by Esther Elizabeth Suson
Tell me, how do you kill a vampire? Stake through the heart. You have to cut off its head too. How about keeping it away? Garlic, Holy Water, a cross. The Sacred Host works quite as well. What does Dracula’s house look like? It’s a spooky old castle. Where? Transylvania. What else? Uhmmm… It’s on top of a cliff.
What are we quibbling about?
Who knows more, who can show the other up in a who-wants-to-be-a-millionaire-type contest – that only shows off how many unconnected, random details that our brains can index.
One such contest is composed of Bible-verse-spouting – who can deliver more in a single conversation. Especially if those verses did not come from reading the Bible in its entirety. The verses come from pretty text-posts on Facebook and Tumblr, or by word-of-mouth – in other words, from hearsay alone.
I did not read Bram Stoker’s Dracula with the intent to build up an arsenal against readers of vampire-related paranormal romance.
But, I can tell you how the castle of Count Dracula looked like, roughly. I can name pretty much every character in the book, starting with the first couple we officially meet, Jonathan and Mina Harker (and her maiden name is…no wait, I forgot that one). I remember at least the initials of every other young man in that book, and that van Helsing once had a wife and son.
When we love something, our minds drink in the details greedily. When we love the characters in a book, they become alive to us. Quotes without the full power of the book backing them are not only weak, they lose credibility.
So if we are going to throw Bible verses around with authority, we should make sure that we are not just quoting Twilight and referencing Dracula – without ever having read the book from cover to cover.