In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, what types of journey does the protagonist go through?
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Arguably, Harker is very different at the end of the novel after his experiences with Count Dracula and what Mina suffers compared to at the end. The novel forces him to confront certain aspects of life and also of himself that he is either not aware of or that he struggles to repress. One of these aspects is that of sexuality. In Chapter 3, when the three female vampires come across him and try to seduce him, the way that Harker responds is fascinating:
I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck, she actually licked her lips like an animal... Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed about to fasten on my throat... I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited—waited with beating heart.
Note the way that Harker is both repelled and attracted to this female vampire, as she aggressively asserts her sexuality, cementing the link between vampirism and sex. Although the female vampire is after Harker's blood her actions are described in sexual terms as she actively dominates Harker. Victorian society prized the chaste modesty of women such as Mina and Lucy, and so Harker is voyaging into the realm of male fantasy here, being forced to learn of his own desires and dreams. Such references make it clear that in spite of the amount of travel that occurs in this text, Harker also voyages in terms of his own self-discovery, as he is forced to confront certain assumptions he has made about himself or that society forces him to adopt, and go beyond them. Sexuality is one such assumption, but equally Harker is forced to reconsider his beliefs about modernity and the supernatural. This text therefore, as with many Gothic texts, presents the protagonist as embarking upon a voyage of internal discovery which is mirrored by their geographical movements.
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