them. Being able to read the minds of mortals allows
them to manipulate their victims. They can also hypnotize and scramble the
thoghts of mortals, as when Lestat takes a drink from a victim and makes so that
she will not remember it. When speaking with one another and when giving their
powerful blood, they can provide full-blown images of their past experiences.
Vampires can move objects at will, such as when they open doors or locks, or
when shoving another vampire away without touching them. "When I saw he wouldn't
move, my anger and out of me like an invisible fist. And I saw him moved
backwards as if the fist had struck him." (Rice, The vampire Lestat 265) In
Dracula hypnotism is mentioned. This is where the phrase "look into my eyes"
was probably coined from. Like Lestat, Dracula has the ability to change the
will of other people. In Dracula , Jonathen Harker is a guest in the counts
castle. After a while Jonathen becomes suapicious of the counts activities. He
then becomes scared and uncomfortable and he wants to leave . Through will
changing the count makes Jonathen feel comfortable and he unknowingly keeps him
as a prisoner. The powers of the vampires mildly differs between the two
authors. Obviously Rice, because she wrote an entire series of novels not just
one, has more space to descibe the indivdual abilities of the main vampires in
her series. Stoker on the other hand wrote only one book about Dracula therfore
his chacter is described in less detail than are Rices.
The vampires way of life, unlike special abilities, is a great source of
conflict. The modern age Anne Rice and the classic old english Bram Stoker have
different views on the settings, travel, contact with people and other vampires,
and the way the vampires feel and express emotions in their novels.
What comes to your mind when you think of the words "vampire country"?
If you thought of castles in the middle of nowhere and countries with names you
cant even pronounce let alone know where they are, then Bram Stoker doesnt
dissappoint you. Stoker's novel takes place in and around Transylvania . Raymond
McNally says of Transylvania "At first, like many americans, I assumed that this
was some mythical place. I found out , however , that it is a province, a
historical region of western Romania bounded by the Carpathian mountains"
(McNally 1). The eerie atmosphere adds to the mystery of the story. In
Transylvania Count Dracula resides in huge, stone castle. The castle has come
to be known as Castle Dracula . In Dracula , Johnathen Harker writes in his
journal "I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact location of
the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to compare with
our own ordinance survey maps; but I found that Bistritz, the post named by
Count Dracula, is a fairly well known place" (Stoker 2). In contrast, Rice
sets her story in the modern world. New Orleans is the main area which her story
takes place. Her vampires like to live in houses rather than castles. This now
brings up the subject of contact with people. Lestat likes to talk to people, he
finds that if you dress as a mortal you can easily pass as one. This also makes
finding a victim alot easier. Stoker ahd his Count more or less lure victims
into his castle or he would fly into town as a bat and feed on unsuspecting
passersby. Count Dracula also had a harem of five female vampires living with
him in his castle. Other than that there is no mention of contact with other
vampires. Actually there is no mention of any other vampires that exist in the
world Stoker created. Anne Rice, obviously with more space to explore her
vampires, made an entire world of vampires living incognito with mortals. She
actually has a family tree of vampires which decends from a vampire in ancient
Egypt. Her vampires can be found in every country and area in her novels. This
is made possible because traveling is very easy for her vampires. Dracula can as
long as he takes some of his native soil and his coffin. Without these he would
perish. This is actually the key to his demise. In his attempt to move from
Transylvania to England, Dracula has some of his native soil loaded into crates
along with his coffin loaded onto a ship. After they arrive he has them taken to
another castle he has chosen. The vampire hunters, Proffesor Abraham Van Helsing
and Doctor John Seward find where the crates were delivered to. after plotting
their course they proceed to find the castle and destroy Dracula while he was
sleeping in his coffin. Rice's vampires seem to be more human than Stoker's they
have more freedom and seem less like monsters. "Rice's immortals are beautiful,
do not live in graves, do not avoid garlic, and can see their reflections in
mirrors. According to Anne, in catholic theology, the inability to see one
reflection means that the soul is in hell, and she did not want her vampires to
have any better assurance of god than mortals" (Mascetti 86). Her vampires
ability to feel emotion separates her from every other novelist on this subject.
The only emotions Stoker shows in his novel his desire. Dracula wants a woman
named Lucy Westenra and will stop at nothing to get her. This shows the
evolution of the vampire myth over a period of about seventy-five years. Rices
stories are much more modern, not onnly in setting and the characters abilities
but als in the way the vampires act and think.
Aside from the subject of the vampires emotions, the biggest conflict
comes when you talk about how the vampires in each novel are created and
destroyed. The strange thing about Stokers noval is that he never says how the
Count was created. Its as if he was just there. Dracula does have the ability to
create other vampires however. We know this because of the fact that he made the
five women vampires that share his castle with him. He also turns the object of
his desire, Lucy Westenra, into a vampire in an attempt to keep her by his side
forever. His plans fails when Lucy's husband kills her for her own good and for
the good of others. Anne Rice creates all of the vampires in her novel in an
Adam and Eve sort of way. The first vampire Akasha was a sorcerer in Egypt
through magic she transformed herself into a vampire. Akasha then creates her
husband Enkil by trnsfusing her blood with his. Through time the two created
more vampires and the ones they created made more vampires. Thus creating about
a thousand or so vampires in the world. making a mortal a vampire is a tricky
process in both novels the process is basically the same except Rice gives a
more detailed description. making a vampire involves draining the chosen mortal
to the point of death-just before the heart stops-so that the powerful vampire
blood can take hold and fuse with the heart. The process is risky because the
vampire thirsts for the human heart and might drinkuntil the heart stops and the
mortal dies. Plus anything less than taking the blood until the heart stops
would result in hybrids which are more monster than human, or avampire that is
too weak to survive. The vampire then gives his blood to the mortal, depleting
himself until he is greatly exhausted. Rices vampires more frequently perform
this than in Stokers novel. In Dracula the count only does this once when he
attemps to make Lucy a Vampire. Dracula is overall a more simpler novel than
any one of Rices creations. Her books go into great detail on almost any subject
that concerns vampires. Rice even changes some aspects of the vampire myth in
order to accomodate her characters and her visions for them. Stoker simply takes
the vampire myth and creates a novel about a vampire with these attributes.
Although the birth of the vampires and how they are created have some
similarities the manner in which they are destroyed and repelled holds many
differences. As mentioned before Rice changes some aspects of the vampire legend.
This is where most of those changes occur. A vampire in Rice's series named
Louis says this of an old legend "Nonsense my friend, sheer nonsense. I can look
at anything I like. And I rather like looking at crucifixes in particular"(Rice,
Interview with the Vampire 23). In Dracula however there is this excerpt "The
count suddenly stopped and cowered back. Further and Further back he cowered, as
we, lifting our crucifixes, advanced"(Stoker 271). according to legend, death to
a vampire can be caused by few different methods. Stoker uses the fact that
Death can be caused by fire, sunlight, and stake through the heart.


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