Does Stoker believe women are unable to survive without men?
In Stoker’s novel Dracula, he makes it very clear that Dracula, the source of terror and destruction, only targets women. While there are sexual undertones in Dracula sucking their blood and attacking them, there is an underlying belief that Stoker has, demonstrating that women, due to their feminine nature and their lack of natural strength, are unable to protect themselves from harmful things. Therefore, Stoker makes it clear that men not only can, but have a responsibility to protect women and be their guardians.
While Lucy is in distress from blood loss, she requires multiple blood transfusions. Each of these transfusions are performed by men, and Van Helsing, referring to Arthur, specifically says, “ ‘He is so young and strong and of blood so pure that we need not defibrinate it.’ Then with swiftness, but with absolute method, Van Helsing performed the operation” (Stoker 133). The idea that Arthur is “young and strong” is emphasized, and these lines demonstrate that a man, being so fit to protect and provide, are supposed to do so since women cannot do that themselves. Additionally, fitting with late 19th century values, there is more emphasis placed on the quality of his blood, since he comes from an upper class family. This belief that he has a biological difference in him due to his class furthers the idea that men, specifically upper class men, are supreme beings in society.
Additionally in the story, when Dracula is hunted and killed, the men do the “hard” tasks, leaving Mina mostly out of the action. This provides more evidence that Stoker believed men were far more important than women, because he also put Mina in a vulnerable place and made her suffer, while the male characters provided for her safety. Without male characters, Dracula would not have been able to function as a story, because Van Helsing would not have been able to make his discoveries and give key insights to the characters, and Dracula would have feasted on the blood of women with no repercussions.