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In the midst of re-watching The Last Unicorn and remembering just how incredibly much I love the story*, something unexpectedly occurred to me:

Adaptations and pastiches that interpret Dracula's Lucy Westenra as a sexually manipulative coquette aren't just counter to my interpretation, they're actually kind of misogynistic.

Since the novel is epistolary, there is no narrative evaluation of the characters, and the text gives us no reason to suspect Lucy of anything but sincerity mixed with perhaps a bit of naivety. To suggest that a woman with multiple men interested in her must have concocted some nefarious scheme to benefit herself is to deny the reality that it is perfectly possible for men to be interested in women without any enticement or reciprocal romantic interest.  Further, to read her comments about feeling bad about hurting the feelings of men she turns down as thinly-veiled gloating denies the validity of feelings I know are real because I have felt them (which is not to say I particularly identify with Lucy, but I have been in a not dissimilar position, and it honestly does suck).

I think this has just become an even more annoyingly cynical reading than the "Quincey Morris is in Dracula's thrall" interpretation, as far as I'm concerned, and I think everyone knows how much I dislike THAT ONE.  I have a lot of respect for many of the writers who have taken the "Lucy is the 'whore' to Mina's 'angel'" tack**, and I doubt they are aware that it makes them look like scorned lovers slandering a woman even though she let them down easy and felt bad about it, but I have just decided that I am not going to be as forgiving of that interpretation in future.

...that said, Anno Dracula was a good read, and I'm pretty sure I'll be picking up the sequels eventually.  If Newman had made the Lucy angle more a part of the story, though, I might have to disavow it, now.

* bizarreoptimism, we need to spend some time talking about this next week.  I know you mentioned before that you "didn't care" about TLU, but I have to assume that's because you've never read the book or the comic, and probably haven't seen the movie in ages, if ever.  THAT'S ALL I CAN FIGURE, because this story is SO in your wheelhouse, and I need to know WHY you don't care if you are actually familiar with the story.

** Not that these writers would themselves call Lucy a whore; these terms come from a trope that was particularly prevalent in Victorian lit.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 6th, 2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
You are correct. I don't even know if I saw TLU back in the 80s, and if I did, I just sort of jumble it up together in my head with Willow and Dark Crystal and whichever movie had a curly-horned red-skinned Satan-type character that may or may not have been played by Tim Curry, which may in fact just be Willow or Dark Crystal, but I don't care. I'm a rotten child of the 80s; the only proper 80s-ish cartoons/kids' movies that were non-Disney that won me over were The Secret of NIMH and All Dogs Go to Heaven (and Land Before Time, I suppose) -- and the rest I just don't REMEMBER, much less pay attention to. ;-) It's not that I DISLIKE TLU; it was truly that I just don't care. Because I don't KNOW it.
Oct. 7th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC)
See, *that* makes sense. There was a moment there where I thought it was possible that you had seen it and still didn't care, and that I therefore DIDN'T KNOW YOU AT ALL. I think I actually benefited from the fact that I didn't ever see it until I was nearly in high school*. The fact that it came out before either of us was born and WASN'T a huge, Disney-level release means we can be forgiven for not growing up with it, I think.

* That said, you can BET 14-year-old me mocked the soundtrack *relentlessly*. 26-year-old me mocks the soundtrack pretty relentlessly, still, and is considering not suggesting it for the Animation Night film society screening next semester simply because of how bad the songs are. And I actually LIKE late 70s/early 80s folk-pop, so, y'know, NOT GOOD.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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