Throughout the course of the semester, we have encountered various themes and motifs that have both aided our understanding of texts, but have contributed to the mystery, evil, and monstrous elements within the characters and plotlines. Nevertheless, I am convinced that one motif stands out among all others, and that is the gothic motif as described by John Bowen. According to Bowen, there are various ways a text can be considered gothic, and, in my opinion, Dracula stands as the epitome of this motif. As a literary work, Dracula embodies the characteristics outlined by Bowen to classify it as a “gothic” text. However, I believe that these gothic elements function not only as literary tools to evoke a feeling of eeriness in readers but, more significantly, they aim to demonstrate that blood holds a more profound significance than merely being a literary device. For example, in chapter 8, Mina says ” I looked at her throat just now as she lay asleep, and the tiny wounds seem not to have healed. They are still open, and, if anything, larger than before, and the edges of them are faintly white. They are like little white dots with red centres. Unless they heal within a day or two, I shall insist on the doctor seeing about them.” (Stoker pg. 91). I am convinced that this description carries a more profound meaning that goes beyond a concerned friend. In a literary context, the text emphasizes what Mina find as she looks at Lucy. Upon reading this, it certainly added to the monstrosity of the situation, however, I believe there is a deeper meaning in exposing Dracula’s profound wickedness, revealing how he ruthlessly exploits the innocent, transforming those around him into monstrous beings. Furthermore, I believe this also highlights the concept of “womanly virtues” from the Victorian era and how they were exploited. Employing the symbol of blood to discredit and diminish women not only highlights the disrespect towards them but also reveals Dracula’s predatory nature. This portrayal raises significant questions about the depiction and treatment of women, indicating the unsettling sexual undertones within the narrative. The desire for someone’s blood unveils yet another broader theme: Dracula stripped Lucy of her supposed purity.
In addition, blood establishes various other connections that contribute to a deeper significance beyond the gothic motif. Symbols of Christianity, science and superstition, as well as clashing time periods, all serve to give a deeper understanding that is beyond literary devices. Themes that in a larger assignment, I would certainly like to cover more.