Dracula Essay. Focussing on chapter fourteen, to what extent do you think that, in Dracula, Stoker cannot provide answers to every question?

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Focussing on chapter fourteen, to what extent do you think that, in Dracula, Stoker cannot provide answers to every question?

During the Victorian era the advancement of technology was immense. Van Helsing and Dr Seward are the two characters who do the most debating on science and scientific method.

  In chapter fourteen Dr Seward describes his predicament: ‘I do not know what to think, and I have no data on which to found a conjecture’. It is, therefore, quite clear that these two characters face difficulties, this is because, the supernatural events in Dracula conflict with their rational and religious beliefs. Significantly, Van Helsing asks Dr Seward ‘To believe in things that you cannot’, seemingly highlighting the apparent conflict between science and the supernatural.

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   Stoker introduces the supernatural in chapter one, with the ‘wolves, with white teeth and lolling red tongues’ that the coach driver – presumably Dracula – appears to control, as well as the ‘blue flames’.   This early introduction of supernatural phenomena prepares the reader for the horrific and violent acts in the novel, whilst also, presenting a sense of uncertainty as there appears to be no explanation for these uncanny events.  It could, therefore, be suggested that Stoker is setting up the idea that there is not always an answer to every question.

  Van Helsing acknowledges that there ...

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I quite like the style here, with phrases such as "It could, therefore, be suggested that Stoker" showing the examiner you are able to evaluate numerous interpretations. This is a great skill to have, and will be rewarded if you can use counter-arguments and show them as weak to make your own point of view stronger. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine, but as mentioned above this essay is limited by its length. Essays at A-Level must be substantial, and unfortunately this essay has not met this criteria.

The analysis is quite basic, and although I agree science and technology are hard to analyse in a literary context, the supernatural is not. At times this essay tends to narrate, for example "Van Helsing is extremely open-minded". Retelling the story won't gain you many marks, and at A-Level you should be able to discuss specific techniques and the effects they have on the reader. There is very little focus on how the reader respond to Stoker's work, and what purpose his novel has. By looking at authorial intent, you naturally begin to address the question, and thus form a more convincing argument.

This essay has potential when responding to the question, picking up swiftly that the main focus should be on the struggle of supernatural against science and technological changes. However, there simply isn't enough discussion here to build a cogent argument. There needs to be exploration of why Stoker does not provide answers for every question, and how this exacerbates the terror surrounding Dracula's supernatural.