Date of Award
English Language and Literatures
Director of Thesis
For contemporary audiences the word “vampire” typically conjures two figures: a Damon Salvatore-esque man with devil may care eyes, dark hair and an equally dark past. Dripping with sex and charm, he struggles with an internal dilemma, his animalistic urge to kill constantly at war with his human morality. On the other hand, we have the sexy, scantily clad white female vampire who uses her feminine wiles and socially “perfect” body to prey upon poor, unsuspecting men, until she is eventually corralled into domestic submission, or killed. While this description fits the broader scale of what the vampiric figure is, in recent years there has been an undeniable and intentional shift in the use of the vampire in literature, and in turn this shift has changed the direction of where writers and creators might take the vampire in the future. This thesis explores the most daring of these new works, Octavia E. Butler’s Fledgling. I locate the novel in a history of the genre while providing an interpretation of its contributions to the racial and gender revisioning of the vampire.
 Damon Salvatore is one of the main characters in the hit TV show The Vampire Diaries. He is an ex-confederate soldier turned vampire known for his smoldering good looks and brooding sarcastic attitude. See Appendix, Image 1.
Cole, Abigail, "Bad Blood: Octavia E. Butler Takes a Bite out of Gender and Racial Stereotypes in Fledgling" (2023). Senior Theses. 596.