Vampirism is not always about Dracula. Throughout the eras of American Literature, the most important motif to consider would be Foster’s “Acts of Vampires”, in which a character – likely (but not always) a woman – will have something taken from her by some evil, an act representing or replacing rape. This action creates a conflict in the story, and can start a rippling cause-and-effect; it can change the identity of a person.
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Romantic short story Young Goodman Brown, Goodman Brown is stripped of his faith (both his wife, Faith, and his faith in God) when the Devil tricks him. He goes into the woods to confront the evil Devil, but the Devil strips him of his faith after showing Brown the true identities of the townsfolk; as a result, Goodman Brown is scared and defenceless cannot find himself to trust anyone, not even his own wife, for the rest of his life.
In Daisy Miller, a Realistic short story by Henry James, Daisy is
destroyed by Winterbourne. A man considerably older than the young woman takes away her “virginity” – stripping her of her youth, energy and virtue. Thus representing yet another “continuance of the life force of the old male; the death or destruction of the young woman” (Foster chap. 3). In the end, the innocent blossoming flower is killed and stripped bare by the harsh and unforgiving winter.
Flannery O’Connor’s Modern short story Good Country People possesses an astounding representation of a vampire-like villain (it is Southern “Gothic” after all). A young man selling Bibles, Manley Pointer, sinfully takes the older woman’s wooden leg. With a phallic name like “Manley Pointer”, he is already representing a bigger threat: the evil rapist. Although he does not sexually abuse Joy, he takes the thing she needs most and leaves her scared and defenseless. And once again, the phallic Manley Pointer strips away all Joy.