*Disclaimer:Shirley Phelps has never interacted with me in any means therefore the post below was a devious April Fool’s Jokes. I take full responsibility for the emotional damages wrought by seeing such a sinister figure.*
Philosophy of the Vampire Chronicles Part 3: The Duality of Claudia
What do Belinda, Claudia, and Mona all share in common? They are all precocious young girls whose maturity blurs the concept of age-related maturity. In typical literary fashion,Anne Rice almost deceives us into believing that either one of these three mature characters are older than they really are. When reading “Jane Eyre,” I almost believed that Jane as a younger girl was truly endowed with wisdom beyond her years. Therefore, I was almost under the impression that Jane herself was much older than ten.
With Claudia, towards the middle portion of “Interview with the Vampire,” you are almost beholden to the idea that Claudia herself is far older than the restrictive age of twelve. With her adult-like whims and predilections, your mind almost fashions her into a far older and sophisticated girl. In many ways, her age of maturity bends the perception of her in your mind to allow for her to appear aged. When in reality, Claudia is truly much younger than the perceived 26 year old Claudia.
The instance within both the novel and film when Claudia hides the cadaver of the older women within her bed;Claudia is psychologically attuned to the very fact that her physical body should represent her age. Therefore, she almost lies in slumber with the cadaver and even playfully toys with it as though flirting with the idea of being mortal. With her mortal mental self intact, she cannot help but go through that same phase that all girls and boys ultimately go through where they cleave to the idea of being older. They begin to become increasingly frustrated by the limits the world places on themselves and therefore begin to question and often defy these structures. Every part of themselves has this unrealistic, romantic image of adulthood signifying uninhibited freedom. When in reality, being older just places us ironically in that same restive spot where we are still very insecure with ourselves.
Anne Rice uses this same phase for Claudia to show that humanity is intrinsic to the vampire existence. Their minds have still not been configured to match the same perception of infinity that the vampire existence holds. Therefore, their internalized body clocks still triggers certain hormonal responses to different stages to life. Within Claudia, there is a burgeoning desire for sexuality. Her human mind still carries the promised expectation for sexual desire to provide her a new form of pleasure within her life. In many ways, it is one of the rites of passages of maturing as a human being to take part in that pleasure. Once the realization dawns that she’s essentially impotent: She rebels against Lestat because she thinks her metamorphosis into a vampire has denied her the ability to experience this exclusive mortal pleasure.
For vampires, the blood takes the place of all their base desires. For them, it temporarily forestalls any human feelings or doubts from clouding their euphoria within the vampire existence. Claudia herself never has any sudden need to experience sex till she permits her human desires to dominate parts of her mind. Fascinatingly, Louis’ example provides Claudia with the ability to tap into those repressed feelings whereas with Lestat, she could be absolved of those clingy desires in order to fully enjoy the ecstasy of the vampire existence.
In a sense, Louis awakens the sexual desire within Claudia which interestingly enough brings a rather controversial element of the Vampire Chronicles. If Claudia has mentally matured to the extent where she is having a sexual awakening then could that have been triggered by Louis. Could there be some inexpressible sexual desire between them. Meaning, could they imagine it within their thriving human souls. Yet their material, vampire bodies prevent those feelings from becoming manifest. This recalls the important trait that all Anne Rice’s vampires share. They share a duality of body and mind. Within themselves, they have an immortal body that completely defies the age process of mortal bodies. Yet, their spiritual forms carry all the desires and inclinations that humans have.
In the next Vampire Chronicles post, I shall be discussing in full the spirituality of “Interview with a Vampire,” and how Anne Rice cleverly involves a deep discussion of the mind and body problem.