“Ah, that wonderful Madam Mina! She has man’s brain, a brain that a man should have were he much gifted”
When first introduced, Mina is described in the novel to possess man like qualities. She is strong, brave, and described as having a man’s brain. These are stated as positive things and give the reader the perspective that she is an important character who is willing to step up to any challenge. However, this image of Mina changes throughout the story. After her run in with the Count, Mina is no longer the strong brave woman the book portrayed her as. Her descriptions take a turn as she is described as something purer and more childlike. There are lines that describe her to be sleeping like a child. On top of this, towards the end of the story, the book goes on to say that it is up to the men of the story to save Mina from the terrible darkness that is inside of her. Also, it is hinted at that because of the illness, Mina is too weak to venture into such dark places.
It seems after being infected by the Count; Mina has lost all the qualities that make her strong. Because of what she went through, she is portrayed as less than the men around her and needs the help of others to be saved. This is such a drastic change from the way she was portrayed earlier in the story. Now that she is a victim of Dracula, Mina has lost her man like qualities and is described as a helpless woman who needs to rely on others. Perhaps this is due to Victorians at this time not wanting to relate anything manly to someone who has become a victim. This change could have also been made to continue the trend of Dracula going after women in the story. It would be out of character for Dracula to go after someone possessing man like qualities. Because of this, after the incident, Mina is no longer described with these qualities.
3 thoughts on “Mina’s Drastic Change”
You bring up interesting points about Mina losing her powers after the Dracula bite, this idea can also represent the inability for women to move up in status during the Victorian era. While Mina’s case may be a little exaggerated (as I doubt that many women were getting bit in the neck to prevent them from changing social ranks), it speaks to the oppression that women faced. As your quote shows, Mina has been described to have a “mans brain”, this separation from her womanly self is the way she raises in status throughout the book — she (for at least a little) can be compared to a man, and thus have the same powers as a man. This is similar to The Lady of Shalott, as her position in the tower has to remain stagnant. When she wants to break this rule, she dies. Neither the Lady of Shallot nor Mina are allowed to break out of their patriarchal tower, and if they dare to try they completely lose themselves.
I really liked what you said here. I completely agree with you on how Mina changed throughout the story. She seems somewhat independent and strong in the beginning of the novel but after she encountered Dracula she lost that. I feel like this can relate to “No Thank You John” where the woman in that poem is rejecting a man that is going after her. The poem shows the man getting upset that he is getting rejected, like he is mad about it because he feels like she has to love him back.
You bring up a very interesting point about the character transformation of Mina after her encounter with Count Dracula. I think that a similar character tranformation takes place with Laura in “The Goblin Market” after she eats the goblins fruits. In the beginning of the poem, Laura is described “like a leaping flame”, which probably symbolizes her energetic and spirited nature. However, after becoming addicted to the goblin’s fruits, there is a darastic change in Laura’s character. She is described as having “sunk eyes and faded mouth” and she will no longer do her regular duties of tending to the cows and fetching honey. Also, Like Mina needs help from others in Dracula, Lizzie tries to help Laura by getting her fruit juices, but it is not enough.
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