Through the eyes of a vampire: the effects of rhetorical context in two of Anne Rice's vampire chronicles
Reynolds, Sandra S.
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VAMPIRE: The very word evokes fear in most readers. And yet, since the mid-1970s, the vampire in literature has become a more sympathetic character. Not only do the roots of our traditional perception of the vampire as the embodiment of evil lie in the history of the literary vampire, but also the reasons for that current change and the rhetorical effect of context. Our modern perception of character insists that the reader consider such matters as the extenuating circumstances of situations, the dynamics of scene and action, and the interplay of protagonist and antagonist. By comparing Bram Stoker's Dracula with Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat, I have found that context affects the reader's perception of the character and that even deeply ingrained ideas, such as the evilness of vampires, can be affected and perhaps even altered by rhetorical perspective.