Carmilla’s Discreet Actions

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s story Carmilla had an intersting way of coming together, which I thought was done well. At the beginning of the book when the carriage and horses are witnessed by Laura, her father, and governess it does not seem to be an issue besides what I think is curiousness because the carriage looks “of a person of rank.” The first symbol given is the cross which are against vampires; “Just before you reach the castle drawbridge, on the route they were coming, there stands by the roadside a magnificent lime tree, on the other stands an ancient stone cross, at sight of which the horses, now going at a pace that was perfectly frightful, swerved so as to bring the wheel over the projecting roots of the tree.” This stood out to me because the it is placed in this description that to the characters would not seem to be a big deal, a tree–a stone cross. Followed directly by a crash and these interesting looking people which definitely took the characters attention.

Another discreet symbol that got my attention was what Carmilla says herself, “Good night, darling, it is very hard to part with you, but good night; tomorrow, but not early, I shall see you again.” But not early; Laura does not question her saying this, and why would she. She has a new friend and is excited to finally have company and not just any company but a girl around her ago which she has seen years before. Carmilla not being up early goes together with the sun being out. Everyone knows that Carmilla and her mother and the people she was with are mysterious, and most importantly that they will never know about them or where they are going and Carmilla does not say. I also think that is significant because they are just taken by these people when in reality these questions would have to be answered. In this part Laura’s father plays a huge role in because he adores his daughter very much, allowing and actually persuading Carmilla’s mother to allow her to stay in his home. Laura was just let down by her guest who did not arrive because she had died, so this new guest just seemed to fit right in. Laura falls in love with her new friend which makes her father happy that she is happy. When Carmilla went missing I also thought Laura’s father was kind of making an excuse for her when they checked everywhere for her.

Laura and Carmilla’s relationship stood out to me. It was very weird and actually a bit too close in a sexy way (lol). The way Laura described their interactions: “And you asked for the picture you think like me, to hang in your room,” she murmured with a sigh, as she drew her arm closer about my waist, and let her pretty head sink upon my shoulder. “How romantic you are, Carmilla,” I said” and “Her soft cheek was glowing against mine. “Darling, darling,” she murmured, “I live in you; and you would die for me, I love you so.” They are so deep, if that can describe it, mostly Carmilla though.

I do not Laura too so much, for the reason that she ever really has anyone around so maybe she does not know the right way to act or something? She does say herself how she is not all there (when the funeral passes by and Carmilla has that weird moment) but she still cherishes their friendship after all that. On top of that the power Carmilla has over her, for example putting her arm around her making her feel weak and kind of sucked into the moment. Carmilla’s beauty was also mentioned so many times in this story. Everyone thought she was a beautiful girl, and I think that had a lot to do with the characters accepting her, especially Laura.

Wanting to wake up at a certain time of the day and locking her door do seem like normal things a guest would want to do, nothing to call out. Laura even reasons with her when she sees that she gets tired easily when they go for walks. She remembers how her mother did mention she was ill. The description of Carmilla coming out of the carriage when she first arrived was also comes to her attention. She was weak, both of the governess went to her aid and she was not even aloud to go to speak to her right away because she was sensitive still. I think this story at first places the characters in a state of understanding and acceptance because although these weird things are happening around them they are not able to connect it to Carmilla being a vampire and these young girls dying. When the general arrives he gives an explanation to  the loss of his daughter, but still Laura seems to be in confusion, I believe with who Millarca being Carmilla.

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1 thought on “Carmilla’s Discreet Actions

  1. Jason Tougaw

    Ah, so the cross is a bit of foreshadowing. You make an insightful point: Carmilla works like a mystery novel, full of clues reader detect while the other characters seem oblivious to them.

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