Throughout the first eleven chapters of Dracula there have been a number of reoccurring themes and messages. What I want to draw your attention to is the character of Dracula and how Stoker uses him as a vessel to write about the cultural anxieties and fears that many people felt especially in regard to their view of sexuality, and foreigners. I believe that Stoker uses Dracula as a symbol for social anxieties in the nineteenth century. One of the biggest fears in Europe in the nineteenth was a fear of immigrants coming into your country as well as a fear of foreigners especially Eastern Europeans. This can be seen early on in the novel when Jonathan Harker first travels to Transylvania to meet Count Dracula. As he is traveling there he starts to feel uneasy and paranoid as he says “, “I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool,” For me this reaffirms my thesis about how people in the nineteenth century especially those from the UK viewed many foreigners as strange and in a sense not even human. The use of the word superstition absolutely confirms the negative stereotypes that many people across Europe felt towards foreigners, and I believe that Dracula is a symbol used by Stoker to manifest the images of what many people believed immigrants to be. Another reoccurring theme in the novel that is the sexualizing of Dracula and the other vampires. This is especially prominent in the scene when Jonathan encounters one of the female vampires. “The fair girl went on her knees and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck, she actually licked her lips like an animal…” This quote clearly represents how Dracula and the other vampires sexualization is used as a reflection of the Victorian era’s sexual repression and treatment of women. In the end Dracula’s character is really a symbol to illustrate the fears and thoughts of many people in the Victorian era.

2 thoughts on “DRACULA A SYMBOL FOR FEARS Irwin”

  1. This is a really interesting analyzation. I really liked the quote that was meant to depict social anxieties of “foreigners”. While I had also noticed similar connections in Stoker’s writing to depict such fears, I had not imagined the idea of how the characters felt about one another. A really good perspective that has opened my eyes to further themes that go beyond the text.

  2. The idea of the theme of the sexual repression of women in the Victorian era fascinates me. Even today in many places women are either seen as sexual objects or not allowed to be sexual at all. It is also an important fact to note that Jonathan Harker says that he wanted to kiss them and apologizes to Mina. The way this book places this situation is that the female vampires are the ones pressuring him to want to kiss them. In this time period, it was completely normal and ok for men to have mistresses. Women of course were not allowed to cheat. Today, many men are praised for sleeping with many women while women are shamed for sleeping with many men. Anytime a woman acted overtly sexual, it was seen as sinful. The idea of “she was asking for it” ran rampant in this period. It is overall very interesting to note, the similarities in misogyny from that period to now.

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