In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the monster Count Dracula is a manifestation of a multitude of Victorian fears and obsessions. Dracula represents the simultaneous fear and obsession with people from other lands. Although it is natural to fear the unknown, such as what could be creeping in the dark, the British population fears lied in the foreign people they knew little about. Dracula represents a common demonization of foreigners seen in other novels such as Jane Eyre, Heart of Darkness, in which non-British people are shown to be subhuman (or in Dracula’s case not human at all) and pose a threat to the pure British characters. Even without his supernatural powers, Dracula is a fearful figure in the sense that he embodies the anxieties of reverse colonization. When Jonathan was going around Dracula’s castle, he came across a myriad of English literature. On these Dracula states, “Through them I have come to know your great England; and to know her is to love her. I long to go through the crowded streets of your mighty London…” (Stroker 27) Unlike the British, Dracula knows all about the people foreign to him leaving him with the upper hand. At the same time historically, the people who had been colonized by the British were assimilated and taught the Victorian way of life. In the Victorian eye, this left them vulnerable to be colonized in return.
One would argue that Van Helsing’s presence on the good side meant that the depiction of foreigners was not completely negative, but in reality, Stoker painted just as bad a picture of foreigners with Van Helsing as he did with Dracula only he used different techniques to do so. Even if Van Helsing is a protagonist in the story, his depiction still shows a demeaning representation of foreign peoples. Even if he is said to be an extremely learned man, yet Stoker put great effort in making Van Helsing speech choppy and grammatically confusing. On top of this, he rarely went beyond being the superstitious foreigner trope in his characterization. His presence in the novel serves to praise the British on their “perfection”, as seen when he praises Mina and Arthur multiple times. Van Helsing serves to reassure the Victorian reader that there are still good, loyal foreigners who knew their place. The fixation on these representations of different ethnicity stems from the vast brutality of the British Empire. The Victorian people were exposed to diverse people from all around the world and treated them like specimen rather than human since they first stepped into foreign lands. The fascination with “otherness” is basically the Victorian people trying to hypothesis, examine, and come to conclusions in an attempt to understand “others”, while doing everything to not have to consider non-British people their counterparts.