Stoker’s Battle With Gender

Bram Stoker uses the novel Dracula as a platform to work through his feelings regarding gender during the Victoria era through his character, Mina. This became evident to me in the second half of the book where Stoker struggles to go even a page without fluctuating between describing Mina in a masculine way and then feminizing her again. This is important because it shows the struggle that people in this time period were going through. Whether society should allow woman and feel comfortable with woman out of their domestic, motherly space in order to be a brave, independent woman. This is represented when Stoker writes as Mina in Mina’s journal on page 245, “We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother-spirit is invoked…”. This was the scene where Mina is comforting Arthur who is sobbing in the arms of Mina, being described as being like a “baby” or her “own child” (Stoker 245). Just five pages later, the Professor says “Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina! She has man’s brain, a brain that a man should have were he much gifted – and a woman’s heart” (Stoker 250). In the passage on page 250 is where the men are deciding to not let Mina do the mans work with them anymore with the reasoning of being “a young woman and not so long married” (Stoker 250). Even though Mina has proven to have a “man’s brain” and had been helping the men with their hunt for Dracula, they decide on this page that she is no longer fit or able to work with them on this matter (Stoker 250). This is where Stoker’s real feelings on a woman’s role in Victorian era society shines through, keeping her in this household and taking her out of any masculine role of helping with the hunt. Mina is stripped solely down to being seen as someone who should be in the domestic space, being the new wife, and possible future mother. This is important because on that very page they decide to keep her within the domestic she is described to have these masculine features that not even the men she is with have. The feminine qualities within her overpowered what were seen as masculine tendencies back then. This continues to happen up to the very last page of the novel where she is described as a wonderful mother, but on the same page is also described with the same adjective as the manliest man in the book, Mr. Morris… “gallant” (Stoker 401 and 402). It is interesting to use this word for the manliest, American cowboy in the book and also Mina. This stands out to me to be the perfect way to end the novel because even on that very last page, Stoker is still struggling to separate Mina from being masculine and being a completely feminine character.