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!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Day 20 on IWTV: Claudia's coffin

Before I go to the topic I wanted to write about in this entry, I want to quickly mention that Louis was learning to enjoy the great throng of strangers that were surrounding him in New Orleans, and from this detachment, he gave himself permission to drink blood from humans.

It's a Sunday and again at church I heard the admonition not to fall in love with this world, that we are simply pilgrims passing through, that our home is heaven. And while I do agree that heaven is our ultimate home, I can't help but fall in love with this world. I mean, look at it! The mountains, streams, rivers, trees, flowers, animals, oceans... what's not to love? I am fortunate to be born in a tropical archipelago paradise, beautiful seas and beaches, mountain ranges, plains. How can I not love being in this world?

And then you meet people. I wish to travel more, but wherever I did travel I see a lot of culture and art. And even seeing documentaries on TV about other peoples, how can you not fall in love with this world? Even God loved this world that He came into it as a Man.

But on with the story. That Louis would play along with Claudia this charade for the poor coffin maker showed how much Claudia's influence was on him. I wanted to underline the reason he gave to the coffin maker: "Her heart, she cannot live." Well, was it not Claudia's relentless heart that kept her alive as he fed on her? This was obviously too much for him.

Lestat and Claudia claimed the coffin, not without casualty, and yet Claudia did not sleep in it. It meant something different to her altogether. When we see a child's coffin it is an aberration of nature. It is a tragic picture. A bud snatched too early. But what do we think when a child killer wants it for herself?

Claudia has learned to hunt on her own, and haunted cemeteries and impoverished regions, making Lestat's heart stout. Louis, ever squeamish, couldn't bear it. She is quite a remarkable literary character. Lestat had a nickname for her: Sister Death. And a mocking one for Louis: Merciful Death.

The unholy trinity