Seductive Savages

There seems to be conflicting emotions about the status of foreign people in Victorian culture and this is extremely evident in Dracula.  In “The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonization”, Stephen Arata claims that the “savage”, “primitive” foreign people are “dangerous, but also deeply attractive” (624).  This is definitely evident in the scenes with Dracula.  He has the potential to kill his victims, making him extremely dangerous, but during most of his “feeding” scenes the characters seem to be in very intimate positions.  Dracula always seems to be towering over his victims or clutching them, such as in the scene with Mina when Dr. Seward describes her as “kneeling”, while Dracula “gripped her by the back of the neck” and “held both Mrs. Harker’s hands” (300).  There is also intimacy in the location of his attacks, the neck, as well as the chest, where he made Mina drink from him. This seductive quality to the monsters in the story is also demonstrated in the scenes with Jonathan and the three women at Castle Dracula.  There is something frightening yet enticing to Jonathan about them because he uses words like “shivering” “supersensitive” “ecstasy” and “touching” when describing their interaction (45-6).  These scenes and the article about Dracula help explain the conflicting emotions of many Victorians.  It seems as though they fear the influence or invasion of foreigners, but these people are described in such a way that makes them also seem appealing to the reader.  The decision to describe foreign people this way could also be a tool that Stoker is using to try to persuade Victorians to be open to the idea of foreigners in England, since he himself is from Ireland.