I go by he/He/him/It pronouns

This passage is interesting because Dracula is referred to as a variety of pronouns, a person, a thing, and maybe even a supernatural deity. He is given a godlike status by the use of pronouns from the first mate’s perspective just before jumping overboard. The first mate had just witnessed Dracula in a scene the readers do not know about, and now is crazed by the experience. The “He/Him” (Stoker 95) pronouns used referring to Dracula are capitalized, usually only used this way when referring to a deity such as the Judeo-Christian God. This could mean that the mate has started wholeheartedly believing in the existence of Dracula as a supernatural figure, and sees fit to use godlike pronouns to suit Dracula. However, when the captain puts together that a monster has been killing his men, he addresses Dracula with “he”/ “him” (Stoker 95) pronouns (not capitalized). This humanizes Dracula in the small moment, making him a man and not an otherworldly being. In the following paragraph, when the captain sees Dracula with his own eyes, the captain exclaims he “saw It-Him” which again switches the way people view Dracula. The Him in this instance is capitalized, again perhaps indicating the deity status. Even later in the novel, when Mina first sees Dracula bent over Lucy, she refers to Dracula as “something” (Stoker 101). This is yet another way the vampire is perceived because, in this case, Mina only sees his outline and red eyes. She is not convinced by any pretend humanity Dracula shows so she is unsure of the nature of him altogether. So, we have Mina referring to Dracula as a “something” (Stoker 101), we have the captain referring to Dracula as “him” then “It” and then “Him”, and the mate referring to Dracula as “Him”. None of these characters are entirely sure of Dracula’s true form, so they range from calling him something otherworldly or godly, to a thing, to a man. It also makes Dracula all the more complex of a character to the readers because the story is written entirely through the eyes of other characters. As readers, we do not know a true unbiased view of Dracula, we only know what he looks like from characters that may have biases or not have a clear view of what he looks like

4 thoughts on “I go by he/He/him/It pronouns”

  1. Given Victorian doubts about religion, this is another fascinating layer of subversion in the novel. In the rest of the book, especially when Van Helsing is describing Dracula’s history, it feels like Dracula is treated as something outside of the usual Christian Heavenly/Hellish binary. Van Helsing calls him a devil quite often; as you point out, the first mate and the captain choose upper-case “Him”, subtly connecting him to God; Mina calls him a “something” or “it”. We are given so many perspectives on what Dracula is that it’s hard to decide if he’s Hellish or deific or something entirely outside of Christian Godly realms, which I think is Stoker’s purpose.

  2. This take is so fascinating, and did not cross my mind as the reader. The subtle nuance of describing Dracula as “He” versus “he” when the first mate considers the identity of Dracula, it shows the true power that the unknown has during this time. Like the comment above, I agree that this is also a subtle nod to the ambiguous feelings about religion coming about during this time of the Victorian Era, where all is challenged.

  3. This is very interesting as the Count is indeed being called with different pronouns and names. The initial he/him pronouns work mostly as assumptions in the beginning, especially during his interaction with Jonathan. Also, Dracula as you said was also called an “It”. This makes sense especially when the Count presents his supernatural form, hence, making people believe that he is neither a “he” or “she” but rather an “it”, closely referring to some form of creature. Finally, the use of capital letters such as “Him” may also signal the fact that people view Dracula as a supernatural figure as many people refer to God. Thus, as God has supernatural powers, Dracula also has supernatural powers and strengths, making a direct comparison of the Count with God.

  4. It is interesting to consider how Stevenson refers to Mr. Hyde. Hyde is referred to as a “man” despite Mr. Enfield’s complete inability to characterize him. He is described as ungraspably detestable to the characters. Though Hyde is not obviously foreign to the men, they can’t place what makes them uneasy. Perhaps they attribute their uneasiness to the possibility of his foreignness, and subtly able to blend into society. He acts as a confirmation bias based on a fear of the foreign: a man tramples a child, but naturally not a British citizen, so their conceptions of society are protected.

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