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The Redemption of VampiresThe Redemption of Vampires

The Redemption of Vampires

The problem with Edward and Bella—and most other surfacing stories of the undead—is that the seductiveness of the vampire is glorified, not condemned. Even in Bram Stoker's original masterpiece, Mina feels nothing but wretchedness after being taken by Dracula; she dedicates herself to his destruction after the fact.

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Topics: Literature
The Redemption of Vampires April 12, 2010  |  By Alissa Wilkinson
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In that "other magazine I edit," I published an article on Friday about the problem with Twilight:

The problem with Edward and Bella—and most other surfacing stories of the undead—is that the seductiveness of the vampire is glorified, not condemned. Even in Bram Stoker's original masterpiece, Mina feels nothing but wretchedness after being taken by Dracula; she dedicates herself to his destruction after the fact. Bella, on the other hand, takes a taste of damnation and decides to roll it around on her tongue for the rest of eternity. (An unfortunate irony, no doubt driven by the success of such stories, is that one of Bram's descendents recently tarnished the revered name Stoker by publishing a sequel to Dracula which consists mostly of bloody lesbian sex, glorified alcoholism and morphine addiction, and, like Twilight, the choice to turn to the darkness for the sake of love.)

What's worse is that both the Dracula sequel and Twilight are only extreme examples of a phenomenon happening to the modern vampire—indeed, even the modern monster—the world over. In our consumerist culture of sex and excess, fear has taken a backseat to desire. Monsters suddenly have feelings. Where feelings remain neglected, gore, sexuality, and general debauchery act as the springboards for tainted stories of torture and abuse, while other tales of misplaced redemption impair our ability to recognize evil for what it really is.

I should say this up front: I haven't read Twilight (nor, indeed, Dracula), and I probably won't any time soon. My complaints with Twilight are mostly hearsay from other people: they're not well written, they're teaching teenagers very questionable things about the nature of love and desire, and on it goes. But I loved this piece, and I thought it was rather perceptive about the problem with making evil seductive.

That said, I've seem some chatter 'round the net about how we ought to be open to the idea of the "redeemed vampire," which I understand, to an extent.

So I ask, to those who dare to admit to having read them: what do you think of this piece? Do you think there's a place for the redemption of vampires? And if so, do you think that's what's happening in Twilight and its ilk?

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