Student Presentation Commentary: Alyssa Altman–From Villain to Hero

Vampires used to parish at the sight of a cross or at the presence of the host. Vampires used to be dark, terrifying creatures that would stalk about during the night hunting for their next victim. They were portrayed as heartless, fearless, frightful creatures. Today, vampires hang crosses in their homes, are religious, feed on animal blood instead of human blood, and they are portrayed as drop-dead sexy people who’s skin tends to sparkle.

Alyssa Altman presented these examples of modern and the historical vampire to the class. Her presented information pertained to the history of vampires, why they were so popular, how they were portrayed, and how they have changed throughout time and why. One reason she explained that the idea of vampires have changed is due to the emphasis on the church in modern culture. Since the importance of church and religion has been on a decline through history, it doesn’t play as large of a role in society. Back when Dracula was written, the host and crucifix would scare Dracula and all other vampires away because during that time period, the church was important, but on a decline. One of the goals of this novel was to increase popularity of the church by scaring the readers into believing religion is the only way so save their soul from evil, in this case, walking the night feeding on innocent children.

Altman’s presentation focused on modern teen-series Twilight and classic Dracula. Through her comparisons, she presented detailed examples of vampires throughout history and answered my questions regarding the change in appearance of vampires and the change in perspective of the readers reading about vampires.

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