Although the idea of vampires had already been popular in folklore long before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, his adaptation of the tale lead to the creation of one of literature’s most symbolically sexualized characters. Dracula have proven the 1897 novel to be truly timeless. It is arguably one of the most beloved classics of gothic literature. However, relying loosely on the text, modern renditions habitually bypass the more controversial subjects of fear within the text as those fears relate to female sexuality and homosexuality. By examining the Victorian era in which Dracula was written, looking closely at how the female characters are portrayed, the gender relations between the characters, and the blatant homosexual undertones of the novel, this reflection will explore how the classic seamlessly manipulates the themes of women’s sexuality, gender inversion, and also the point of view of Bram Stoker. “Dracula” becomes the famous horror novel in the 15th century and also an inspired many horror stories after that.
First person point of view is the predominate viewpoint of Dracula. The fascinating thing about the book is that it takes on the viewpoint of several characters in the form of letters, journals, and diary entries. Occasionally there are third person accounts written as newspaper articles. If the story were only written in third person or even in only one character’s viewpoint the story would not unfold in quite the same way. The reader would not know more than the characters or be able to put things together long before the characters. It would not be nearly as suspenseful. Mina (Murray Harker) is the main character in the novel because we read her diary entries more than anyone else’s. Mina is brave because she goes into dangerous situations trying to save her friend Lucy. Mina is persistent in that she refuses to give up hope that they will destroy Dracula. She is hard working as shown when she types up all the diaries and journals from several people so that all the information about Dracula is found in one place. Finally, Mina is also loyal to her husband and she is intelligent. Professor Van Helsing is one of the many minor characters in the novel. Van Helsing is an intelligent man, having studied unusual cases from all around the world. He is also a bit strange when he demands that the suffering Lucy wear garlic around her neck. Van Helsing is a loyal friend when he travels to London to help discover what is wrong with Lucy. Finally he is resourceful and determined. Dracula is written in journal entries, letters between friends, and news articles. Not only is it written in many forms, it uses many points of view. The journal entries, and letters are written in first person, but the news articles are written in third person. Because of these many points of view, the reader gets to see how many people view the situation with the Count and the sub-plots in the novel. The novel starts in first person point of view with Jonathon Harker. He seems to be a very practical man that pays attention to detail. Then the point of view shifts to letters between Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra. These two sweet girls have been best friends for years and who face disaster when Lucy begins to walk in her sleep. In between these letters a News article is told in a narrator’s voice. From there the point of view shifts to Dr. Seward. His journal entries are more centered on facts and possible solutions. Along with Dr. Seward’s entries, Professor Van Helsing does include his own thoughts on the problems and the solutions he views. This many shifts in point of view normally wouldn’t work, and cause the story to seem disjointed. Since the shifts are journal or diary entries, Stoker uses transitions well and makes the shifts not abrupt and work for the plot.
One of the major themes in Dracula is the concept of Christian Salvation. This theme starts in the beginning as Harker is traveling to Castle Dracula. The locals cross themselves, make the sign of the cross, and one puts a Rosary around Jonathon Harker’s neck. We see Stoker using the theme that if a person will follow Christ salvation will be found in heaven and evil will be kept at bay. Another instance were Stoker is using the theme of Christian Salvation is when Van Helsing is brought into so save Lucy Westenra from the vampire hold. After the Count arrives at London he begins his affair with Lucy, but not in the usual sense. The Count chooses beautiful women, then seduces and converts her while she sleeps. As Mina and Dr. Seward strive to keep Lucy alive, Professor Van Helsing arrives to aid Seward in saving Lucy. After realizing that Lucy is a vampire, a cross is kept around at all times Even though Lucy did become a vampire, it was through Christian Salvation that Van Helsing tried to save her. Throughout the novel Bram Stoker deals with the theme of beast versus humanity. The idea of same-sex erotica also confuses what it means to be a sexual being. The novel does not “dismiss homoerotic desire and threat; rather it simply continues to diffuse and displace it” (Craft 111). As seen in the combination of male blood during the transfusion scene, men may only touch each other through women; therefore Dracula uses the hyper-sexuality of the mutated women he controls in order to get to the men he really wants. He is the original supreme vampire and uses his offshoots of female vampires to enact his will and desire. “My jackals [will] do my bidding when I want to feed,” he claims (Stoker 360). For this reason, among others, numerous scholars have read the processes of biting, sucking, and sharing blood in Dracula as sexual, reproductive actions.
Throughout the “Dracula” book I am now more clearly understand the culture and lifestyle of the 15th century. However, more important than the meaning behind the tangible concluding events, is the fact that within Dracula are the ever-present struggles to define, maintain, manipulate, and explore what it means to be a sexual being; to struggle with duality. Stoker stretches the concept until it becomes as distorted as his master villain, yet in the process, brings the reader closer to discovering the true spectrum of human sexuality.
UKEssays. November 2018. Dracula Literary Analysis Essay. [online]. Available from: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/english-literature/literary-analysis-of-dracula-english-literature-essay.php?vref=1 [Accessed 28 April 2021].