Read the background info on the soucouyant, available here:
Pay attention to the specific attributes of the soucouyant, and consider how this creature is and is not like the vampire of European folklore.
The figure of the soucouyant still lives in Caribbean culture, and many Caibbean authors have referenced the soucouyant in their works. One of these, Jamaican writer Nalo Hopkinson, has always been drawn to fantastical, supernatural, or futuristic stories. In this short clip, Hopkinson talks about how she was inspired to write this style of fiction:
(BTW, this is not directly relevant to what we are working on in this class, but there’s a great, very short, video of Hopkinson talking about Afrofuturism, called “Sci-fi: Why it’s Radical for Black People to Imagine the Future” which I would recommend if you’re interested to learn more about her.)
^ LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjWYBXCgX6Y&ab_channel=CBCArts
Hopkinson explains that, as a writer, she has been influenced by both the local tradition of Jamaican writers, but also the history of Western literature, which makes her works an excellent touchpoint to examine the relationship between different cultural imaginings of the vampire figure.
???? Read Hopkinson’s short story “Greedy Choke Puppy” (2015) (attached below).
- How is the figure of the soucouyant similar to the figure of the vampire from Western culture? Where do they overlap? Are there significant differences? Specifically, what does the soucouyant symbolize in relation to the vampire figures we have read about and discussed? Do you think that Hopkinson uses her representation of vampirism as a “pretext” for interrogating “something else”, as we discussed in relation to Carmilla?
- How is the soucouyant described in the story? What sort of language is used to describe soucoyants themselves and their actions? What connotations does this language have?
- What is Jacky’s family like? What do we know about her background? How does the depiction of her family life help to develop the themes of the story?
- What do we know about Jacky’s career/profession? Why do you think the author chose to give her this background? How does it impact the story — what we the readers learn and when/how we learn it?
- What role do the “minor” characters (e.g. Carmen and Terry) play in the story? Why do you think they are included?
- What is Jacky’s secret? At what point do you begin to suspect what her secret is? Why do you think it is concealed/revealed in this way?
- What do you think of the ending? What do you think this story wants to communicate to its readers?
Write a paragraph (100-300 words) responding to one of the questions above, supporting your points with specific details from the story.