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Are Dracula and Atticus portrayed as heroic for breaking society’s taboos?

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Introduction

Are Dracula and Atticus portrayed as heroic for breaking society's taboos? Adam Durbridge Dracula was written in 1897 by Irish author Bram Stoker. The later 1800's were a transitional period in time where social rules and ideas about sexuality, sexual acts and sexual divides were still stringently in place, though a change in the way a person could live, publicly and privately slowly beginning to emerge. The book has many sub text and sub plots, and it is in these place where Dracula parodies and breaks Victorian taboos. At the time when Stoker was writing Dracula, the British held huge prejudices against anyone who didn't fit the WASP or upper middle class mould. Women weren't equal to men, they didn't have the vote, and the childbearing housewife was the ideal and stereotypical woman that was maybe 'respected' or 'required' by the men of the day. The contrast between modern-day taboos and taboos that existed in Stocker's 1897 is massive. Few real taboos exist today, in a discussion in class the only ones that held any truth, which everyone agreed with had to be utterly vile as to compensate for the desensitisation that we have today. To Kill A Mocking Bird was written at the start of the 1960's by Harper Lee. It is set in the 1930's and is written from a child's viewpoint or perspective and unlike Dracula, the taboos in this book are not written in sly sub texts or sub plots. The story is predominately about the taboos involved, and a town's reaction to a taboo breaker. Atticus is a local lawyer, he has two young children, he is not especially rich, he has no particularly special upbringing and his religious beliefs differ little to that of the rest of the town. ...read more.

Middle

And for a large part of the book, Dracula isn't mentioned at all, only his representation or his presence on a higher level. His activities are always kept very mysterious and secretive because of this. The idea that Dracula is a 'thing' not an 'it', becomes more and more obvious as the book continues. From the start of the book, as described by Jonathon Harker's diaries, Dracula is a physical being, he has two legs, two eyes and a mind. Steadily as the traits of Dracula go on, he becomes less and less of a being, and more of a state of mind. Having re-read the important sections of Dracula, I was able to pick out many points and extracts that I think go to build the large sub plots and the sexual mystique of Dracula. From the very start Dracula is made very mysterious and masculine. His ability to control wild beasts of the night, along with the description of his appearance, 'Lulling toughs of shaggy hair', 'Strong aqua line nose', Massive eye brows', 'Broad, Strong Jaw' and 'Overall Power'. Also mentions of his graceful mannerisms and his dark and intriguing castle go to make a deep and 'arousing' character. As the stories and notes in Harker's diary continue, so does Dracula's development into a mentality, a hypothetic state of mind. Many of the descriptions in the early parts of the book can easily be interrupted as something other than the presented. Its doesn't take a developing male's teenage mind to read through the words to find the story! You really have to bear in mind that at the time of Dracula original publication, even the sight of table legs was unacceptable for some groups! ...read more.

Conclusion

Maybe he wrote Dracula to represent the prejudice against his county, woman and so on. He would have maybe wanted to make Dracula heroic or powerful to remove the label of backwardness from his country. Is Atticus portrayed as heroic for breaking society's taboos? Maybe he should be seen as heroic for the good things he was doing for his towns race relations (to put a modern label on it) but that would be conforming, conforming just like the rest of his town were doing before Atticus brought justices to the Afro-American people that surrounded him. Certainly to me, he didn't come across as a hero, but nor did Dracula. I think this is because of the modern-day pop-culture meaning of the word. No one in this day and age thinks of anyone as a hero unless his or her life has been save in an extraordinary event. And I as the reader haven't been affected at all by either. Harper might have wanted Atticus to be viewed as an heroic character because of what Atticus is an image of. He is to be seen trend setting, accepting, befriending and helping Negro's. We should to look to when the book was written. The 1960's. What would Harper be saying about her surroundings? What would be happening in 1960's America that would influence her writing? Well, the basic subjects in the book are racial acceptance and unity. She would have been hearing through the news all about M L K and the peaceful black movement for equality. Is Atticus representative of god, trying to hand the white ruled world, the honest black man who wants to live his life with them even after all that the white man has done to him? Is Atticus a metaphor? It's a possibility. ...read more.

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