Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Day 16 on IWTV: Happiness, and Claudia

Louis, led by Lestat, goes out for a walk in the night. He is leering from the experience of killing the woman back at the hotel. He attests that he only experiences peace when he is drinking blood from a human. But one fleeting moment that I would call peaceful was when he paused and became aware of the sound of flowing water.

How Louis described it made me cry. I know full well what he means. We have a moment of pure stillness, clarity, when we are where we are fully, and we experience what we experience. And those moments are suddenly gone and we don't know how to get them back. A moment of peace outside of the kill. Louis had a taste. The only conscious way for him, a vampire, to get a regular dose of that peace was to kill. And he could not bear it! What a miserable person. Did Lestat really choose the wrong companion? Louis said that Lestat chose him because of his plantation. But if that were the only reason what had kept Lestat from choosing other plantation owners, like say, the young Freniere, for example? Maybe Lestat had other reasons too, for choosing Louis.

What those are, we may never find out.

Lestat says that evil is a point of view, and compares vampires to God or angels. I recall what Louis said, that all aesthetic choices are moral decisions. We see the most dangerous embodiment of this statement in Lestat. But do you find yourself agreeing with Lestat? Even so, you wouldn't confess to being evil, would you?

Louis's nightmare landscape
Have you ever had a dream that you were in hell? I recall two such dreams. Both had the same quality. Utter darkness. Everything illuminated only by a dull, grey, dim sheen. In one, I was very young when I dreamt this, I was separated from my companions. It was a long, long parade from the cemetery. It was the Feast of All Saints. I didn't have a candle with me. Soon I realized that this procession led to a deadend wall, and that I could not trust anyone there to ask for their help to find my way.

In another dream years later, I was separated from my girlfriend (now my wife) in a dark city. There was a gang of devils on an army jeep. They had daggers in their hands and horrid masks on their faces. They danced about, their arms flung about like a spinning top, ready to stab anyone who came dangerously close. I tried to hide behind a wall, but I saw that my girlfriend was in the devils' murderous path. They caught me and I got wounded, but I couldn't die. I was to suffer the wound forever in that Hell, separated and alone and helpless.

I recall that I had those dreams at a time in my life that I was deeply religious, fervent in my desire for God and being good, afraid to commit sin. I said my prayers. And yet those dark dreams.

The making of Claudia
I can fill pages and pages about this episode. But I have to say that the many times I re-read Interview, this part has never failed to make me shudder. I had a hand to my mouth as if suppressing a groan. This has proved Lestat to be truly monstrous.

I wonder if Louis came out to be as predatory as Lestat, would we have needed all this grotesque lessons at being a vampire? Prey on slaves. Prey on whores. Now prey on a girl. It just goes against all human sensibility!

Do I respond this way because I have a five-year-old daughter? Because I teach Sunday School at church? Or simply because desecrating a child's innocence goes against every fiber of a moral society? I am not sure. Don't we reserve a special hatred for paedophiles? Men who prey off little boys and girls, and the mothers who sell their own children? Aren't we disgusted by reports of priests molesting children? For many years before Pope Francis the Vatican hid these crimes and protected their clergy.

Louis fed on Claudia. Lestat gave Claudia the Blood, and taught her to feed on a young boy, a bellboy from the hotel. We respond to trampled innocence as if it is a dark echo of that blessed Innocence mankind lost in the Garden.

Let's see in the following pages if the Brat Prince would make explanations for his actions. Let me end by saying because of this act of his, Claudia, the child vampire, a truly beautiful and tragic character in literature, has been born to us.

No comments:

Post a Comment