Study Guide

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Part 2, Chapter 5

By Seth Grahame-Smith

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Part 2, Chapter 5

New Salem

  • Welcome to Part 2, Shmoopers. Part 2 is called "Vampire Hunter." 
  • This chapter starts off with a quote from a letter about self-improvement, which makes us feel lazy for sitting here.
  • In 1831, Abe, now twenty-two years old, is waiting in Calhoun, Illinois (which will be renamed Springfield the following year). For what? We'll find out, we hope.
  • See, in 1830, Thomas moved the family near Decatur, Illinois (which you may know from the Sufjan Stevens song, which, hey, mentions Abraham Lincoln. Small world.).
  • And for his twenty-second birthday, Abe's stepbrother John convinced him to go to Calhoun to celebrate.
  • But while John celebrates in the traditional fashion (booze, prostitutes), Abe celebrates by spotting a vampire to kill. That's what he's waiting for—the perfect moment to strike.
  • Abe has his trusty ax and a new weapon, "the martyr," which is basically a big match he uses to blind the light-sensitive vampires.
  • Unfortunately, his martyr doesn't light when Abe attacks the vampire and it turns out that the vampire has a gun and no fangs. 
  • So Abe almost killed a regular guy. Whoops.
  • Moving right alone, Abe gets hired by Denton Offutt to do that flatboat-to-New-Orleans job again, this time with his stepbrother John and his cousin John Hanks. (It almost makes you happy that people are naming their kids Blue Ivy today, just so we don't have so many Johns.) 
  • On their way down the Sangamon River, Denton Offutt is impressed by the town of New Salem, which is probably important since the chapter is named after it.
  • (Also, here we get the info that Abe left a note for Henry in his old cabin about leaving for Illinois and how Henry can reach him. It's a lot easier today with email.)
  • After their trip, Denton decides to open a store in New Salem and hires Abe to work in it.
  • In his free time, Abe befriends a schoolteacher, William Mentor Graham, who helps teach Lincoln a bit about speaking (and hopefully spelling).
  • Unfortunately for his vampire-hunting hobby, there aren't a lot of vampires in the area.
  • But there are people to fight. There's a gang of young men in nearby Clary's Grove called the Clary's Grove Boys and they like to stir up trouble.
  • When Abe beats the biggest one (his name is Jack) in a fight, they become close friends. Oh, things were simpler then, without Facebook. All you had to do was pick a guy up and throw him into a building, and you were friends.
  • They become so close that Abe even tells Jack about vampires.
  • And as proof, Abe and Jack go off hunting a vampire that Henry said was very clever and dangerous.
  • This vampire, Timothy Douglas, ambushes them and almost kills Jack, but Abe bests him (thanks to a working martyr). 
  • And, bonus, Jack wants to start hunting vampires for real now.

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