2015 Louisiana Studies Conference Presentation Abstract
“‘No darlin’ we’re white. He’s dead.’: Reconfigurations of discrimination in True Blood”
Presented by Verena Bernardi, Saarland University, Germany
This paper aims to investigate how Southern lifestyle and Southern hospitality are portrayed
in True Blood. Located in rural northern Louisiana, the fictional small town of Bon Temps plays a central role in the depiction of the societal set-up. Its location in the ͞Deep South of America renders Bon Temps a microcosm for discussions of issues such as the question of racism and gender equality in the American South, sexuality, religion, the heritage of the Civil War as well
as the aftermath of war and terror in a post-9/11 society. I will reveal how the depiction of Southern lifestyle and hospitality in True Blood diverge from popular expectations and render the notion of a healthy multicultural society seemingly impossible. The vampires in True Blood constitute either a separate class, race or species, which among other things seeks to achieve the same status in society as their non-vampire neighbors. How difficult this objective still is in a modern world where the presence of supernatural creatures has become normalcy can be seen in the different ways vampires and humans portray and display themselves as well as the establishments they frequent, e.g. Merlotte’s and Fangtasia. True Blood’s characters reach from Southern Belle, Sookie, and Gentleman, Bill, (only at first glance) to dominatrix-style lesbians
and murderous psychopaths. As misleading as the outward appearances of some characters might be, what they all have in common is their search for belonging in a modern society.