*This little essay has seen numerous iterations over the past five years. While the final product is by no means perfect, my hope is that it honors some of the amazing and brave work that Octavia Butler undertook during her lifetime to explore the complexity of the human experience.
Introduction: Making a Monster
In 1816 a young Italian writer and physician named John Polidori was traveling companion to English poet, Lord Byron. As such, he attended writers’ gatherings where, at Byron’s suggestion, participants created ghost stories for each other’s entertainment. One of Byron’s stories involved a man who made his own traveling companion swear to guard the secret of his death. Years later, Polidori took Byron’s basic story and combined it with the vampire of lore to create his own tale of horror. Using Bryon as a model, Polidori created a character named Lord Ruthven, a cruel, world-traveling aristocrat who preyed on innocent young women, luring them to his lair and feeding on their blood. Polidori’s short story, called “The Vampyre” was the first full work of fiction about a vampire written in English and is considered by many to be the foundation of the modern-day vampire story. The vampire motif has resurfaced repeatedly since Polidori’s penning of that short story, transforming and evolving with each subsequent generation. The most famous of the vampire tales, also published in the 19th century, was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The novel’s antagonist is, like Polidori’s Vampyre, a cruel, world-traveling noble.
Most of the subsequent renderings of the vampire tale have followed Polidori’s template, keeping them male and European or of European descent. In the twentieth century, there appeared a few examples of female and non-white vampires in literature and film. In the twenty-first century two black women writers; first Jewelle Gomez and later, Octavia Butler, seemingly completely digressed from the portrayal of the vampire as white, male, and inherently evil. In fact, the vampires of Gomez’s The Gilda Stories and Butler’s Fledgling challenge the traditional image of the vampire, appropriating it. By doing so, their novels explore explicitly issues of race, gender and sex where Polidori and later, Stoker, did so implicitly.
This essay takes an interdisciplinary approach to reading the violence that Shori, the protagonist of Butler’s Fledgling, is subjected to as a societal response to who she is and what she represents as a mixed-race woman who defies gender roles. In it I argue that Shori’s defiance of categorization in favor of occupying both liminal and multiple spaces, is transgressive in a patriarchal racist society that insists on binaries that uphold boundaries. The novel allows me to take up Robyn Longhurst’s well-argued call for feminist geographers, and I would add, all scholars who are invested in subverting hegemonic knowledge that is dependent upon a dominant/subordinate structure to do so by exploring the sexual embodiment of knowledge. Indeed, as Elizabeth Grosz and Longhurst argue, bodies are sexed. As such, they coincide with the shape and space of psyches, their epidermic surfaces bound “psychical unity” defining “the limits of experience and subjectivity”. This epidermic surface in Western culture where race is so pervasive also means that not only does the body’s sex matter, but also its race. While white heterosexual men may transcend their embodiment as raced, sexed beings, this luxury is not extended to “women, blacks, homosexuals, people with disabilities, the elderly and so on” “who are reduced to the role of modifications or variations of the (implicitly white, male, youthful, heterosexual, middle-class) human body”. Butler decenters “the centered white man subject of western liberal humanism” by not only foregrounding Shori’s relationship with herself and her familial relationships with humans (symbionts) that she must assemble anew, but also her relationships with her extended family, which is contentious because, while she is treasured by some members, she is reviled by others. She spends most of the novel rebuilding her relationships because of her amnesia that results from a head injury that she sustained during a brutal attack before the narrative begins.
While the head of her extended family is a white male—perhaps the author’s nod to the original vampire tale—Shori’s family is matrilineal. Also, although the first partner that Shori takes to form her new family is a white heterosexual male, she does not stop there, but pursues a post-menopausal white woman and then inherits two other female partners; one white and one black. This constant crossing of boundaries, both racial and sexual, makes Shori, in the words of Grosz, a volatile body; one that is transgressive and not easily classified. She is not “irreducible to the subject/object and inside/outside positions”. Rather, as I will show, she occupies both and neither positions simultaneously. Although one member of her Ina family remarks that she is a great error, neither Ina nor human, she is also both; the result of an experiment of the union between a black woman and an Ina man. Thus, while she partakes of polarizing terms, she cannot clearly be defined by either, making her an abject body.
