Comparing and Contrasting Dracula and Salem’s Lot
Salem’s Lot is a novel about an entire town that is converted into vampire region through infection of key family members by their next of kin. The urban setting which is depicted in this novel was originally void of suspicious deaths but after a new businessman and his partner moves into the town, people begin disappearing while more residents become vampires. In Dracula, there is a vampire who lives in a castle and he wants to increase his colony of vampires. Later on in the novel, the vampire moves to a town where the first person to escape from his jaws lives and suddenly the people experience increased number of deaths, as well as, disappearances. In the novels however, there are plenty of contrasting elements, as well as, similarities in the gothic elements of the monsters.
Comparison of the monsters in Dracula and Salem’s Lot
The two monsters who are depicted by the novel Dracula and Barlow who are the major characters in both novels. Barlow is an accomplished vampire who does not want to make a dramatic appearance into the town hence he is transported via a crate. Similarly, Dracula visits Jonathan’s town at night when everyone is asleep hence it is not until there are deaths when his presence is noted. The incognito appearance of the vampires is similar as a way of keeping their identity concealed such that they can accomplish their deeds way before the town discovers who is behind the murderous actions (Francis and Bram, 2005).
The other similarity about the nature of the two vampires is their ability to cause as much damage as possible to the human race without flinching. Such damages are also extended to the closest family members of the victims hence none is spared by the insatiable desire to suck blood and cause misery to human beings. Consequently, the monsters being vampires have a low regard for sunlight hence they carry out their monstrous activities at night when everyone is asleep hence they face less resistance from their victims. This during sleep, human beings are often less conscious of their moves hence it becomes easier to woe individuals outside or else make them comply to the deeds of the vampires leading to their death (King and Uelsmann, 2006).
The other similarity is based on the mode of attack where the vampires lure their victims as if hugging them then making their teeth digs deep into the flesh around the neck. This gives the vampires an opportunity to suck human blood which they use as a sole source of food for their survival. Consequently, after sucking blood from a victim, they become infected by the “vampire virus” which in turn makes them suck blood from normal human beings and the cycle continues. This strategy is used to increase the numbers of vampires in a region as all who are bitten are potential monsters (Curran, 2005).
Similarly, the monsters are also able to access buildings whose doors and windows are locked to get to their targets. Their non-human nature enables then to change their physique into a variety of states such as wavy form of as ghosts hence are able to get into a locked house, as well as, gain access to locked graves at night. The changing physical nature of the monsters is also utilized by them to move in distant places to access their victims within limited time periods (Jones, 2002).
The other similarity is portrayed by the similar ways through which the various vampires in the two novels are destroyed. Some are destroyed after being forcefully exposed to sunlight hence they disintegrate and their monster nature disappears. The other criteria used to destroy the vampires is through driving a stake across the heart thus eliminating their vampire powers and making them revert to normal human beings as they succumb to death. Barlow and Dracula’s lives are separated from them by this last method where their pursuers drive stakes through their hearts and their bodies disintegrates to soil of ashes. Consequently, this eliminates any thought of imagining that vampires are immortal hence they cannot be killed as they eventually succumb to their own way of dying (King, 2006).
The other closely related similar trait that is exhibited by Barlow and Dracula is the nature of houses they occupied as they planned their attacks. The isolated mansion and castle inhabited by Barlow and Dracula respectively demonstrated plenty of gothic elements into the activities of the monsters. These places are not accessible to the public hence little is known by the outside world regarding the way of life that is practiced beyond the confines of the isolated houses (Francis, 2005).
Women and children are frequent victims of vampire attacks as is indicated by the two novels where Dracula seeks out Lucy and Mina while Barlow seeks Raliph Glick a young boy who has no clue as to what vampires are in society. These categories of victims are depicted as naturally weak and offer less resistance when they are being lured by their tormentors. This makes them an easy target, in addition to, the popular belief that they are harmless hence when infected they tend to attack those close to them more easily as the suspicion of them being vampires is lower. Men offer intense resistance and at times they overpower the monsters hence infecting them is quite challenging thus fewer victims of vampirism are men (Curran, 2005).
Although the monsters Dracula and Barlow have tried as much as possible to withhold their activities and presence, there appears one person who is knowledgeable of the events surrounding the vampire fraternity. In Dracula’s case, Professor Abraham Van Helsing is working hard to unveil the whereabouts of Dracula. Consequently, he tracks Lucy down as an attempt to capture Dracula in action. In the Salem’s Lot, Father Callahan is working tireless towards wiping out the entire vampires from the town. Similarly, in both cases, the individual fighting the vampires does not fall victim of the monster action and instead they increase the other resident’s awareness of ways through which vampires can be destroyed (King, 2006).
Contrasts in the nature of Dracula and Barlow
Dracula used a Harlem of women to capture and torture his, male victims before they are attacked by the monster. This group of women is trained towards inflicting as much emotional pain to their victims such that they are able to reveal the details pertaining the objective of venturing beyond the gates of the castle. Consequently, a pack of wolves is released for anyone who attempts to escape from the confines of the castle hence after seeing the monster one is obliged to become a vampire. Barlow on the other hand uses his partner Straker to make the victims obey his laws or direct those to reveal secretes that are aimed at exposing the inner secretes regarding details of next of kin and ways of reaching them (Curran, 2005).
The other difference involves the willingness of the monsters to allow their visitors gain a glimpse of their lives while inside their natural habitats. Dracula allows Jonathan into his castle and then goes ahead to provide a room and food for him. Consequently, they get to interact and during these interactions, Jonathan realizes that his host is not a real human being. Some of the astonishing elements learnt include Dracula’s imageless form in front of a mirror and the extremely sharp teeth.
