Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Throughout Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, we see elements and concerns regarding the preservation of blood, the purity of one’s blood, and the effects that might occur when blood transference ensues. One would think that this concern of blood purity does not extend as heavily beyond that of the upper echelons of British Victorian society, or even that of the living, yet we see even our undead titular Count express similar concerns to that of his living counterparts when he recounts his family history to Jonathan Harker. Dracula boasts that, “the Szekelys—and the Dracula as their heart’s blood, their brains, and their swords—can boast a record that mushroom growths like the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs can never reach. The warlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days of dishonourable peace; and the glories of the great races are as a tale that is told” (Stoker, Ch. 3). In this moment, we see Dracula, albeit in a different manner, reinforce ideas regarding questions of blood, and the parts of oneself that are bound in our blood. 

This is further reflected later in the novel when Lucy receives blood transfusions from four different men. A conversation regarding the men’s blood, in it now being a part of Lucy through transfusion, and the repercussions or feelings that may emerge from this connection ensues. Dr. Seward notes that, “Arthur was saying that he felt since then as if they two had been really married, and that she was his wife in sight of God. None of us said a word of the other operations, and none of us ever shall” (Stoker, Ch. 13). Blood, then, to Dracula, is a reflection of the goals of blood purity and mirrors the Victorian concerns of reverse colonization, and is reinforced by the views of Lucy’s “protectors”, where blood is akin to marriage and sex. How does one further their line? One must marry and have children. The purity and the strength of “the Dracula blood” and the maintenance of “the glories of the great races”, is only “protected” when the “right” people interact with one another. While the British Victorians had fears regarding “intermingling”, and what that may mean for the integrity of the British Empire and “Britishness”, it is clear, much to Jonathan Harker’s confusion, that “the outsiders” have just as much, if not less of a desire to fraternize with the British. We see this reflected, then, in Lucy’s downward spiral after her infection with Vampiric blood, and the failed efforts through transfusions of British blood to combat its infiltration, and eventual overtaking of her system. Lucy, then, as a vampire, is a symbol for reverse colonization, and the Victorian fears attached.

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