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What character in Dracula is author Bram Stoker most like?

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haloisi | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 27, 2012 at 3:43 PM via web

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What character in Dracula is author Bram Stoker most like?

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:32 PM (Answer #1)

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Some critics assert that Bram Stoker is most like the main character Jonathan Harker. Harker is the trustworthy observer and participant who acts like a crystal through whom readers see all the transpiring events, psychological developments and actions of the story. Harker is dependable, brave, not easily dissuaded from noble thoughts, and loyal.

Bram Stoker, on the other hand, was very different. He was ill as a child and confined to bed until well past five years of age. In school, he grew to be very tall and very strong. One biographer dubbed him the "genial, red-bearded giant" in part because of his athletic prowess in college in Dublin. He had a boring job as a clerk in the Irish civil service until he became the manager of actor Sir Henry Irving's career and London theatre. Stoker wrote in the horror genre including grizzly, twisted tales for children. Stoker was devastated when Sir Henry died after his theatre closed and suffered a debilitating stroke himself shortly thereafter. Never finding another master stroke like the one that inspired Dracula, Stoker and his wife lived the ends of their lives in poverty.

Other critics claim Stoker wrote himself into Count Dracula. While there were experiences that Stoker had that translated sympathetically into the character of Dracula, like their large sizes and experience transporting large numbers of large cases around train stations, the similarity between them ends there. Dracula was nothing remotely like a "genial" giant; he was a bloodthirsty merciless giant. Though it must be noted that each had grizzly, twisted thoughts, though Stoker's were only imaginings to put with pen on paper.

A reasonable speculation is that while Stoker understood the power of great size and strength in a man, and while he understood the feelings and experience of traveling transoceanically with myriad heavy boxes of cargo (i.e., from when Sir Henry toured America), and while he is dissimilar to Harker, he wrote Harker to be the image of his idealized self. In this theory, none of the characters represent Stoker as anyone knew him. Further, the text can reasonably be analyzed to show that each character symbolized an historic person or political office very removed from Stoker himself.

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