Blogpost #4 | Breaking the Mold: Gendered Salvation in Victorian Tales

In Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” the scene where Lucy is saved by transfusions of multiple men’s blood is laden with symbolism and themes characteristic of the Victorian era.

Lucy Westenra’s affliction with vampirism represents more than just a physical condition; it’s metaphorical for the societal and gender norms prevalent in Victorian England.

“I want it done tonight. Van Helsing, you and I will stay and guard the coffin; Morris and Arthur will go back to rest…” These lines also indicate the gravity of the situation and the immediacy with which they need to act to safeguard Lucy. The need for Lucy to be saved by men’s blood reflects several intertwined themes such as

The contrast between Lucy’s salvation in “Dracula,” where she relies on male blood for her rescue, and the narrative in “Goblin Market,” where a woman saves her sister, is a striking exploration of gender roles and female agency in Victorian literature. In the male-dominated rescue in “Dracula,” where men’s blood saves Lucy, in “Goblin Market,” it’s Lizzie’s love, resilience, and sisterly sacrifice that saves Laura.

“Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices

Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,

Goblin pulp and goblin dew.

Eat me, drink me, love me;

Laura, make much of me.”

These lines portray Lizzie’s willingness to endure the suffering and humiliation imposed by the goblin men to bring back the miraculous and life-saving fruit for her sister, Laura. This act of self-sacrifice and love contrasts sharply with the theme of male intervention and dominance seen in “Dracula.” Lucy’s transformation into a vampire also ties into the Victorian obsession with purity and innocence in women. Her illness and subsequent need for male blood juxtapose the idealized image of the pure, chaste Victorian woman. Lucy’s reliance on male blood for her salvation in “Dracula” speaks volumes about the Victorian societal constructs of gender, power dynamics, and the challenges faced by women within that era. It symbolizes the complex and often restrictive roles women were expected to adhere to, while also hinting at the underlying fears and desires of the society concerning female independence and sexuality.

One thought on “Blogpost #4 | Breaking the Mold: Gendered Salvation in Victorian Tales”

  1. I think this is a very good blog post. I mainly like that in this one post there are connections to two different works that we have read. This is a very good compare and contrast post as well. The comparison of Lucy with Dracula versus Lizzie with the goblins is very well done and really encapsulates our recent class discussions.

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