The Vampire Is Not A New Manifestation Of The Fears Of A Society

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The vampire is not by any means a new manifestation of the fears of a society. Their presence in human culture can be traced back for centuries in human folklore. The first Anglicized representations of the creature in literature date back to the English poetry of the early 1700s, and were then followed in the fiction genre by such works as John William Polidori’s The Vampyre, Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and of course, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. For the audiences of the 18th century, vampires embodied many of the following common fears shared between the people: of illness, both mental and epidemic, of an embraced sexuality, particularly that of women’s and homosexuals’, and of foreigners. As the archetypical vampire evolved throughout the …show more content…

Butler’s vampires do not embody the fears and anxieties of the society they infiltrate; rather, Butler shifts the monstrosity from the vampiric figure to the social ills those figures face. The reader is not inspired to reject the vampire as villain but rather to demonize the systematic oppression which, in the case of Fledgling, the protagonist struggles against. The vampire then, in Butler’s work, has evolved beyond its current literary form. Science is as integral as myth in the text, and Shori, Butler’s dark-skinned, female, sanguinarian protagonist is not only a progressive creature of legend but a manufactured being blending the technology of the human body with that of the Ina. Shori cannot simply be categorized alongside many other vampires because of this distinction – she stands above and beyond, blending race and transcending concepts of creation and origin in order to forge a new identity for the vampire in literature. She truly stands as a stepping point toward the elusive cyborg – a new biological citizenship being crafted by her very existence in Butler’s universe, and what else is the cyborg but an attempt at that very determination of self? Before addressing the cyborg, the concept of the “other” and its place in Butler’s novel must be addressed as the bridge between the two theories. Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel was one of the first philosophers to define the concept of “otherness” and the “other.”

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