Responsibility vs. Social Life in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

A Division/Classification Essay by Janet Jongebloed

"In every generation there is a chosen one, She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer," the introduction of the television show 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' says. However; due to a fluke in the system, there were three vampire slayers this generation; Buffy, Faith, and Kendra. Slayers fights evil with advanced skills and strength. A watcher is assigned to each slayer; they work as mentors and authority figures to the chosen ones. The slayer's lifestyles differ greatly, which might play a role in their survival or lack thereof.

Ever since she was fifteen years old, Buffy Summers has known of her responsibility as the chosen one. Now she tries to balance slaying vampires and being a teenager. It was hard at first accepting her destiny, but she has learned to accept the fact that she will never have a normal life, but that doesn't stop her from wishing for one. A close circle of her friends, mainly Willow and Xander, know about her secret identity. They help her at times and she draws strength from the fact that they are always there for her. Throughout the show, Buffy has tried above all to balance her social life with her many responsibilities, which is something everyone can relate to. A metaphor for this balance is her true love Angel who happens to be a vampire, but a good one with a soul. They fight against the darkness together, but they also dated and even danced at the prom.

Kendra, native of Jamaica, was sent to her watcher at a very early age, she doesn't even remember her parents. To her people, being the slayer was a great honor. Since childhood, she studied codex after codex of mythology about the demons that occupied the world, eventually building up a large supply of book knowledge. She listened avidly to her watcher, following orders as they were given. Her watcher does not allow her to have friends, talk to boys, or go to school; they all are said to distract from her true calling. Buffy once sarcastically told her that she had no personality, which is partly true. Kendra believed that, "Emotions are weakness, you shouldn’t entertain them." However, Buffy helped her realize that 'Emotions are total assets, they give you power". Unfortunately, at the end of the second season, Kendra was killed. Her bravery and obligation to humanity are in the end what killed her, when she refused to back down from a fight.

Last there's Faith, who is a wild party girl. Never caring for rules she doesn't follow them and doesn't take her watcher seriously. She's a run away who frequents nightclubs. A habit of hers is using men and then dumping them. Love is something she is pretty cynical about. In the beginning of season three she slays vampires, but after awhile gives that up. She switches sides because someone pretends they cares about her, the only problem is he's on the bad side, so she decides to join him there. Faith's vampire slaying activities get dumped in order for her to make room for carrying out murders for the evil side. Her social life consumes her, but in the end Faith finds that her supposed 'friends' were not who they appeared to be. She gets killed because she chose the wrong people to hang around.

In the end, the only slayer left is Buffy. The lesson from this is a simple one many people can use in their own lives, in order to survive you need to balance social life and responsibility. If you can't do that, you're going to run into a lot of problems in life.