But while Shori is considered abject because of her uncontainability and uncontrollability I would also argue that the world in which she lives is also abject. For if, as Marcia England argues, “abject spaces are considered dangerous and frightening because they are places of uncertainty” then the very world in which Shori lives is abject; a very real threat to her because of her difference, illustrated by the novel’s opening when she wakes up in a cave amnesic because she has been brutality attacked by those who find her unacceptable. Thus Shori’s transgressiveness may be explored in relation to spatial and bodily sites of abjection that she encounters outside the cave, the womblike structure of nature.
In the gothic milieu a “fledgling” refers to someone who is in the process of changing from a human to a vampire—a kind of new initiate into the land between the living and the undead. It is also a baby bird that is just learning to fly. The novel’s title refers to Shori, named for an East African crested nightingale who seems to be a pre-pubescent human. The double meanings of the novel’s title point to the protagonist’s status as part human, part vampire as the genetically engineered product of a human mother and a vampire father. She is a liminal figure; of and outside of, within and beyond, both and neither. Again, she diverges from the traditional vampire not only because she is female, but also because she is black. Her melanin enables her to stay awake during the day whereas the traditional Eastern European male vampire must sleep. While she is at an advantage and most members of her vampire community called Ina value her for this ability she is also seen as deviant and a threat to some.
In an interview Butler states that she read Dracula many years before writing Fledgling, after finding it on her mother’s bookshelf. She subsequently read other renditions of the vampire tale and declared that it was the myriad number of ways that she saw the character portrayed that made her want to “make [her] own”. It seems that necessarily her own vampire would be black and a woman because while she said that she did not write with a particular feminist or racial agenda, “she grounded her work in truths based on her understanding of her self as black and female. She felt it important to acknowledge that her black female existence produced different experiences than those typically found in science fiction”. Her writing is rooted is those experiences.
Stoker’s Dracula was written during an era when two things overwhelmingly occupied the Western European’s mind: race and sex. The emigration of thousands of Eastern European and Russian Jews in the 1880s and 1890s engendered a profusion of anti-Semitic literature. This anti-Semitic sentiment and the perception of immigrant Jews as pestilential and contaminated comes through in Stoker’s description of Dracula and his lair as “malodorous” and “dirty”. This reference to dirt or dirtiness speaks to what Mary Douglas would call Dracula’s status as somebody who is not in his proper place, who upsets or befuddles order. He “signals a site of possible danger to social and individual systems, a site of vulnerability…” He, “as marginal and unincorporable always locates sites of potential threat to the system and to the order” that he “both makes possible and problematizes” as an outsider. Dracula’s features are described in detail as singularly Other, at times distinctly Jewish, at other times almost animalistic. Jonathan Harker, the Englishman that Dracula keeps as a prisoner describes his face as
strong—very strong—aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples, but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl on its own profusion. The mouth…was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips.
The features associated with Jewishness—unruly hairiness, large thin noses—are coupled with a repeated reference to his Otherness in his peculiarity and to his less than humanness in the cruel set of a mouth that frames sharp white teeth that “protrude(d) over the lips” such as those of a canine. His malodorousness, dirtiness, and the animalistic features attributed to him as encoded Jewishness conspire to Other and dehumanize him. This Othering played into the xenophobia that was pervasive in Europe at the time.
This issue of foreignness, xenophobia, and subsequent displacement is also addressed in Fledgling, though not directly. It is because Shori is foreign to the singular categories that she is denied a “safe” haven as either human or Ina. While in the novel, her resistance to characterization as Ina or human is presented as the reason that she is hunted down to be killed, this dichotomous relationship can easily be seen as a metaphor for others, such as black or white, male or female, straight or gay. And while the reader is led to believe throughout most of the novel that race is not a factor in certain members of the Ina clan’s rejection of Shori, there are slippages in the text that make it clear that they are not as color-blind as they would like to believe.
Shori’s Abject Body
Grosz brings in the element of liminality in her discussion of the abject body when she says that the abject body is irreducible to the subject/object and inside/outside oppositions. Thus, though the abject body “necessarily partakes of both polarized terms, [it] cannot clearly be identified with either”. Furthermore, as Marcia England argues, “abjection plays a role in the creation of feelings of horror which are caused by ambiguity, transgression and unease. Horror occurs when boundaries are transgressed…when bodies will not die”. Finally, as England suggests, “Abjection is typically represented by the monster in the horror genre, where monsters represent the in-between, the mixed, the ambivalent” and they “break down social order by dissolving boundaries (including me/not me; animate; inanimate; and life/death) that forms our signifying system”. Indeed, both Count Dracula and Shori represent the abject body in this sense. But while Count Dracula represents the abject body because he is presumably Jewish and undead, Shori’s body is even more transgressive as, not only is she undead, but she is unidentifiable because of her other markers of liminality or hybridity; pre-pubescent and pre-menopausal, both black and Ina. She represents what Homi Bhabha calls the Third Space, an ambivalent space that disrupts the unity and homogeneity of cultural identity and creates an in-between that must be read anew. As such, as Ali Brox argues, “The negotiation of identity within the Third Space creates ambivalence at the source of authority and becomes a form of subversion. Ultimately, hybridity expresses the impossibility of essentialism and fixity through its embodiment of dialogic tension within its own paradoxical structure”.
