Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Justine Van Meter
Over the expanse of centuries, human society has created monsters in order to give a physical form to their abstract fears. Society has gone from speaking of them in oral traditions to watching them on a screen in more recent decades, but the written works of these monstrosities have occurred in the multitudes across multiple eras. The globalized monster I have chosen to focus on here is the vampire. Said vampires are witnessed as changing over time to adjust to the awakening or loss of certain human fears, distresses, and perceived threats—whether that be war, religion, race, etc. While the basic pillars of their image remain similar to their predecessors, the vampires of now have greatly evolved outside of the monster’s stereotyped performance and role in human society. What this work aims to accomplish is a comparison between different eras of the vampire literary lineage and how these vampires represent the fears—or sometimes the unspoken desires—of that human generation. Within this paper I will be examining six vampire novels, three of the past and three of more current times. For each novel, I will showcase how that book’s formation of the vampire character mirrors particular devices of fear within that space. I want to draw a comparison to reveal the evolution of not only the vampire monster but fear itself.
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Phelps, Mackenzie K. Fear Then and Now: The Vampire as a Reflection of Society. 2021. Chapman University, MA Thesis. Chapman University Digital Commons, https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000287