Monsters & Madness

Secret Lives in Victorian Literature

A Woman’s Saving Grace

While femininity is an underlying theme in most novels of this time period, Bram Stoker, in his novel Dracula, takes this theme one step further and delves into how women can only be saved by a man.  Granted, Lucy is nearly killed by Dracula however, most of this novel focuses on the men in Lucy’s life attempting to save her from near death.  When Lucy is losing a great amount of blood each night and becoming closer and closer to dying, the only thing to save her is a man’s blood.  “A brave man’s blood is the best thing on this earth when a woman is in trouble” (Stoker, 160).  This quote by Van Helsing is an excellent example of how men during this time period thought of women in trouble.  Men are the heroes always swooping in to save the day.  In this novel, no women are there to save Lucy.  Perhaps one of the nurses could have used their blood to conduct the transfusions however, it ultimately ends up being one of the men to always aid in this process.

Ultimately, it ends up being Arthur who turns Lucy back into a human.  “Arthur took the stake and the hammer, and when once his mind was set on action his hands never trembled nor even quivered” (Stoker, 230).  Arthur, without hesitation, drives the stake into Lucy’s heart declaring him her saving grace.  Lucy could not save herself, no woman could save her, but a man was the only person who could save her life.  This passage is also a great example of a man taking possession of a woman.  Throughout the novel, Lucy had received blood from many different men symbolizing her many relationships.  Arthur, however, declares her his own by physically taking her heart for himself in this somewhat sexual resurrection of Lucy’s life.

Masculinity and femininity are a quite common theme among novels of this time period, yet Stoker takes Dracula a step further offering insight on how women not only need men in their life but they quite literally need men to save their life.

1 Comment

  1. It’s interesting to see how Mina also plays into your claim. You’re correct in your assertion that only men can save a woman, considering, Mina, being Lucy’s best friend, could have potentially aided a tremendous amount when it comes to saving Lucy, whether it be through providing her own blood for transfusions or forwarding helpful information. Yet, it’s mentioned several times that Mina should not be subjected to brutality, such as killing, first hand, despite Mina proving her own strength on several occasions throughout the text. We later see a similar assertion as the men look to save and protect Mina when she’s struggling with her own vampirism.

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