As a hybrid character Shori represents a threat to the hegemonic structures that exist. She epitomizes the abject body, transgressive in her very existence as a rejection of categorization and control. Because she is the embodiment of dialogic tensions that subvert the status quo that is characterized by essentialism and fixity the only way to deal with her is to eliminate her.
Birth, Rebirth and Creative Potential
Shori embodies creativity and new life. Because she is the first of her kind as a genetically engineered part-Ina, part-human who must create a new community from a void she must re-conceive of the family and the relationship between Ina and their symbionts as well as with the rest of the world in order to redefine the parameters that have shaped those relationships in the past.
The novel begins with Shori’s rebirth, a fact that Butler stresses in having the man who would become her lover, Wright, call her Renée, which means “reborn”. The cave acts as a womb that shelters her while she heals and regains her senses so that she can emerge as a new being. Her newness is signified by her having no memory of her past in much the same way one could imagine a newborn baby emerges from the womb of his or her mother; a clean slate. Finally, the way that she describes the experience evokes the newborn experience of birth as traumatic, perhaps painful as he or she makes his or her way through the birth canal:
I awoke to darkness.
I was hungry—starving!—and I was in pain. There was nothing in my world but hunger and pain, no other people, no other time, no other feelings.
It hurt to move. It hurt even to breathe….the worst was, no matter where I looked, there was no hint of light. I couldn’t see my own hands as I held them up in front of me.
In the beginning is only darkness, pain, hunger, discomfort. Shori is an egocentric being who has no knowledge of or interest in anything outside of herself. She is not only housed in the womb of the cave, but also the womb of her own body as it repairs itself. Not being able to see anything outside herself means that she must focus on her own health and survival. After she has eaten and rested she wakes up closer to emerging from her womblike state: “When I awoke, my darkness had begun to give way. I could see light again, and I could see blurred shadowy shapes that blocked the light”. Finally, in a description that resembles both a baptism and birth Shori relates emerging from the cave:
I got wet as soon as I crawled out of my shelter…I sat still for a while, feeling the wetness—water falling on my head, my back and into my lap…I could not recall feeling rain on my skin before—water falling from the sky gently pounding my skin.
I decided I liked it. I climbed to my feet slowly, my knees protesting the movements with individual bursts of pain. Once I was up I stood still for a while, trying to get used to balancing my legs. I held onto the rocks that happened to be next to me and stood looking around trying to understand where I was…there was so much I didn’t know.
Again, dualism is at work here as Shori’s emergence resembles both evolution and birth. She is like a baby learning to stand on her own two legs as well as a primitive being evolving into a biped. She is also baptized with water and emerges from her darkness reborn to the light and a new life that she will create. She is thus both creator and created as shortly after she is “reborn”, she is charged with birthing a community. It is a community of which she must conceive without any knowledge of what existed before as a person without a sense of her history.
During an interview with Butler, Daniel Burton-Rose tries to draw a connection between the violence-induced cultural amnesia at the hands of European-Americans that African-Americans have and continue to face and Shori’s experience. However, Butler seems to reject such as reading, stating, “If Shori did not have amnesia she would probably have more in common with the people who raised her than with, say, just an ordinary African-American. But because she has the amnesia she doesn’t have that much in common with anybody”. Thus, perhaps a reading more in line with Butler’s vision would be of Shori as a kind of Eve figure who must build a world out of nothing; the potential universal mother of a new humanity.
Swing both ways, do you?
