Title page for ETD etd-12082011-152758

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Hoosain, Shakira
Email shakirahoosain@gmail.com
URN etd-12082011-152758
Document Title In the shadow of the night : the gendered subtext of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisor Name Title
Ms M A Brown Supervisor
  • Anne Rice
  • The Vampire Lestat
  • vampire chronicles
  • vampire fiction
  • feminism
  • queer theory
  • archetypes
  • fantasy
  • popular fiction
  • The Queen of the Damned
  • Interview with the Vampire
Date 2011-09-08
Availability unrestricted
Anne Rice writes popular fiction. She is best known for her iconic Vampire Chronicles series. This thesis focuses on the first three volumes of this series: Interview with the Vampire (1976), The Vampire Lestat (1985), and The Queen of the Damned (1988).

The main objective of this thesis is to show that whilst Rice's novels often seem very liberal, an examination of her subtext reveals a conservative message. This message helps entrench socio-cultural and political hegemonies because it does not challenge the status quo.

In order to see how these conservative leanings are entrenched by Rice, this thesis examines archetypes of the female and the Feminine. Louis is male, but can be viewed as a Feminine character because of his meek subservience to Lestat (the protagonist of the series). Claudia is their daughter, but she is also a woman trapped in a child's body. Claudia seems to have great intellectual freedom, but she is trapped within her body and cannot mature. Gabrielle is Lestat‟s mother. When Gabrielle becomes a vampire, Rice tries to empower Gabrielle by androgynizing her character. However, we find that this androgyny is not empowering because Gabrielle returns to her role as a mother. Akasha is the ancient queen and source of vampirism. She wants to bring about a radical, gynocentric world by killing most men. But subtextually, Akasha‟s defeat represents the defeat of feminism in favour of patriarchy. Despite the seemingly liberal nature of the texts, subtextually there is a trend towards negating the power these characters carry in the text.

To explore the flux between the text and the subtext, an array of post-modern reading tools and theoretical approaches have been used. The primary reading strategies include a close reading of the novels, informed by Feminist perspectives, together with other reading strategies such as, Queer Theory, Marxism, deconstruction and the role of the Fantastic.

Little academic study has been devoted to Rice‟s work. Her work shows deep philosophical and artistic integrity which lends an elegance and beauty to her texts, but this is undermined by the conservative undertones of her work.

© 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Hoosain, S 2011, In the shadow of the night : the gendered subtext of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-12082011-152758 / >


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