Author Archives: Malorie

Forbidden Fruit

The idea of what vampires are was always a mystery to me.  The way they were portrayed in movies and novels was that they were these vicious blood sucking murderers that lived in secret away from the rest of the world and one thing I’ve always noticed was that vampires were always men it was very rare to come across a female vampire.  The use of a female vampire in LeFanu’s Carmilla and his way of using sexuality and eroticism in a Victorian novel through women is what makes the novel appealing.  
Usually in a Victorian era novel sexuality and eroctism is discrete and if it is openly used, its between men and women.  LeFanu takes it a step further by creating a sexual relationship between two women.  Which is totally unexpected especially for the time the novel was written.  As if this relationship between Carmilla and Laura wasn’t enough, LeFanu takes it another step further when it’s revealed that Carmilla is a vampire.  Everything about Carmilla is completely out of the ordinary for the time it is written.  The power and manipulation she has over Laura is incredible. Carmilla has a power that draws people to her. She is evil but is able to disguise herself so well that even when it’s sensed that something isn’t right about her, still  attracts Laura to her.  Which reminds me of the story of Adam and Eve, they knew what was forbidden to them but they let the evils of the devil overpower them.  Which is exactly what Carmilla is to Laura, the devil.  She can’t help but take part in the seduction, she is blinded by the evils of Carmilla and the more she tries to pull away the deeper she got sucked in.  Laura knew the relationship she shared with Carmillia wasn’t natural and frowned upon but she couldn’t help herself.  As the saying goes, “how could something so wrong, feel so right.” 
 
“Now the truth is, I felt rather unaccountably towards the beautiful stranger. I did feel, as she said, “drawn towards her”, but there was also something of repulsion. In this ambigious feeling, however, the sense of attraction immensely prevailed. She interested and won me; she was so beautiful and so describably engaging.”
 
LeFanu paved the way for many vampire novels and now they’re seen everywhere from the big screen to TV shows.  One show in particular that I feel has some influence from Carmilla is True Blood.  It is full of seduction, forbidden desires, sexuality, eroticism and unexplainable deaths.  There’s also the feeling of not being able to resist something that is known to be wrong but feels so right.  The characters of Bill and Sookie and their looked down upon open relationship is one representation of this.  But the relationship between Tara and Pam is more fitting when it comes to comparison with Carmilla.  Tara, a newly created vampire wants no part of her new lifestyle but through the manipulation and power of her maker Pam, she has no choice but to partake.  Pam is Tara’s maker because she transformed Tara from a human into a vampire in turn Tara becomes some what of a servant to Pam for the entirety if her vampire life.  She is forever indebted to Pam unless she is released by her or until one of them dies. In the world of True Blood, Carmilla would somewhat be Laura’s maker because of the power she has over her and Laura isn’t free from her until she’s dead.  Here is a clip from True Blood that shows the power and manipulation a maker has over their subject.
 

Scrooge’d

We’ve all seen our favorite shows do their own renditions of “A Christmas Carol” but have you ever stopped and asked yourself, what would the three ghost show me? After all we all have a bit of Scrooge in us whether we want to admit it or not.  We all turned down donating to a charity, missed a few shindigs a family member or friend has thrown simply because we were just in a “Bah Humbug” mood.  I personally have become quite the Scrooge around the holidays simply because I’ve worked in a retail store for six years and Christmas time felt more like doomsday for me.  Fortunately for me I made it out of working retail alive and can now truly enjoy and appreciate the joys of the holidays.
Growing up Christmas was about God and going to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, as got older it became more then just that.After reading A Christmas Carol I was surprised that the religious aspect of Christmas wasn’t really displayed, it had more of a modern twist to it.  I expected religion to be a major part of the novel because it did take place in Victorian England.  I appreciated that it was more about the joys of Christmas like giving, spending time with loved ones and being generous and kind to others.  Dickens characterization of the Crachit family really opens the readers eyes to what is truly important in life.  Having wealth means nothing if you don’t have anyone to share it with.  If the Crachit’s don’t make you appreciate life for the little things I don’t know what will.  The Crachit’s are the perfect way to bring anyone back to reality who get wrapped in the craziness of the holiday season who let buying the perfect get in the way of spending time with loved ones.
The use of the ghosts helps people to take the time to step of themselves and and take the time to re evaluate the person they become.  The ghost of Christmas past who represents memory, shows Scrooge that he was once a kind hearted person which gets him to question himself about why he’s become the way he is. The ghost takes him in a step by step journey through his life showing him how he went from loving person to a greedy business man.  Don’t you wish you were the ghost of  Christmas past and bring the Scrooge in your life on a journey through time to bring them back to reality?  I know I do.  With the ghost of present helps Scrooge to have empathy for the people he thought so little of.  He is brought to the Crachit’s home and sees how they are living and what they go through and they still are kind and loving to one another while he has achieved everything he’s wanted too and is still a grumpy old man.  The Crachit’s are Dickens way of showing how the poor are just swept underneath the table because of their social status and open the readers eyes to what is happening in world.  Even in today’s society it’s easy to just walk past a homeless person on the street and not have a second thought on what their lives are like.  But if people took the time to speak to them maybe they would see that they are not much different then anyone else they just have bigger problems and find a way to help even it’s small.  Lastly the ghost of Christmas yet to come shows him how his past actions have led him to not be respected even as a deadman. Your legacy is made by the person you were while you were alive and Scrooge wasn’t the best person so it was no surprise that people were cursing his name when he died.  Dickens wrote the perfect manual on how to be a a good person in the world but disguised it as a Christmas Carol.  Each ghost represented a different part of life and showed what values should be held a a higher standard and those that shouldn’t be as important.  Dickens wrote a timeless piece that could be relatable to anyone of any generation.  Now again I ask, what would the three ghost show you?

