1. Most people know that vampires don’t exist. The interest in vampire literature, therefore, derives not from the study of any physical reality but from the metaphorical sense of what vampires represent. The leading scholars of this genre agree that vampire literature allows us to play out our fears, especially since it tends to rise in popularity during times of great social change.
J. R. Ward (the pen name of Jessica Bird) published Dark Lover, the first novel in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, in 2005. It was an instant success. What type of social change in America was underway at that time that the Brothers and their foes, the Lessers, might represent?
You might also consider that Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, the first novel in her vampire series, was also published in 2005.
As discussed in class today, the war on terrorism was in full effect when this book was published. I can see the Brotherhood representing the terrorist and the Lessers representing the military. The Lessers in the novel are trained to seek out and kill the vampires, which the military is also trained to seek out any terrorist and kill or capture them.
I think Ward was speaking out during this time about the war. Because the vampires are portrayed as sex symbols and ultimately as “good guys”, I think that she is using them in a way to show how people are taking this war to an extreme. I am not saying that terrorism is bad, but I feel that Ward is using this to show that American’s view on Middle Easterners in general is so general, that they believe all people who come from the Middle East are bad and are terrorist. This stereotype of Middle Easterners is turned around when it comes to the vampires in that she is portraying the vampires in a more positive light, showing that not all vampires have to be scary and terrible. For instance, she has them feeding on each other to live, rather than feeding on humans. They are also portrayed as sex symbols and are described in a way that makes them appealing and desirable. I think that Ward is trying to point out that issue during the time of war that we have began to view all Middle Eastern people as terrorist.