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'Interview with the vampire' and 'Wuthering Heights' and the diabolical reversal of the nuclear family

Hausarbeit (Hauptseminar) 2003 12 Seiten

Anglistik - Literatur


The novels Interview with the Vampire and Wuthering Heights and the diabolical reversal of the nuclear family

In the following essay I will talk about the diabolical reversal of the nuclear family in the novels Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and Interview with the vampire by Anne Rice . I found it very hard to find material on this aspects. There were hardly any books in the library I could use and I could not find much information or articles about it.

Both novels are filed under Gothic fiction. Gothic always represents “otherness”. “Gothic fiction,…, frequently represents the ways in which both family and class, …, are threatened or attacked by the ‘dark forces’ of transgressive sexuality, illicit desires, and unsanctioned class mobility”(Niqi:1). The Gothic centre is “the realm of the family and the domestic and the class structures”(Niqi:2). Anne Williams argues that “the Gothic myth” (Williams: 22) is the patriarchal family. Gothic is determined by the rules of the family because family structure also generates the plots within Gothic. “Gothic plots are family plots, Gothic romance is family romance.” (Williams: 22)

In the English language plot also means “an area of ground” and therefore the “Gothic myth” has special kinds of settings. Not every story can take place in a haunted castle.

In Gothic literature the nuclear family is diabolically reversed. The two books in this essay will be compared regarding this diabolical reversal of the nuclear family.

With the nuclear family the Americans were creating a new utopia in the home.

Consumerism fueled the image of the new nuclear family as survival and security were linked to traditional family values. A house in the suburbs, a wife at home, 2.17 children and a new family car provided shelter from an increasingly threatening world. The mother became the glue that held their world together while the father went to work to secure their spot in suburbia. Sex and sexuality were reserved for the married couple, not discussed or displayed publicly.

Suburbia would serve as a bulwark against communism and class conflict; children would provide a connection with the future. The fear of the nuclear age, coupled with the paranoid tension caused by the Red Scare left the family as the one place where people could feel safe, and ones destiny became entwined with the ability to perfect the image we are so familiar with today.

The country was searching for stability and believed to have found it in the American family. The problem was the familial image was a fabrication based on ideals rather than reality. The United States were under an apartheid system, life was not as it seemed. Relying solely upon itself, the nuclear family was destined to explode long before the ever-threatening atomic bomb ever would.

The first book I am going to discuss is Interview with the vampire.

Two of the cult novels in US gay circles in the 1970s and 80s, though not written by a gay man, have been Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat, in which gay love is an inherent part of the ecstasies of vampirising. Gay writers have often been drawn more generally to the Gothic because it is different.



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
496 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Victoria University of Technology, Melbourne – Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development
Interview Wuthering Heights Popular Fictions



Titel: 'Interview with the vampire' and 'Wuthering Heights' and the diabolical reversal of the nuclear family