|Ceri B. (ceri) wrote,|
@ 2009-08-20 11:05 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||art and craft, la vie trans, sf/f/h|
How else to start but by defining terms?
When I write about things serving as symbols and images, I mean something specific but a little hard to articulate. I do not mean allegory: I don't much like allegory, and can only thoroughly engage with fiction where things are first and foremost, themselves. What I like as an extra layer, though, is when the fictional things, which are themselves, evoke something about the real world. A lot of the fantasy, sf, and horror I like says things about reality by giving what is in reality just states of mind a more tangible meaning.
So, vampires. Take Stoker's Dracula. Dracula is a vampire, not an allegory of something. But he caught on in late Victorian England partly because he was also a great embodiment of a lot of Victorian fears about sex, that it was thing which had great power but was innately defiling and ultimately corrupting to society as a whole. Anne Rice successfully re-riffed on the theme, building a foundation of innate glamour partly because we're less inclined to think of sex as innately yucky, but reworking the corrupting force within and without.
I've been thinking lately that vampires can also serve as symbols of transsexuality. Consider. They are, first of all, exotic, and fit no easy standard category. They're rare. They're strange: they don't quite fit into society, though they can go disguised for a time. They can be deeply glamorous, but they are ultimately dangerous, and normal people must rally to defeat them. They are parasitic, dependent for their continued existence on resources others give, or are compelled to give. They're imposters, having only a semblance of what all normal people have for real—vitality, in the case of vampires, of course.