Back in 1968 psychologist, Robert Stoller proposed that “the biological sex of a person augments but does not determine the appropriate gender identity of that person. Rather, a person’s gender identity is primarily the result of post-natal psychological influences”. Shori is an example of the distinction between sex and gender that Stoller brings to our attention. As Grosz suggests, “the body, as much as the psyche or subject, can be regarded as cultural and historical product”. Furthermore, as Rosemary-Claire Collard argues working from Butler and Paechter, gender is not “stable or fixed, but rather constituted”. It is “not universal, but temporally and geographically fixed”. Though she is physically female Shori does not “act like a girl” and takes both male and female symbionts. The novel suggests that her comfort with crossing gender boundaries is resultant from the community in which she was raised as, even though she does not consciously remember it, she has grown up in a cultural and historical milieu where the taking of both male and female partners is not only accepted, but expected. Wright brings the foreignness of this alternative to traditional gender roles home when he pointedly asks Shori, “Swing both ways, do you?” It is Wright’s inability to pin Shori down; to control her sexuality and her performed gender, that leads to his act of rape later in the novel.
Gender roles are problematized in the way that Shori’s sexual relationships with her symbionts mirror each other regardless of sex. In fact, Shori’s initial encounters with both Wright and another character, Theodora, resemble virginal sex. Both may be said to be feminized as at the point of initial penetration by Shori the resistance of her hosts can be viewed as the resistance of the female virgin’s hymen to initial penetration. Once the membrane is broken, however, pain gives way to pleasure. Likewise, the vampire, Shori’s teeth puncturing the skin of her hosts represent this initial sexual penetration.
While Shori’s initial biting of Wright is a defensive measure (she bites his hand to stop him from reporting her to the police) her encounter with Theodora is deliberate. She is the initiator and in control, waking Theodora from her sleep in the middle of the night, restraining her and biting her in the dark:
…I lay down beside the woman and covered her mouth with my hand as she woke. I held onto her with my other arm and both my legs as she began to struggle. Once I was sure of my hold on her, I bit into her neck. She struggled wildly at first, tried to bite me, tried to scream, but after I had fed a few seconds, she stopped struggling. I held her a little longer, to be sure she was subdued; then, when she gave no more trouble, I let her go. She lay still, eyes closed.
The violence of Shori’s attack on Theodora is highlighted by the time, place, and condition of the attack. Shori approaches Theodora under cover of darkness, invading her home, waking her from her sleep by covering her mouth and then restricting her movements as she struggles to fight her off.
In recent years, scholars have argued that the boundaries between the public and private are continually constructed, challenged and redefined. This continuous change, which has rendered the divide between the public and private porous, however, does not make the invasion of the home any less horror-producing. In fact, it is the stuff of nightmares for patriarchy because it challenges the foundational notions upon which patriarchy is based. With the porousness comes the breakdown of divisions. A man’s home “ceases to be his patriarchal castle due to the invasive presence of Others. When the Other infiltrates the home it opens up the previously private domain. As a further insult to patriarchal control, Vivian Sobchack argues, the Other can become part of the family, and open up the kitchen and family room to the horrific and wondrous world outside this private and safe domain. Thus, it is significant that Theodora is not only post-menopausal, but her husband is long dead and the other two women whom Shori takes as her symbionts are newly widowed by their male Ina. It is only under such conditions that Shori can be, not only invited into the family, but create a new model based on foundational principles that break down divisions and boundaries upon which patriarchy is based.
If we consider again, what Shori represents—a breakdown of the dualistic structure—then it seems clear that for Butler, at least, Shori does not represent “horror”. Rather, she represents creative potential. For those who are invested in the status quo, she is a monster. But in fact, they are the monsters. Their monstrosity is most poignantly illustrated first in Shori’s pitiful state in the beginning of the novel and then later in the destruction of what has developed into a happy relationship between Shori and Theodora. In one of their final conversations Theodora tells Shori, “I want to be with you”… “It’s all I’ve wanted since you first came to me. I don’t truly understand my feelings for you, but they’re stronger than anything I’ve ever felt, stronger than anything I’ve ever expected to feel”. Shortly after that Theodora is murdered by those who feel threatened by, not only Shori as a person/Ina, but also the change she represents.
Normalcy and Deviance: Black Women as Societal Transgressors
Again, during Shori’s initial encounter with Theodora, Shori invades the latter’s home in the middle of the night. Afterwards, when Shori wants to ask Theodora to join her family she visits her at her home. Likewise, when she first meets and later bites Brook and Celia to bring them into her family, she does so inside of a home. This is contrasted with Shori’s first encounter with Wright, which takes place on the road in his car. Whereas the home represents the realm of women, the domestic, inside space, the male space is outdoors/the street.
