So, for my first post back, we'll be covering a topic that's often brought up. It was mentioned light years ago on the Real Light of Tolerance post, and it's about the concept that vampires are an allegory for gay people. This has been said quite a few times by CH herself, but she's not big on explaining, so there's lots of confusion and issues with the books because of it. So I'm going to lay it out as I see it.
Let me point out that you need to understand that these are fantasy genre books. In the fantasy genre, issues and dilemmas are blown out of proportion as moral dilemmas. Fantasy uses metaphor to explore issues, but in a way removed from the prejudice with which you usually explore issues. That makes it different from other genres, merely because it isn't based in the real world. There are no vampires, witches or anything else in the real world. Fantasy uses the new world that is created to try and explore some of the underpinning concepts from your beliefs.
Note the contrast in the genres. For example, in drama, the question is open and simple - it presents you with a gay person, such as in Torch Song Trilogy (OMG watch this movie it is one of my favourites ever) or Philadelphia and poses open questions, prodding you to draw the same conclusion that the movie itself does. When you're watching a drama movie like that, it poses only realistic questions, and really is quite specific about those questions. It'll question what you think about a gay man being in love, or what you think about discrimination against gay people who are afflicted with HIV.
In fantasy, however, bigger questions are posed. It is no longer constrained by specific questions that can be applied to only a limited sector of people, and rather tackles the issues in a new environment where perhaps your usual prejudices are not with you. It is hard to really see yourself as which side of the Iraqi conflict you're on, when you're experiencing it from the point of view of Katniss Everdeen. In fact, this perspective of a war makes the audience think not only about the ethics of war, but what effect it has on children. Panem may not actually exist, but it's a movie about power, politics and being on the end of things such as trade embargoes. Unlike its drama counterpart, however, it deals generally with a theme, and can't just awaken ideas that only apply to Iraq - it can apply to World War II and to Vietnam.
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