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

The opening five chapters of Jane Eyre, we are introduced to the novels narrator a young orphan who is under the care of her aunt Mrs. Reed.  Jane is treated unfairly due her status of being an orphan and is even considered lower then a servant.  There are few instances where she experiences kindness through one of the servants, Bessie.  I see Jane as a very determined girl and keeps her faith and beliefs very near to her heart no matter where life takes her.  She is just a girl trying to find her place in the world.  Jane is looking for an escape to find her own freedom and each time she feels that she has found a place where she could be free, she is wrong.  When presented with the opportunity to go to a school that would take her out of the Reed household, Jane is more then ready to experience what she thinks to be some type of freedom.  Only to learn that she may have just as bad or worse than what she experienced living with her aunt.

As I read this novel it reminded me of a movie I was saw called Hanna.  Hanna is also an orphan who is being raised by her father away from any type of civilization deep in the forests of Europe where her father has trained her to be an assassin.  Like Jane, Hanna just wants to find her place in the world and ends up on mission across Europe where she finds that everything isn’t what she thought it would be and secrets about her own identity are revealed to her as she fights to stay alive.  As the novel continues the reader learns that Jane also finds out about secrets that will eventually be revealed to her.

I felt that Jane and Hanna were similar because they are both two young girls that just wanted acceptance in a world they haven’t fully understood yet and to feel apart of something and not just be an outsider.  They both felt that if they left the place they were most comfortable in they would find something better which they both find out the harder way that sometimes there isn’t always something better.  Eventually they both find what they are looking for and come to some sort of peace with themselves.  Both girls stay true to everything that they’ve learned, they mature quickly but still remain true to their original beliefs and adjust themselves accordingly to the circumstances they face.

Besides Jane and Hanna a few characters from the novel and film have similarities.  Helen Burns, who befriends Jane at the Lowood School and accepts Jane for who she is compares to Sophie of the film, who Hanna meets along the way of her travels across Europe.  Both characters are accepting of the two girls,  Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst, who were most cruel to Jane, have similar characteristics to Marissa Wiegler of the film who also is very cruel to Hanna.  Bessie Lee and Sophie’s mother are comparable because these to woman take the time to get a deeper understanding of the two girls and get to experience a kindness they have never known through these women.

The main comparison that I made between Jane and Hanna was when I across this quote from later on in the novel in chapter 23, “Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you, – and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you!” 

Which is said by Jane to Mr. Rochester when she finds out he will marry another woman and she most leave Thornfield.  I felt this was comparable to Hanna because Marissa Wiegler didn’t see Hanna as a real person that had feelings and free will she was just seen as an experiment that had to be kept a secret.  Hanna has her moment when she doesn’t let Marissa stop her from continuing on her original mission.  Because of Jane’s past it was hard for people to see her as equal to them and finally part of society.  This was a huge statement for Jane to make because she was finally feeling like she has found her place in the world and felt belonging and everything she overcame in her past was being thrown back in her face.  This statement by Jane shows that even though she thought she had found freedom and equality she wasn’t going to stay in a place where they still viewed her and below them so she continued on to find her place in the world.

 

 

Although the novel would have to be read in its entirety for this comparison to be fully understood, I feel that once you have it would all make a bit more sense.  I ended up reading most of the novel when I came across this preview, that made me a bit curious to what will happen in the novel.