Reseting the Normal in the End

Throughout Bram Stokers Dracula, gender roles and the definitions of masculinity and femininity have been pushed to the limit for a Victorian reader. Many of the characters exhibit characteristics of both a man and a woman, such as Mina with her, “man’s brain – a brain that a man should have were he much gifted – and woman’s heart” (Stoker, 250). Additionally, the seemingly masculine men, such as Dracula and Arthur, have moments of femininity. Arthur has a moment of weakness, “with a sob he laid his head on my shoulder, and cried like a wearied child, whilst he shook with emotion” (Stoker, 245) showing his more feminine, emotional side not typically exhibited by men. Additionally, Dracula makes Mina drink blood from his breast, an allusion to breast feeding. All these instances and more upset the typical gender roles in the Victorian era and leave the modern-day reader wondering why Stoker would write a novel that pushes the limits in this way. In most Victorian novels, including Lady Audley’s Secret and the Hound of the Baskervilles, the author uses the ending to restore the normal and save their readers from feeling too uneasy after reading. Originally, I felt that Stoker was using Dracula to express his own feelings about the roles of women and men in the Victorian era, but because of the ending, I now propose that he was experimenting with his own feelings in the novel. In the end, the men are gallant and have saved Mina and defeated Dracula. Mina has a child and runs the household and lives the typical life of a woman. Since the end of Victorian novels is used to reset the normal, and since Stoker ended with the typical gender roles in place, it seems like he was no trying to make a huge statement, but rather trying to learn his own feelings on gender through Dracula. I think that in Dracula, the gender roles are so fluid and interchangeable, as are the definitions of masculinity and femininity, which gave Stoker freedom to see what a masculine woman or feminine man would do to Victorian society.