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Human marriages amuse me the brevity of the commitment and all the ceremony that surrounds it, the calla lilies, the veiled mother-in-laws like lilac spiders, the tears and earnest toasts. Till death do us part! Easy. These mortal couples need only keep each other in sight for fifty, sixty years. Often I wonder to what extent a mortal’s love grows from the bedrock of his or her foreknowledge of death, love coiling like a green stem out of that blankness in a way I’ll never quite understand. And lately I’ve been having a terrible thought: Our love affair will end before the world does.

Are vampires capable of love and devotion? Karen Russell challenges this idea with the relationship between Clyde and Magreb. Russell takes a dysfunctional character, Clyde, who is viewed as a terrifying creature to society and she humanizes him to show that he has a caring heart. Clyde tries to carry the vampire persona of being tough, scary, and selfish, but his relationship with Magreb brings out character traits of love and commitment. Though he acts as if human marriage is baffling and strange, as his character develops, he recognizes that he is forever in a committed relationship with Magreb. Clyde is fighting with the idea of self and being the individual he wants to be rather than what society has decided he is supposed to be. Magreb’s relationship with Clyde reminds me of a mother/child relationship; she realizes that he does not have the self -identity and awareness and she is constantly pushing him to discover who he is as an individual, just as a mother does during the developmental stages of their child’s life.

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