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Science Versus Superstition in Dracula and Victoria England

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Introduction

Rebekah Baer 2813 Final Paper 30 July 2010 Science Versus Superstition in "Dracula" and Victoria England During the Victorian Era in Britain, British citizens began to explore the east and became fascinated with it. There was a great interest in the orient and the objects and culture that came from it. Although the people were mystified by the superstitious nature of the orient learned from their eastern excursions, they were afraid of the east being able to travel to the west. Although the British consumed eastern culture, they were still afraid of too much infiltration by the east. They didn't want their pure British culture to be tainted. Because of this, they used science to explain, classify, and control the unknown superstitious nature of the orient. This push of science onto the eastern world is seen in several scenes throughout the novel Dracula, which was written by Bram Stoker during the Victorian Era in Britain. The proper British characters are constantly trying to overcome Dracula with science. British Imperialism and the British Empire's attitude towards the east are shown through the relationship through science and superstition in Dracula. While traveling east, the British encountered a lot of new and previously unknown commodities, cultures, and people. ...read more.

Middle

British homes were filled with oriental rugs, vases, even hookahs. Teas, spices, and sugar became a part of everyday life. Even the most proper of gentlemen had their heirlooms and smoked their hookah pipes. Exotic animals were brought back along with exotic garb, plants, and customs. Oriental culture became intertwined with British culture. The two became inseparable. For a people who were so scared of letting eastern culture tarnish their proper ways, they sure welcomes the consumption of it with open arms. Although there was a large consumption of Eastern culture, the British still remained weary of their properness. They wanted their foreign treasures to be exotic, but still fit into the conservative structure of British society. There was a push and pull of oriental culture. The British were fascinated by the newness and wanted to immerse themselves, but still keep it distant enough to retain their Victorian pureness. In the same way that the British were interested in eastern culture, the characters in Dracula were unwillingly drawn to the mystery of the oriental Dracula. The power that Dracula had over the characters is reminiscent of the way that eastern culture had a powerful draw for the Victorian British. ...read more.

Conclusion

Just as the British people's use of science and reason failed to keep the east out and they had to succumb to the permeation of eastern culture and accept it into their culture, the characters in "Dracula" have to accept the superstition into their lives and trust that it will be more beneficial than the previous use of science and reason. The oriental culture had made its way into British culture, seeped in, and shaken up proper Victorian society. Much like the failure to keep away Dracula, no matter how hard the British tried to keep oriental culture out, the ways of the east breached England's shores. The order in British society was mimicked in the order of their science. Trying to solve eastern superstitions with science is similar to trying to impose order on the world to retain the comfortable, pure order of proper Britain. The characters in Stoker's "Dracula" are constantly trying to control Dracula with science and constantly failing. They eventually have to resort to superstition. This mirrors the effect of eastern culture on British society. As much as Britain tried to contain the orient with science, the orient penetrated proper Britain and seeped into British culture, where it still remains today. ...read more.

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