Fear of the Other

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula there are a few constant themes one could follow. Whether it be about female sexual expression, the influence of the church or even the importance of being a part of what is accepted, Stoker continues these threads throughout the work. Focusing more on the need to fit in, Dracula himself admits to Harker that things are not the same in Transylvania as they are in England. This early quote stuck in the mind the entire way through the piece as a way to inform the English mentality. “We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.” (Chapter 2, page 28) This self-admission from Dracula about Harker not fitting in when he is in Transylvania connects on the flip side to Dracula not being welcome or fitting in when he goes to England. Further down the line Harker himself makes claims about Dracula being someone whom he is worried about helping get to England. That fear is not simply due to the dangers Dracula imposes but about the contamination an outsider from Eastern Europe would bring to England. As a character had Dracula been from the United States or a neighboring country like Scotland there never would have been any initial fear like Harker had or doubt like Dracula expressed. This becomes important when talking about the time period considering the road that England is about to go down with the first World War beginning to brew. A piece like this could cause a drastic change in the way that people in England were viewing those from other countries especially in an uncertain time like war time. I am also personally unsure about what was occurring in terms of immigration at the time in England, but this piece could have a serious impact on that view considering the destruction and fear this eastern European being was able to cause.

4 thoughts on “Fear of the Other”

  1. I completely agree with you. I wrote about something similar in my post. I talked about how people were scared of foreigners and strangers and how that was a big part in why people feared Dracula. I also feel like this can relate to the Goblin Market because in that poem they were unsure about the goblins because they didn’t know them. This is the same in Dracula because no one really knew Dracula and that made them fear him.

  2. I think this is a really interesting point you made. I noticed this “fear of the other” within Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde is an individual that has physical characteristics that many people are not used to seeing and therefore they put him in a monstrous light. They describe him as “pale and dwarfish” as well as saying he has a “murderous mixture of timidity and boldness” (10). His unique behavior and features are not considered the norm so the people fear him and believe he may not be human because of them. I think this applies to the idea of the “fear of the unknown” as well because what we view as “other” is something that we cannot understand fully, and in this case, what is not fully understood are the characteristics of Mr. Hyde.

  3. I very much agree with the points you have made about the “fear of the other” in Dracula. In the “Reverse Colonization” article that we read, it said that many people in England at the time were worried that Britain was in decline as a world power. This caused fears of reverse colonization because people thought that other countries that were rising to power would overtake them and colonize them. This also makes sense within the context of World War I approaching as you brought up. The idea of “fear of the other” also come up in the poem “The Goblin Market”, which I thought conveyed the fear people had of Gypsies and traveling merchants. In the poem, the goblins sell Lizzie foreign fruits that she ultimately become addicted to which leads to her demise.

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