However Barlow does not give a chance to Ben to gain any evidence that could be used to reveal his identity to the public. This could be attributed to the fact that Dracula wanted to learn more about Jonathan’s home district in the course of their encounter, as well as, make him feel the powers that are associated with vampires. Hence the mutual relationship could have been a strategy to gain access to the women who were closely related to Jonathan. Barlow did not employ such a strategy as he had direct access to children who loitered the streets hence would not have struggled to meet his objectives, as well as, interacting with the victims (Jones, 2002).
Dracula had extremely sharp teeth which were only evident when he ate hence he had a sinister eating style. Consequently, one morning he came to the bathroom when I was shaving but I could not see his reflection on the mirror although I could feel his presence right behind me then when some blood appeared on my chin from a shaving blade cut, he lunged forward at me ready to bite.” (Francis, 2005)
While Dracula uses telepathy and hypnosis to interact with his colleagues, Barlow does not portray and willingness to have any form of communication from his counterparts. The connection between Dracula and his protégés is continuous as they enable him to reach wider victim coverage. Consequently, his subjects are portrayed as being in a position to trace his whereabouts hence communicating with pursuers who get closer to him without his knowledge. Barlow does not have any follow up situations with his subjects hence after being included into the vampire world; the subject is left on his own.
Dracula incorporates various animals in his actions as part of his ways to instill fear in the victims, as well as, escape mechanisms which enable him move from one place to the other unnoticed. At one point when he was moving towards England he escaped from the sheep as a dog while the wolves which were howling at Jonathan when he was attempting escape were vampires in disguise.
These creature appearances enable the monster to commute from one place to the other, as well as, carrying out daytime activities as when disguised in these body forms the sunlight cannot be an obstacle to movement. Barlow does not incorporate any of the creature forms into his activities as his escapades are carried out at night. Seemingly, he does not appear in public although he is mentioned often by his business partner hence making him a mystery (Curran, 2005).
Consequently, Dracula is kept away from the public lives through use of garlic such that bodies or households which are enclosed in the garlic repel Dracula and his entourage. When Lucy’s coffin is laced with garlic, her ghost trails off at a distance awaiting removal of the garlic and it is only after the objects are removed that she weaves herself inside the coffin (Jones, 2002).
On the other hand, Barlow is kept ashore by presence of the crucifix and holy water such that those who are in possession of these items are forewarned and kept safe from any definite attacks from the monster. During the encounter between Father Calhan and Barlow, the crucifix being held by the priest keeps Barlow away from attacking the priest. However, after the crucifix is crushed from the priest’s hands, the vampire gains access to him and eventually overpowers him (Curran, 2005).
Comparing the attacks of the monsters
Dracula and Barlow have a similar way of attacking their victims in that the targeted individual is often obtained as they stray away from the larger part of the community. Consequently, after being identified from a crowd, individual is lured closer to the monster and in an unsuspecting move the victims are attacked. The mode of attack is exemplified by a deep bite into the neck region of the victim which is rather fleshy and has veins in it hence plenty of blood flows into the attacker’s mouth. The sharp teeth are important in that they enable the vampire to inflict damage into the victim’s neck, as well as, rupturing the blood vessels to release blood (Jones, 2002).
The other method of attack is demonstrated by the vampire’s ability to incapacitate the victim, in addition to, making them less conscious of the impending action by tactically luring them. This is attributed to the attack times when victims are asleep or sleep walking thus unaware of any danger which may be looming in the surrounding. Both Barlow and Dracula have not being noted to attack fully conscious human beings unless when they are attacked and have to defend themselves (King, 2006).
Similarly, secluded places are the best choice for monster attack as the victim has to be in an isolated place where the public cannot access the monster. This explains why individuals traveling in groups or those with company are safe. Dracula had to wait until Jonathan had left Mina alone to carry out his attack on Mina while Barlow had to wait for Susan and Ben to part ways before attacking her. Consequently, presence of male counterparts reduced chances of vampire attack in the two novels as the men were able to provide protection to the women.
Susan, Ben and Mark had paid a visit to Barlow but their short encounter with Straker led to their temporary imprisonment. However, after Ben and Mark had managed to free themselves, Barlow gets a chance to attack Susan and bites her neck hence converting her to a vampire without the knowledge of the others.” (Curran, 2005)
Contrasting the attacks of Barlow and Dracula
Barlow was attacking his victims regardless of the meeting point such that hey were not necessarily programmed or planned before the attacking session. Dracula on the other hand always had an insight into the next victim’s activities while unplanned attacks were not common. He had a way of laying out the plans for subsequent victims hence opportunistic attacks were not evidenced (Francis, 2005).
Dracula and Salem’s Lot are two vampire related novels which share a lot of similar elements in the two monsters featured in the two books. Consequently, there are also some differences in their mode of executing vampire roles although the similarities between the two supersede the differences.
Curran Bob, Vampires: a field guide to the creatures that stalk the night. Career Press, pp. 1.17. 2005
Francis Paul and Bram Stocker, Dracula. Evans Brothers, pp. 1-78. 2005
Jones, Stephen. Creepshows: The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide. Billboard Books, pp. 12-31. 2002
King Stephen and Uelsmann, Jerry, Salem’s lot. Doubleday publishers, pp. 5-105. 2005
Suckling Nigel, Vampires. AAPPL, pp. 29-52. 2006