"As I sat I heard a sound in the courtyard without—the agonized cry of a woman. I rushed to the window, and throwing it up, peered out between the bars. There, indeed, was a woman with dishevelled hair, holding her hands over her heart as one distressed with running.
She was leaning against a corner of the gateway. When she saw my face at the window she threw herself forward, and shouted in a voice laden with menace:— ‘Monster, give me my child!’ She threw herself on her knees, and raising up her hands, cried the same words in tones which wrung my heart. Then she tore her hair and beat her breast, and abandoned herself to all the violences of extravagant emotion.
Finally, she threw herself forward, and, though I could not see her, I could hear the beating of her naked hands against the door. Somewhere high overhead, probably on the tower, I heard the voice of the Count calling in his harsh, metallic whisper. His call seemed to be answered from far and wide by the howling of wolves. Before many minutes had passed a pack of them poured, like a pent-up dam when liberated, through the wide entrance into the courtyard.
There was no cry from the woman, and the howling of the wolves was but short. Before long they streamed away singly, licking their lips. I could not pity her, for I knew now what had become of her child, and she was better dead." ( excerpt from Dracula by Bram Stoker)
Of all the monsters of mythology, none seems to have captured the minds and imaginations of more people than the central character in a book written during the reign of Queen Victoria by Bram Stoker. Calling on legend, some historical fact and the stuff of the, then popular, "Penny Dreadfuls," he created a character that has been done and redone and still seems to draw an audience.
I was eleven years old when I read the original book. I have re-read it several times. Even with its stilted, Victorian prose, I couldn't put it down. It didn't scare me and I wasn't "titillated" by the thinly-disguised sexual nature of the book's theme. I was just enthralled with the imagination and vivid imagery that was between those pages. This genre has always been like a thrill ride at the carnival, for me. A fun ride but with the knowledge that there is very little real chance of injury. It bothers me that there are some so damaged that they would take this particular myth seriously and not see the messages, moral instruction and the bit of slap and tickle beneath the horror story.
Little did I realize that five short years later, I would be at the mercy of a man-made Nosferatu that would try to suck all the life from my heart. I never connected the excerpt above to the taking of children for adoption until I re-read it when I was 18. The picture of the woman screaming for her child brought me to tears.
Reading it again after reunion, I was more taken with the images of the brides. How different is the avid coveting of a child from the lust for blood by a vampiress? It seems to be an obsession for both. So I brought the picture together in my mind. The Industry is the source, the 'Wampir,' and the brides are the adopters he chooses to receive the children he takes. And all the cries of "Monster-Give me my child!," were unheeded and we were threatened with the wolves if we dared to even try.
People say that adoption is invulnerable, firmly entrenched and will never go away. That may be, but, even Dracula had his weaknesses. Daylight was a biggie. If you can translate that into the light of truth, who knows what foundations can be shaken?
Dracula was able to move about in England because no one believed in such a thing. His persona was charming and debonair...even sexy (Frank Langella and Louis Jordan both made me swoon just a bit). The Industry masquerades as a benevolent entity, saving children from a fate worse than exsanguination...mainly being raised by their own mothers.
I've visited this analogy before on this blog. But I have been doing a bit of reading about those who are trying to rescue their children from CPS and the Industry and wannabe adopters who run and hide and I find myself whispering the words.."Monster, give me my child!" "Rebecca's Law" by Rohan McEnor is one book that has brought up the image in my mind.
There are those, I know, who were and are not reluctant to offer their babies to the Industry, but I still hold fast to the belief that these women are very few and not at all representative of Natural Mothers as a group. For those of us from the EMS, we believed that we were turning our infants over to the most benevolent of institutions. We had to believe it or go crazy.
It bothers me, now, to know that there was a monster behind the soft voice and false, sympathetic smile of the social workers. And that monster took my children and then threw me to the wolves.
I think I'll go sharpen a few stakes.
"It bothers me, now, to know that there was a monster behind the soft voice and false, sympathetic smile of the social workers. And that monster took my children and then threw me to the wolves."
Amen sister, Amen.
Robin, there are always monsters when you are one of the young mothers of foster care.....always....
Odd you should write about this. I read the original version when I was 13 yrs old. Then 8 mos after the loss of my newborn to adoption (I was 18 yrs old), I would go to live in England. I was reading as many books as I could get my sad hands on about vampires. Many of these books would talk about the taking of newborn babies, the screaming and crying of the mothers of these babies. The extreme suffering because the mother could not save her baby from a vampire. Yet I did not relate this to myself..but still was almost obsessed with books (stories) written about vampires. I shared the same bed with one of my sisters who is 5 yrs younger than me. To this day she will tell me how I would cry and scream out in my sleep, most nights of the week..and she didn't know what to do for me. Back then I put it down only to the books I was reading..now I know it was more than that.
Still to this day I like vampire movies....the Twilight stuff...blech!!
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