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Blood ties: Southern vampires in True Blood

Date

2015-01-26

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Degree Level

Masters

Abstract

In recent years, the figure of the vampire has proliferated in American literature and media. According to Stephen King, creatures of horror such as vampires appear cyclically in cultural representations to exorcise social anxieties and to cope with periods of acute crisis. In Nina Auerbach’s view, vampires are powerful representations of social critique who adapt themselves to different cultures and historical times. Against this background, I will analyze how the modern American vampire intersects with contemporary American culture in the TV series True Blood. Because the setting of this media text is the American South, my approach will be regional. I will highlight the characteristics of this area of the United States by discussing the different cultural values embodied by the Southern vampires. I will investigate how the representation of these modern vampires is an expression of the American regional past due to its connections with an important historical moment: the American Civil War. This framework will help me explain why regional vampires embody specific cultural values, and I will show how these characters are peculiar because they offer opposite portrayals simultaneously produced within the same culture. In order to highlight the cultural aspects emerging from True Blood, I will frame my analysis through the lenses of capitalism and race. These two focal points will allow me to discuss contemporary American culture and its contradictions.

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Keywords

vampires, vampire narratives, cinema, Charlaine Harris, Southern Vampire Mysteries, True Blood, American South, Interview with the Vampire, Civil War, United States, capitalism, Marx, racism, slavery

Citation

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

English

Program

English

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