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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 2621 words

The novel Dracula by Bram Stoker was written in 1897 during the Victorian period in England.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

The novel Dracula by Bram Stoker was written in 1897 during the Victorian period in England. This novel expresses the attitudes of that time and also the changing dynamics between men and women. Stoker's Dracula captured the imaginations of first the European countries, and then the world's. This magnetic tale has remained popular for the last century for a myriad of reasons but mostly for its infamous implied sexuality. Although Dracula was not the first novel about vampires, it was the first widely read and mainstream book of the vampire gothic genre. The popularity of this book has been developing for over a century, and has spawned innumerable movies, television shows, books, magazines, music and with all those, a culture. One reason it was very popular when it was first published was because Stoker used a lot of real facts. The description of the eastern European countries excited his readers, because knowledge of other cultures was still very limited. Most countries were still well preserved and distinct and therefore the knowledge of other 'ways', was very captivating, and gave the British public a chance to look down their noses at the other, more 'primitive' culture. In the first chapter of Dracula, Jonathan Harker writes derisively in his journal : "It seems to me that the further East you go the more unpunctual are the trains. What ought they be in China?" (p.9) Next he describes scornfully the lowly peasant women: "The women looked pretty, except when you go near them, but they were very clumsy about the waist."

Middle

I think that Count Dracula represents a fantasy for a lot of women: he is charming, he is sexual and he is in control. The saying 'being swept off her feet' originates from this type of female want. To be dominated in a desirable way. To succumb to his undeniable sexual power is quite exciting for ladies. Today especially, women are equal players in the dating game; not waiting to be won. This has caused the romantic 'knight in shining armor' theory to go down the proverbial drain, because women are in charge of their own destiny now, not waiting around to be chosen. This has lead to men being less domineering. Since this deficiency in dominance has happened, it has left women with a desire for authority. To women, Dracula represents the ultimate control and ascendancy. "Your girls that you all love are mine already." States Dracula smugly. (p. 306) Take 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', a teenage television series, for instance. This modern show portrays vampires as sexual, desirable beings with feelings. This is contrary to the book in which it states that one of Dracula's advantages over his opponents was his lack of emotion. Van Helsing testifies: "He is brute, and more than brute: he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not;" (p.304) In 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', the main character - an independent teenage girl - even goes as far as falling in love with a vampire-turned-semi-human, and has a relationship with him.

Conclusion

(p.54) This section of the book must have been very thrilling for the dull Victorians. They were not habituated to women being able to express themselves sexually or being predatory. A tad of shocking bisexuality is also implied by the women, since they laugh and whisper together. One even utters: "He is so young and strong; there are kisses for us all." (p. 53) The other characters in the novel show some sexuality as well. Originally 'pure', Lucy is the first to flaunt it when she writes to Mina saying: "Why can't they let a girl marry three men, or as many that want her, and save all this trouble?" (p.80) This is implying her own sexual greediness even before she becomes a vampire. When she is finally fully transformed into a vampire, she becomes openly lustful for the men around her. This scares the men, and they immediately try to restore her goodness. In closing, Dracula has remained popular throughout time because of its historical relevance, its feministic views, and its era changing vampire, but the ultimate reason is its implied sexuality. There is a direct correlation between the continual popularity of Dracula and it's sexual implication. It will always appeal to the public because it will always be a sexual book and based on a sexual idea. It will continue to fascinate the minds of the masses because Dracula is an excellently written novel, leaving the most outrageous details unsaid, and the imagination to fly.

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