Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 21 on IWTV: Claudia and the corpses

Why I have failed to point out Anne Rice's prose until this post is a major oversight on my part. Her prose has often been described as detailed, lush, vibrant. I agree. I would say her mind is awake, and her imagination is a well-exercised muscle. She does not hold back on description, but she never goes overboard. She treads the delicate balance of just enough description to help us see what she sees and hears and feels and tastes and smells, and that is a mark of a truly skilled writer.

For instance, to describe Louis's sadness, she uses images of darkness, nearing the edge of a cliff, cracks and faults in the earth. Anyone who has ever experienced a period of depression would recognize these. Anyone who's had a happy, blissful life devoid of any sadness (is there really anyone in life like that?) will be able to empathize at least.

Louis's depression threatens to descend and crash upon him once again. When he began to notice Claudia growing up, maturing into a woman, her mind no longer a child's. Anyone who has ever lost a lover or experienced the heartbreak of a break-up could identify with how Louis felt about this time in his life with Claudia.

It is easy to dismiss Louis's depression to his being inducted into the never-ending Night. But we must remember that he was already depressed when Lestat found him. He was mourning Paul's death. Languishing, inviting death to find him.

What Claudia did to the mother and daughter servants were macabre! Claudia has become an enigma to Lestat and Louis. If you are reading the novel along with me, you know the feeling of wanting to enter Claudia's mind, to see it from her point-of-view, and find out why she began behaving like this. But aren't women always a mystery?

Go read for yourself Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story, the graphic novel adapted by Ashley Marie Witter.

Lestat was mad at Claudia's brash actions, and Louis was trying to reason with him. As Claudia's "parents," they had had to take care of the problem of the servants: disposing the corpses and dealing with the bereaved family. There's a funny episode of Lestat getting a bit drunk...but this also forebodes a scary event to follow. Foreshadowing, my dear writers!

Claudia asks the question coldly, "Which one of you made me the way I am?" In the movie played brilliantly by Dunst, she screams out the question. In the book, there is a chilling effect.

Claudia drops her bouquet of chrysanthemums. Think about it. This woman in a child's unchanging body, forever in that size and shape, and the diminutive petals of the mums scattering to the floor. That's the picture Anne paints for us.

Claudia is a unique vampire. She has spent her life more as a vampire than a human. She makes all of these realizations. Lestat, being mean, said Claudia would have grown up into a hag (and not age gracefully). The spite between these two is too painful.

Off-topic note. I just noticed that New Orleans is in Louisiana, and Louisiana is named after Louis XIV, King of France in 1643. Louisiana means Land of Louis. And Louis is our protagonist vampire!

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