95 The World is a Vampire

Dalton Puffer

Yes, I am referencing to The Smashing Pumpkins Bullet with Butterfly Wings.

Why did this come to mind? Well, as I read the last part of Uriah Derick D’Arcy’s The Black Vampire titled MORAL., I came to realization that this is just what the world is for D’Arcy. The world is a vampire. And as frontman Billy Corgan wrote,

“The world is a vampire, sent to drain–Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames–And what do I get for my pain?–Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game”

Okay, now that is great and all, but let us put the pieces together. In think of this vampiric puzzle, I sought to utilize the terms of vampirism and ecology. Now, with the two terms, I am going to be using them with these definitions in mind: Vampirism is the state of something which extracts the essence of another thing. It’s a bit vague, but accurate. Ecology is going to be defined as “the relationship between all things”. That is, there is a give and take and everything is connected somehow, even if it be minuscule. Now on to the analysis.

IN this happy land of liberty and equality, we are free from all traditional superstitions, whether political, religious, or otherwise. Fiction has no materials for machinery; Romance no horrors for a tale of mystery. Yet in a figurative sense, and in the moral world, our climate is perhaps more prolific than any other, in enchanters,—Vampyres, and the whole infernal brood of sorcery and witchcraft. (41)

As with the rest of this story, The Black Vampire is heavily ironic and sarcastic. If you look in the first sentence of the provided quote, you can see that. D’Arcy does not believe that the U.S. is a “happy land of liberty and equality… from from all traditional superstitions.” In the beginning, they attempt to “charitably” murder the previous slave vampire for being black and weak (16). And when he survives, the murderous white man becomes intimidated and angry that a person of color has struck fear in him.

I digress. What does this passage have to do with vampirism and ecology? Well, I use this for ecology. Everything is give and take, and everything is connected. This connection is very literally shown through the slave boy coming back and punishing his attemptdaltoned murderer. Though here we see it more gently. They are not exempt from the “traditional superstitions” as their “climate is perhaps more prolific than any other.” The U.S., at it’s current state, was a place of economic struggle and lasting racism. Those who oppressed people of color for the idea of them being less formulated absurd superstitions of said people for all they did was react to the racism that they had to deal with. These were mechanisms of coping. Ecologically speaking, the actions of the slavers led to the reaction of the slaves.

“And I, who, as Johnson said of an hypochondriac Lady, “have spun this discourse out of my own bowels,” and made as free with those of others—I am a VAMPYRE!” (42)

Again, the world is a vampire. Rebirthing the definition from above, vampirism is based on something extracting essence (i.e. life, or force) from something else. This is deeply intertwined with ecology. Everything is connected, everything gives and takes. Though, the vampire only takes for the self, not for anything else. Everyone is a vampire to D’Arcy. Before this quote–which is the ending to the story–there lies an entire page of different members of society who take and how/why they take.

The best part is that, for D’Arcy, the vampires may be of any race; not just black, and not just white. They all take selfishly. It may be said that some take for better reasons than the other, but nonethless, it is for the self. The author, for this purpose, literally drags them self into the story as to show this message is about the real world. D’Arcy exclaims “I am a VAMPYRE!” What does that exclamation mean? It means I take often, and I take for myself.

To summarize, I feel like these passages really stick to my overall idea of American Literature that–as you know–has not really changed greatly. They carry on the discourse of the society and cultures of the U.S. in yet another portrayal. The Gothic I feel was a reaction to the darkness that currently resided in the country.


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The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature: A PSU-Based Project Copyright © 2016 by Dalton Puffer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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