Finally Coming to Terms with My Vampire-Fandom in Butler’s Fiction

Funny enough, after reading Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood Trilogy, I became disappointed in myself. My reading of Butler’s “Fledgling” is different from any of the other texts we have read in class.  I really don’t want to say it’s because of the vampires, but I think it is… Vampire culture has been heavily discussed in class and through blog posts. Maybe “Fledgling” didn’t take me on such a ride compared Butler’s other texts because vampire culture has developed into something so romanticized over the years. I wish I read Butler’s “Fledgling” right when it got published- which I believe was 2005. Instead, I was enthralled in the Twilight saga, which also came out in 2005. I wish I knew about Butler’s works back then. But I’m not going to lie, I loved the Twilight series. I remember going through a major science-fantasy phase in middle-school, but now that I reflect, how could I consider it a major science-fantasy phase when I have never heard of Butler’s works until now?? My own self-disappointment continues. Of course, this is me wanting to take back my middle-school years, something that can never happen, but my point is this: because I became so immersed in the mainstream media of vampire fandom (Twilight), it has impacted my reading of Butler’s “Fledgling.”

Solely related to vampires, I began to read “Fledgling” like it was no big deal, like it was this romanticized piece of work. Luckily, this class opened my eyes to reading Butler’s works in an intellectual light. In some way, this class snapped me back into reality. Butler’s fiction is full of critiques towards humanity. “Fledgling” just happened to have individuals who were vampires that exposed these critique to humanity (but I’m sure Butler played with vampires purposely.) Rather than explain how Butler crafts her text, I might as well go against the grain and attach my initial thoughts on Butler’s “Fledgling.” Two things that I would like to give attention to are Bauhaus and Bela Lugosi.

Bela Lugosi is the embodiment of Count Dracula. He came to recognition when he did Broadway showings in Dracula, 1927. One of the most memorable aspects of Lugosi’s characterization of Dracula is Dracula’s accent. Lugosi is from Hungary so this where he gets his (natural) accent from. It’s interesting to see that Lugosi was such a catalyst for the representation of vampires, at least according to Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, 1897.

Bauhaus on the other hand is an English post-punk band formed in 1978. The reason why this gothic punk band comes to my mind is because they have a song called, “Bela Lugosi is Dead.” Fitting isn’t it? I have yet to understand the exact mastermind behind the lyrics, but I can assume that it is about the death of Bela Lugosi. The sound is what makes this song really chilling. It’s evident that Bauhaus wanted to give off a goth-punk sound just by listening to the first couple of minutes of the song. Bela Lugosi is such a great person for them to explore because they play with the concept of death. Bauhaus furthers their point by saying that Lugosi isn’t “really dead” because he’s portrayed as Count Dracula, making him live eternally.

Similarly to Bela Lugosi and Bauhaus, Butler creates her own world of vampires. Through her own personal knowledge of vampires, she has been able to create a whole new meaning and purpose to the myth of vampires.

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