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S. Armand’s Lesson and the Horror Genre

The key element in horror fiction is its ability to provoke fear or terror in readers with a sense of dread, unease, anxiety, or foreboding. A horror fiction may contain highly improbable and unexpected sequences of events that usually begin in ordinary situation and involve supernatural elements; explore dark, malevolent side of humanity, and violence may occur with explicit sexuality. “Armand’s lesson” by Anne Rice (1979) is an extraordinary contrast between a living being and a seducing vampire. It is a paradoxical narration on the musings of master vampire ‘Armand’ at the time of seduction, and his feeling for the lady who is compared to a vampire, after placing Armand on the ambit of real life human being. The style adopted by Anne Rice evokes our interest and posit this short recounting with the Horror story narration expertise of Lovecraft.

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Horror may be termed as certain mood or atmosphere that might be found in a variety of places as it was epitomized with demons, witches, ghosts, vampires, etc. Horace Walpole’s ‘The Castle of Otranto” (1764) is considered to initiate contemporary taste for the ‘Gothic’ romance, a class of novel dealing in the mysterious and supernatural. According to Grolier within the 18th century horror stories had “…a plot designed for suspense, a delicate feminine sensibility is subjected to the onslaught of elemental forces of good and evil.” (A Few Thoughts on the Horror Genre).

In “Armand’s lesson” the Master vampire Armand narrates his methods of seduction and experiences as a vampire to Louis, another vampire who he met in Paris. In the words of Armand “the world is a veritable wilderness of singular beauties and each night too precious to allow for the slightest waste”(Rice, Ann, 1979). He has no taste for violence, but seduction is perfectly in tune with his heart; it is the lovely beauties that he takes as bride, who seduce vampires like Armand through their dreams. For Armand violence is the throbbing of the unsatisfied heart, desperate pulsing of tender folds between the legs, that precious cleft that shapes its own emptiness; violence is the restless turning of her limbs. “It is the struggle that holds the quintessential fulfillment, the thrashing of the waning lover seems to soothe the preternatural soul” which prevents a gentleman from refusing the wishes of a lady. The lady longed for his union and she gave him her life’s blood, which made him think what to be given in return by a ‘simple monster with fire and fiber of his own dreams’. These words are not of a blood sucking vampire, but a caring lover who is more concerned with his beloved’s pleasure.

Armand considers what separate their cloaked and smiling figures from the other unholy inhabitants of the monster realm is simply that they were and still are men. He thinks like a living being, and he cannot be content with a feast only for his eyes, he has to satiate the carnal love of the shimmering bride who is dreaming like a vampire and falling to his hands to be ushered into the timeless life of his own. This interchanging of personality confuses the reader and makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact monster in the story. It has to he construed that the dark lady of his other life was responsible for his fall and turning him to a vampire, as he submit himself to suckle by the mistress. He feels his mistresses are merciless, their hearts so perfectly tuned to his own will is not to release him, and they will not permit him to withdraw. Armand tries to visualize past adulthood, and compares the sun light to the warm blood of his bride more like a poet, than a vampire. The words “”And through the shifting trees, I see the sun again, warm as my bride’s blood: it falls on my face, on my hands. It is her blood that makes this real as I lie there, but even as the sky is shot with those swift gold edged clouds, it’s fading. I must wake. I would lead my fledgling further on’ is an ample example to the narrative style of Lovecraft adopted by Anne Rice.

Lovecraft is remembered as the greatest creator and inspirer of cosmic horror, and he added his unique blend of fantasy to redefine the horror genre influencing the books, movies, role-playing, and video games of today. The style of Lovecraft was old fashioned ‘florid’ full of obscure words and convoluted sentences. His long sentences produced an atmosphere of brooding horror and rising suspense, by the time he reaches the end of a story, the reader often suspects what is coming, but still finds the need to keep reading just to his suspicions are confirmed. The tick is adopted by Anne Rice, and it is a story of vampire without horror. The poetic narration of Anne Rice, interspersed with short and long sentences that place the vampire Armand as an object with feelings of a living being and the young lady lover compared to a vampire intrigues the reader till the end, and Anne Rice’s style is an example of “Gothic” romance, a genre of horror story without horror.

Works cited

Rice, Anne. Interlude with the Undead. Playboy. 1979. Web.

A Few Thoughts on the Horror Genre. 2004. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "S. Armand’s Lesson and the Horror Genre." October 21, 2021.


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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'S. Armand’s Lesson and the Horror Genre'. 21 October.

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