The division of female and male space—inside versus outside—took shape during the Victorian Age in the 19th century when Polidori and later Stoker published their vampire tales. Feminist historians have described the emergence of the division between private and public spaces in Europe and North America as part of the cultural project of an emerging middle class when, “The elaboration of the private as a domestic haven of feminine grace and charm, and of the public as the arena of aggressive masculine competition…was as much material as symbolic…” This division between the public and the private was very much a classed and raced movement as it also marked a period of extreme poverty and the emergence of widespread prostitution in England, both of which were criminalized.
The normalization of the white middle class depended on the Othering of anyone who fell outside the realm of that class. This included anyone who was poor, African, or Native American. Since the Victorian Age also marked a time of profound sexual repression, sexual organs and practices were used to establish Otherness as well. African and Native American women were considered to have larger sexual organs than white middle class women. Black women, in particular, were considered to have particularly excessive and deviant sexuality. Thus, we have the legacy of Saartjie Baartman (a.k.a The Hottentot Venus), already displaced from her community amongst the KhoiKhoi, taken from her enslavement in Cape Town to be paraded around Europe so that spectators could view her prominent buttocks and “unusual” genitalia, which were imagined to be a sign of her overdeveloped sexuality. After her death at the age of twenty-five, her buttocks and external genitalia were removed and donated to La Musée de l’Homme in Paris where it remained until 2002. One of the reasons that Baartman was so interesting to the European public was because her genitalia and buttocks were seen as abnormally large. She represented the sexually irrepressible female “Other”; the unmanageable, “excessively sexual” woman. The fact that she was black also fed into racist Victorian notions of whiteness equaling purity and Godliness and blackness representing impurity and evil.
In the United States under slavery, black women did not have the option to remain indoors out of the public space as their lives were not their own. Moreover, they had no control over their place or role in the public sphere. Shori and Theodora represent the two sides of the female experience in this context. As a white middle class woman, Theodora is relegated to the private sphere, actually cut-off from the public sphere since her husband’s death. Conversely, as a black woman, Shori is very much in the public sphere, taking on the aggressive masculine traits that are associated with it.
Butler brings her sensibility as a black woman to the text in her choice of protagonist. In an interview with Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now!” she emphasizes, not so much Shori’s femaleness, but her melanin, which gives her an evolutionary advantage. While some members of Shori’s family celebrate her melanin as a scientific breakthrough, she is attacked because she is black; a possibility about which Wright speculates, but then dismisses because it is believed that Ina are not concerned with race. However, when Shori confronts one of her initial attackers asking him why he is after her, he repeats what he has been told: “Dirty little nigger bitch…Goddamn mongrel cub”. She is persecuted not only because she is part human, but also because she is dark-skinned. The accusation of dirtiness as in unincorporability because she is a “mongrel” is leveled at her. She is a threat to the system and order that exists. Like the traditional Dracula, the biggest fear is that she “will multiply, threatening the survival of humanity”, or in this case, the survival of Ina. Her mixed status brings to mind the dilemma of the tragic mulatto in an American context, both of and outside the two discrete races. As such, they “contaminate dominant racial norms, complicating spatial metaphors of ‘margin’ and ‘centre’…” This is, of course, also further evidence of Shori’s abjectness as the “simultaneous occupation of both center (in this case, Ina) and margin (black). She produces a paradoxical space that is the embodiment of “subversive potential”, a point that Brox makes in her discussion of the Third Space above. Shori’s subversive potential is presented by her ability to withstand sunlight as a result of her genetic mutation, a development that racialists would liken to white and black miscegenation to produce mulatto Others.
This threat to racialized norms and the fear of multiplication is articulated intermittently throughout the novel and is brought to a climax at the novel’s end, when the history of blacks in the United States is referenced directly as a reason for Shori’s extended family’s inability to accept her: Katherine Dahlman, a member of her extended family on trial for trying to kill her, asks the parent of other Ina who are interested in mating with Shori, “You want your sons to mate with this person. You want them to get black, human children from her. Here in the United States, even most humans will look down on them, when I came to this country, such people were kept as property, as slaves”. The exchange comments on the historical and the contemporary condition of blacks in the United States where there existed the “one drop rule”. And while they were slaves in the distant past, it is still the case that people who come to this country from abroad find it necessary to distance themselves from American blacks as a way of advancing economically and socio-politically. Still later, Shori is attacked by Russell Silk, an Ina who calls Shori a “murdering black mongrel bitch” and asks, “What will she give us all? Fur? Tails?” Sadly, everyone learns by the end of the novel that not all Ina are beyond race and in fact, denigrate Shori because of her African heritage, a reality that surfaced repeatedly during the presidencies of Barack Obama, even while the rhetoric of “post-racialism” was being propagated.
