Class Issues / Sookie Stackhouse / Vampires

Vampires and Class

In an attempt to heal my brain but provide myself with a good story, I’ve been reading through the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. (Full disclosure: I’ve also been reading them to get hints of what happens on True Blood. Even though I know the show departs from the books, there’s still enough in common that I can smugly watch the series and look for all the things that I know are going to happen. That would bother some people, but knowing what’s coming makes me enjoy my television all the more.)

Anyway, back to the books. Harris’s vampire mysteries are not exactly the most complicated or hard-to-unback books on the market, but they do do something extremely interesting – they engage in a relatively long discussion of social and economic class as they relate to Sookie Stackhouse. While there are plenty of things Sookie overhears about herself in other human (and sometimes shifter) brains that pass judgement on her morals, her friendships with vampires, or her looks, the one thing that really seems to rub Sookie the wrong way is the frequent judgement of others about her occupation – barmaid – and how that must make her both no-count and stupid.

That’s fascinating. While Sookie is relatively used to being called “crazy” for her ability to read minds and her relationships with vampires (and her body) make people pass judgements about her sexuality, class judgements and the ways in which people decide who’s worthwhile and who’s not is one of the most pronounced themes throughout the series. I mean, class is important to Sookie, too – she can’t help but let readers know when someone is really trashy or when they’re putting on airs – but there’s a keen awareness in the books that these judgements are wrong, or at least, rashly made.

This is why I think Sookie likes the vampires so darn much – aside from the whole “she can’t hear their thoughts” thing. Vampires think that they’re better than most humans, especially those humans who think they’re better than Sookie. But in the end, Sookie wins out in this social heirarchy, since the vampires (and all their supernatural friends) think Sookie is probably the only human who matters.

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