Modern vampires, zombies reflect changing times

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Washington, Aug 9 (ANI): Vampires and zombies, both of which have become a popular phenomenon, are more than just a part of pop culture. They reflect the changing society, says a leading researcher.

According to Temple English Professor Peter Logan, vampires were popular during the nineteenth century.

Varney, the Vampire (1847), was an aristocrat who walked around in daylight, but he needed the moonlight to survive.

"The classic scene during this time is of a weakened vampire soaking up the moonlight and being revivified," said Logan.

At the end of the nineteenth century came the Bram Stoker's Dracula who reflected a changed social environment in which the British Empire was at its height and conflicts with the colonies in Africa and Asia were a major concern.

"For these changed times, Count Dracula is still an aristocrat, but he is also an outsider from the fringe of Europe, and he brings his mysterious ways to London, the heart of England and the centre of the empire," Logan added.

Some critics view this as a reflection of English fears of being "contaminated" by a colonial culture that is very different, in which case the story warns about maintaining the imagined "purity" or homogeneity of England.

Logan said in the past, vampires could feel rage, but not romantic love, and they didn't have sex. The fact that they do now accounts for this recent surge in popularity.

They are not just metaphorically erotic-in True Blood, its standard sex; but it's between human and a paranormal.

"It's the same in Twilight. Although, it's never fully acted upon, Twilight is still a typical Boy meets Girl story," he added.

The vampires are now able to love and have come out in the open.

"This change in the vampires and the story lines may be a reflection of our changing attitudes toward heterogeneity. Instead of fearing contamination, we are learning to accept differences," said Logan.

"In True Blood and Twilight, the vampires are a projection of our cultural hopes and fears onto the figure of a person who is very different than us. The vampire is a good figure for capturing that," he added.

Another example of nineteenth century culture currently in circulation is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

According to Logan, zombies were already present in Pride and Prejudice if you read between the lines. Jane Austen's world was a paternalist one where women were constantly threatened by seducers and the consequences of pregnancy outside of marriage really were life and death.

"In novels, an unwed mother would be forced into a life of prostitution in order to support her illegitimate child and would die a pauper in a beggar's house. In this sense, then, the men were predators," he said.

Looking at the work from today's perspective, fighting zombies is the perfect metaphor for the life of a modern woman who is already working both inside and outside the home. (ANI)

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