Anne Rice

Interview With A Vampire

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Interview With A Vampire Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.

Interview with the Vampire is Anne Rice’s debut novel published in 1976. It tells the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac who is relating his 200-year life to an unnamed reporter. It was written from a 1968 short story and expanded after the death of Rice’s daughter Michelle.

Louis is a young indigo plantation owner in 1791, living just south of New Orleans. Distraught after the death of his brother, he meets Lestat. Lestat turns him into a vampire after expressing a wish for his company, and the two live on the plantation for a while. Lestat feeds on the slaves, but Louis is overcome with guilt and survives on animals.

They are forced to leave when the slaves instigate an uprising. They set the plantation on fire to prevent word spreading about vampires. Gradually, Louis begins to feed on humans, but he is bothered by Lestat’s disregard for human life. He feeds on a plague-ridden child found next to the body of her mother and begins to think of going on alone. To prevent this, Lestat turns the child into a vampire to give Louis a “daughter.”

The child, Claudia, comes into killing easily, but as she ages, she grows discontented. Her mind matures into that of a woman, but her body never does. After another sixty years, she plots to kill Lestat by poisoning him and cutting his throat. They dump his body in the swamp and prepare to leave for Europe. Lestat appears again, and they set their house on fire leaving him to burn and perish.

When they arrive in Europe, they look for other vampires. In Eastern Europe, they find nothing but reanimated corpses, but in France, they find vampires like themselves. Armand, one such vampire, and his coven live in an old theater where they feed on live humans before a live audience. Claudia is repulsed by these vampires, but Armand and Louis are drawn to each other.

Fearing that Louis will leave her, Claudia demands that Louis make her a companion, a doll maker she finds in Paris. The doll maker, Madeleine, and the two of them live peacefully together for a time before Lestat appears again having survived the fire. His accusations result in Louis being locked in a coffin and Claudia and Madeleine locked in an open courtyard. Armand arrives in time to release Louis, but he is too late to save the women.

Louis is devastated and sets fire to the theater killing all the vampires. He and Armand leave, but soon grow apart, and Louis returns to twentieth century New Orleans. He lives there in the shadows and never makes another companion.

After telling his story, the reporter begs Louis to make him immortal. Louis is enraged that the reporter learned nothing from his story and he attacks him and leaves. The reporter goes to track down Lestat in the hope that the vampire will fulfill his wish.

The question of immortality is a major theme in the book. Louis goes out after the death of his brother seeking death himself. When he finds Lestat, he agrees to be made a vampire—a choice he does not fully understand and that haunts him throughout the book. He recounts his last evening as a human with bittersweet longing. He is telling the story finally to a human to warn others of the consequences of seeking immortality.

He also wrestles with having to consume humans to live. He avoids this for a long time but ultimately is unable to remain feeding on animals. Even after he begins to feed on humans, the guilt consumes him, scaring his vampire existence.

Dissatisfaction with existence is another heavy theme. Louis is dissatisfied with his decision to become immortal to the point that he agrees with Claudia’s plot to kill Lestat. He believes that moving to Europe will cure what is bothering him, but in truth, he cannot escape his sense of dissatisfaction.

Claudia is also dissatisfied with her existence. She is a woman in a child’s body and blames Lestat for creating her in the first place. She grows dissatisfied with Louis’s fascination with Armand and the French vampires so much that she demands he create a companion for her. Ultimately, she is undone by her scheming and sentenced to die.

Lestat to some extent is dissatisfied. He is a bored immortal who finds no pleasure in anything except killing his prey. He sees humans as little more than silly animals meant only to please vampires and sate their hunger. He roams the world believing that he is a superior being, but he is unable to escape his feelings of emptiness.

Although the novel was released to mixed reviews initially, it has spawned a series of books revolving in the same universe, securing Rice as a classic horror novelist. The book is now in the annals of vampire lore, along with Dracula, as a classic.