When initially reading “Carmilla,” the story come across as a typical Victorian vampire gothic story; however, what Le Fanu depicts in this story goes deeper than the reader’s initial thoughts. Le Fanu veils the true meaning of “Carmilla” by presenting it as a vampire story, which is genius because writing “Carmilla” as a vampire story prevents the reader from feeling overwhelmed by the ideas of the story’s true reality. His main purpose in writing this story was to challenge a society who is very afraid of change or to be questioned. According to Sheri R. Wohl, “Carmilla” is “Frightening for more than the monsters that inhabit the tales. They are frightening because they reflect much truth in both society and human behavior that persist through generations and centuries” (50). What Wohl is conveying is that “Carmilla” is not terrifying because it is a horror story, but it is terrifying because Le Fanu veils society’s realit...
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...he glows in the challenge of her seduction of Laura, all in the face of the proper society in which she functions. She takes on both man and God, fighting until the bitter end” (40). What Wohl conveys is the fact that Carmilla challenges both society and religion.
Homosexuality has been and is still being disdained by many societies and religions. What Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu portrayed in his gothic story, “Carmilla” questioned society for considering homosexuality and lesbianism a taboo. Le Fanu marvelously broke the barrier in society where lesbianism is disapproved by challenging traditional vampire traits, role of women, and religion. What makes “Carmilla” even more significant is that La Fanu wrote this in the 19th century where homosexuality and women were downright suppressed, ultimately breaking the barrier not only in vampire fiction but also in society.
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