Ending at the Beginning
Fledgling ends as it begins; with violence. In order to protect herself and her new family Shori must kill Katherine Dahlman by ripping out her throat in the same way that she ripped out the throats of her attackers early in the novel. As I said at the beginning of this article, Butler’s foregrounding of Shori’s primal state at the beginning of the novel exposes the societal violence that fear and bias engenders. Sometimes a return to the primal state when one’s very survival is being threatened is warranted. In a so-called civilized society in which patriarchy denigrates the female body and in a racist society in which one’s skin color is cause for persecution, the battles for self-preservation must be fought with whatever tools are at hand, even if they were originally the master’s. As such, the reimagining of the vampire narrative through the lens of transgression opens up a forum for exploration of the complexity of the human experience to which Octavia Butler was so deeply committed.
 See Martin V. Riccardo, “A Brief Cultural History of the Vampire” in The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead.
 Bram Stoker. Dracula  (New York: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 2003).
 The exception to this is Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872), which predates Stoker’s Dracula by 25 years and features a female vampire whose actions hint at both transgressive sexual engagement and reveal cultural anxieties about violence and taboo sexual practices; themes that we also find in Stoker’s novel.
 A few examples are Daughters of Darkness by Harry Kumel (1971) and The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez (1991). Filmic presentations of black women vampires include Ganja and Hess (1973), Vamp (1986), Def by Temptation (1990), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) and Queen of the Damned (2002). Blacula (1972) and Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973) are two popular films that feature an African man as the lead character.
 Octavia Butler, Fledgling (New York: Warner Books, 2005), Jewell Gomez The Gilda Stories. The Gilda Stories (Ann Arbor: Firebrand Books, 2004).
 Robyn Longhurt, “Viewpoint: The Body and Geography”, Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 2:1 (1995): 97.
 Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1994); Longhurst, ibid., 98.
 Elizabeth Grosz, “Bodies/Cities,” in Sexuality and Space, ed. Beatriz Columina (Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press 1992): 243.
 Longhurst, “Viewpoint”, 98.
 Grosz, Volatile Bodies, 188.
 Rosemary-Claire Collard, “Cougar Figures, Gender, and the Performances of Predation.” Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography19:4 (2011): 522.
 Grosz, Volatile Bodies, 192.
 Ina are what the beings who are called “vampires” in the folklore call themselves.
 Butler, 271-2.
 Marcia England, “Breached Bodies and Home Invasions: Horrific Representations of the Feminized Body and Home,” Gender, Place and Culture 13:4, (2006): 354.
 Daniel Burton-Rose, “The Lit Interview/Octavia Butler” in Conversations with Octavia Butler, ed. Consuela Francis (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2010): 203.
 Consuela Francis, “Introduction,” Conversations, x.
 Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (Baltimore: Pelican,1980).
 Ibid., 2.
 Grosz, Volatile Bodies, 192.
 Stoker, Dracula, 28.
 Grosz, Volatile Bodies, 192.
 England, “Breached Bodies”, 354.
 Ibid., 355.
 Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994).
 Ali Brox, “’Every Age has the Vampire it Needs’: Octavia Butler’s Vampiric Vision in Fledgling”. Utopian Studies 19.3 (1998): 391-392
 Ibid., 1.
 Ibid., 2.
 Ibid., 3.
 Burton-Rose, “The Lit Interview,” 203.
 Longhurst, 100.
 Grosz, Volatile Bodies, 187.
 Collard, 530.
 Butler 85.
 Ibid., 25.
 England, 359.
 Vivian Sobchack “Bringing It All Back Home: Family, Economy and Generic Exchange in Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film, ed. Barry Keith Grant (Austin, TX, University of Texas Press, 1995):143-163.
 Butler, 200.
 Allison Blunt and Gillian Rose, Writing Women and Space: Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies (New York: The Guilford Press, 1994), 3.
 Amy Goodman. “Science Fiction Writer Octavia Butler on Race, global Warming and Religion,” Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2005/11/11/science_fiction_writer_octavia_butler_on
 Butler 148.
 Ibid., 173.
 Maurice Hindle, “Introduction.” Dracula (New York: Penguin Books, 1993): viii.
 Minelle Mahtani, “Racial Remappings: The Potential of Paradoxical Space,” Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 8:3 (2001): 302.
 Butler, 272.
 Ibid., 300.