Here Comes the Sun

Throughout the text we are able to see many examples of juxtapositions. One that is constantly referenced is the difference between light and dark, and day and night. It is in the morning when Jonathan Harker feels safest while he is a captive of Dracula. Jonathan says, “No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and how dear to his heart and eye the morning can be” (Stoker, p. 54). During the day, Dracula is gone, along with the three strange and seductive women that Jonathan struggles to get a handle on. He claims that seeing the striking rays of the sun hitting the highest point of the gateway seemed to him as if “the dove of the ark had lighted there” (Stoker, p. 54). Jonathan takes these claims even further, saying how his “fear fell from him” and it was all because of the “courage of the day” and the rising of the sun.

Later on in the text, after Jonathan has figured out where Dracula goes during the day (to his coffin) and he is trying to get released from the Count’s home as quickly as possible, he says that Dracula “smiled, such a soft, smooth, diabolical smile that I knew there was some trick behind his smoothness” (Stoker, p. 57). With words like “diabolical” and “trick” we can easily see that by this point, the monster that Dracula is trying to hide within himself is rearing its ugly head. Finally, after Jonathan finishes his conversation with Dracula and he decides to stay in the Count’s home because of the fear of being slaughtered by the howling wolves that roam around during the darkest hours of the night, he says, “The last I saw of Count Dracula was his kissing his hand to me; with a red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of” (Stoker, p. 58).

After being provided with this evidence, we can see how the darkness was undesired because it hid within it the scary things that are thought to go bump in the night, such as wolves, monsters, and other terribly demonic things. Things simple humans can’t even begin to imagine. However, it is during the safety of the warm, bright day that these wicked and evil things disappear. I think that many people, like Jonathan, have a greater sense of security during the day when there is light because they are aware of the things around them, and it gives them a greater understanding of the world in which they live.

Throughout the novel, we see Dracula being portrayed as the Devil and a menace of the night. He commits his evil sins and treacherous acts only when the rest of humanity is asleep and at their most vulnerable. He is believed to be a trickster, a master of seduction and debauchery, and a vile specimen that deserves to be punished and done away with forever. While Dracula is definitely not without fault and makes horrible choices throughout the book, I think there is a reason why he is depicted in this way throughout the text.

I believe that Dracula is portrayed as a foreigner and the Devil, because many British citizens believed that foreigners were sinners and unworthy of God’s love or the acknowledgment of the British Empire because they did not adhere to the same cultural beliefs that the Crown insisted were the right ones. If you acted, spoke, or thought differently than those who were members of the British aristocracy and the rulers of England, you had no place in their world. I believe this to be true because the Victorian Era was also known as the Age of Doubt and the Age of Empire. While many British people struggled with where they stood in terms of their religious beliefs, there was still this notion that it was because of God’s grace and love for the Empire, that they were able to truly succeed.

Dracula goes against everything they hold near and dear to them. He is different, in both physical appearance and moral principles. However, he is able to hide himself well and speak in their native tongue, and this is scary because they can’t control him if they can’t recognize his differences. If the British citizens aren’t careful, they fear that Dracula’s darkness and evil will slither in and taint the good members of British society. So, they believe that they must uphold God’s will and fight the darkness with their light and purity, similarly to how the sun fights the inky tendrils of the night.

One thought on “Here Comes the Sun”

  1. I also noticed the repeated juxtaposition of light and dark or day and night imagery. Van Helsing has an (at times) tenuous grasp of the English languages and a very interesting lexicon, but I found “sunshine” and “God’s sunshine” to be two of his more unusual favorite phrases. Van Helsing sees himself as an agent of light, something you identified with “God’s will” but also with “God’s grace and love for the Empire.” It is interesting to think of Van Helsing’s role in defeating darkness, but also of his role as a (very obvious) shadow of the foreign in London.

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