Date of Award

4-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

English (M.A.)

Department

English

First Advisor

Kathleen M. Blumreich

Second Advisor

Jo E Miller

Third Advisor

Robert Rozema

Academic Year

2019/2020

Abstract

The inclusion of children within Gothic and horror fiction has always been regarded as untoward because children are vulnerable to misrepresentation. However, excluding children from transgressive genres eliminates a space where childhood can be critically analyzed. Fortunately, authors such as Stephen King, Anne Rice, and John Ajvide Lindqvist break the taboo through the inclusion of children in vampiric narratives. These narratives encourage readers to question the social narrative of childhood within the context of vampire stories. Through an examination of ‘Salem’s Lot (King, 1975), “Popsy” (King, 1987), Interview with the Vampire (Rice, 1976), and Let the Right One In (Lindqvist, 2007) this paper will reveal the detrimental effects of adherence to the Western conception of childhood. The inclusion of child vampire characters in each novel unveils society’s attempt to perpetuate a submissive definition of childhood. Ultimately, my goal is to demonstrate how the social narrative of childhood utilizes monstrous children to maintain a dangerous imbalance of power between adults and children.

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