Thirsty for more vampires? Monsters part 3

28Mar10

Back to M. T. Anderson‘s Thirsty. I’ve talked about how deftly the reader is led into a world where vampires are real, where vampires are killed publicly on recognition because if you are a vampire and you are alive, you are a murderer. And we see that world through the eyes of the protagonist. {SPOILER ALERT . . . I’M GOING TO TELL YOU THE PLOT ( BECAUSE I WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF THE MONSTER)}.

As Chris starts to talk about vampires, he speaks in third person. At the emotional peak of the paragraph, he switches to second person. “If you are a vampire . . .” He brings that possibility closer yet to the reader. One paragraph later, Chris eats his McNuggets and the pieces keep sticking in his throat. Anderson moves us away from reality toward unnatural horror one baby-step at a time.

After each step toward horror, there is a step back to everyday reality, but it does not make the reader feel safer; it grounds the unnatural in reality and makes it seem that much more real. Chris has a crush on Rebecca; the more human Chris is, the more terrible the fact that he is becoming a vampire. Chris fights with Tom because Tom insults Rebecca, and as they roll in the mud at the shore of the lake, Chris sees that he has no reflection in the water. Chris is a vampire.

Here we feel the pain. There is the sense that we feel a hunger we can’t quite control and for which we have no outlet. When we see someone we want to get close to, our teeth (or other body parts) slide forward embarrassing us. At this point, the monster is our own emerging sexuality, and we fear it . . . but there’s more for the next post.

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