Monstrous Desires In Karen Russell's 'Vampires In The Lemon Grove'

1014 WordsOct 22, 20175 Pages
Monstrous desires are not as exclusive as one might think, and in Karen Russell’s short story “Vampires in the Lemon Grove,” we come to recognize that, despite the fact that the two main characters, Clyde and Magreb, are actual vampires, their “monstrous” urges are all too familiar- perhaps even quintessentially human. In fact, with careful analysis, specifically through psychological criticism, we, as readers of “Vampires in the Lemon Grove,” can see that by understanding psychological urges of the subconscious (in accordance to Freud’s theories), that the “monsters” are just as vulnerably human as the rest of us. We come to understand specific psychological needs such as desire, hunger, and the psychological need for hope and…show more content…
In Texts and Context, Steven Lynn writes “psychological criticism depends on bringing to consciousness the hidden fears and desires that disturb and control” the text at hand. When looking at the character Clyde through a psychological lens, using Freud’s theories can be useful, specifically Freud’s theories on the unconscious repression. Repression is defined as “the rejection from consciousness of painful or disagreeable ideas, memories, feelings, or impulses.” Clyde hides his thoughts on how the lemons are no longer working, he hides his growing loneliness, he wants something more- he represses his emotions that he deems too monstrous. In his book The Interpretation of Dreams Freud wrote, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” We can see that Clyde proves Freud right when he accidentally reverts back to drinking blood by the end of the story, and he might not have if he had really sat down and talked with Magreb about his fears and desires. In the end, his actious are that of desires, desire to fulfil his repressed loneliness and thirst for life and fulfillment, when looking at her after the movie, he says, “the hum of her young life around me makes it difficult to think.” The hum of her young open life reminds Clyde of his own empty one. Of his unmet desires and loneliness, and he tries to fix it through impulse. We can see Clyde’s repressed loneliness when he talks Fila and

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