Because of her fascination with the supernatural, her life in New Orleans, and her daughter’s death, Anne Rice exhibits powerful and dark emotions in her writings. Anne Rice’s family life was not always a happy one. Her family was one of the lower middle class, struggling to make it. Katherine, her mother, became stressed over keeping a household and took to drinking. Anne’s mom continued this habit throughout her life. I feel that this drinking had a major effect on Anne’s writing style. Anne’s books are full of vivid detail. They are written as if they were seen through the eyes of a drunk.
Anne’s mother continued drinking until the day of her death in 1956. Katherine’s death hit her daughter very hard. Since her mother had died, Anne had to become a mother to her two younger sisters, Tamara and Karen. Anne hated to assume this role and looked for a way out. Her father gave this to her in the form of St.
Joseph Academy, a boarding school. This was not a very good solution considering how much Anne hated the school. She cried every night for about a year, and would later write about her experiences an a novel, The Witching Hour. When Anne became sixteen her father remarried. HowardAnne’s father and his new wife, Dorothy, decided to move to Texas to follow Howard’s’ work. This decision shocked Anne and she was very opposed; the move still took place.
At her new school, Anne met a boy named Stan Rice. Stan was very involved with poetry and he and Anne instantly hit it off. Stan had an influence on Anne like no other person had. He was the first boy she kissed which was an experience she wrote about in her second novel, The Feast of All Saints- here is the excerpt.
Richard had kissed Marie and she had never felt a sensation akin to what she’d experienced when he was holding her lightly, gently, as if he might break her, in his arms. His hands had spread out firmly against her back, pressing her to his chest so that the buttons of his frock coat had touched her breasts. And when that had happened, a shock had passed through her, so keenly pleasurable that she had let her head fall back, her lips apart, and felt that shock’s consummation in one shuddering instant as his lips pressed against hers. . . She had been obliterated in that instant, everything she had ever been taught had been obliterated, all that she was before had simply gone away.
In 1961 Stan proposed to Anne by telegram. She accepted, and on October fourteenth they were married. Anne and Stan began experimenting with drugs as a way to express emotions more fully, and to appreciate themselves more. Anne shows this new outlook on life that of being “high” as a way to experience things like none other. Such an experience is the way a vampire first sees the world when he becomes a vampire.
Here is an outtake of Interview With the Vampire that shows this new vision. It was as if I had only just been able to see colors and shapes for the first time. I was so enthralled with the buttons on Lestat’s black coat that I looked at nothing else for a long time. . . When I saw the moon on the flagstones, I became so enamored with it that I must have spent over an hour there . . . and with my awakened senses, I had to preside over the death of my body . . . I simply regret I was not more attentive to the process.
This excerpt is the way the main character in Interview With the Vampire, Louis, sees the world through his “Vampire Eyes”. After smoking marijuana and experimenting with LSD for about a year Anne had a disturbing vision. She began wondering what happens when a person dies and if that person knows they are dead.
She was on the verge of insanity for several months, but recovered by not using drugs. She started a new job and her life improved, then she became pregnant.
Anne was very happy about becoming pregnant, and looked forward to becoming a mother. Her daughter was born Michele Rice and was very special to Anne. One night Anne had a very disturbing dream. Her dream was about Michele, in which Anne’s daughter was suffocating because of something in her blood. Anne Considered this to be a premonition and watched over her daughter very carefully for about a month.
There were no problems, so Anne thought her worries were over. That very year Michele began to get sick. Anne took her now four year-old daughter to the doctor where she was diagnosed with acute granuleucytic leukemia. Michele lived until 1972 when she died on a hospital bed. Two years later Anne wrote about the loss of her daughter through the eyes of Louis in Interview With the Vampire.
Here is the outtake- I looked up and saw myself in a most palpable vision ascending the altar steps, opening the tiny sacrosanct tabernacle, reaching with monstrous hands for the consecrated ciborium, and taking the Body of Christ and strewing Its white wafers all over the carpet; and walking then on the sacred wafers. . .giving Holy Communion to the dust. . .God did not live in this church; these statues gave an image to nothingness.
Anne has not only been influenced by her family life, but also by her place of birth, New Orleans. New Orleans had an extremely positive influence on Anne. It taught her that diversity was a blessing, and that life was full of contradictions. These Contradictions may be seen in the way that New Orleans may have a mansion next to a small, inexpensive house.
I’m sure that if you’ve ever read any of Anne’s work you may know that she likes to use vampires as characters in her novels. Anne has an extreme fascination with the occult that started when she was very young. As a small child she ventured out to see the movie The Mummy. When the scene where the mummy first comes out of the coffin occurred, Anne became so terrified that she walked out of the theater. She became fascinated with mummies and the supernatural soon after this fear was overcome.
When Anne was nine she went to see Dracula’s Daughter and was very impressed with the amount of emotions the vampire portrayed. She became fascinated with these creatures of the night, a passion that has been kept intact to this day.
In her books, Anne keeps her vampiric characters very androgynous. She does this because she feels there will be a better display of emotions since there is no gender bias. Since vampires do not reproduce, Anne feels that the most erotic experience they can have is sucking a humans blood. Here is an example of what I mean- Lestat and the swamp and the noise of the distant camp meant nothing. Lestat might have been an insect, buzzing, lighting, then vanishing in significance.
The sucking mesmerized me; the warm struggling of the man was soothing to the tension of my hands; and there came the beating of the drum again, which was the drumbeat of his heart- only this time it beat in perfect rhythm with the beat of my own heart, the two resounding in the very fiber of my being, until the beat began to grow slower and slower, so that each was a soft rumble that threatened to go on without end. Interview With the Vampire, 29
This was an example in Interview With the Vampire which happened to Louis, the books main character. It was the first time he fed on a human in his afterlife. In Interview With the Vampire there are many symbolic characters that relate to Anne’s life. To further explain this I will use the example of Claudia. Claudia is a young girl around the age of seven whom Louis, makes into a vampire. Since vampires retain the age in which they are created, Claudia remains seven for eternity. Anne uses Claudia to represent women and the way that she feels about their rights. Claudia is so young as to represent how women are or were given the rights of only a small child.
Lestat, another character in several of Anne’s books, is one of Anne’s most famous characters. He is somewhat of an anti-hero, but still remains just in some instances. He represents all the things that Anne has never done, but that she wishes to do.
In the novel Interview With the Vampire Lestat takes a man named Louis, and turns him into an unwilling vampire. Louis is another of Anne’s more famous characters. He is enraged that he was drug into the hellacious existence of a vampire and vows revenge on Lestat. Though Louis still wishes to remain human, he is shunned by man. Louis represents Anne’s grief over the loss of her daughter.
Anne Rice is a very mysterious woman. She has had a fascinating life that had quite a major effect on her writings. She is one of the most popular writers of contemporary times, and her fame will live on even after her death.