Magill’s Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Dracula Analysis
Interest in vampires, like the creature itself, never dies. Bram Stoker’s novel focuses on the victimization of women. Stoker’s view is opposed to that of the “New Woman,” a feminist construct of the late nineteenth century. Stoker makes references to the New Woman in Dracula through Mina, characterizing her as a well-informed woman of the 1890’s. Mina sets herself above the New Woman, rejecting the concept for its sexual openness. The overall structure of Dracula indicates that Stoker employs Mina to reject the concept of the New Woman, represented by the female vampire as energized and aggressive female sexuality.
The first half of the novel presents woman as vampire. Stoker focuses on the female vampire by introducing the three female vampires who live in Dracula’s castle, then centering on Lucy, Dracula’s first English victim. In the second half, the focus of the story is the fight to save Mina, shifting away from the presentation of woman as vampire. The focus becomes the fight against vampirism, and, metaphorically, against energized female sexuality or the New Woman.
Lucy, the primary female focus of the first half of the novel, is turned by Dracula into one of “those awful women.” The New Woman exists in her personality, however latent, surfacing when Lucy is vampirized by Dracula. In her vampirized state, she no longer suppresses her desire. Van Helsing takes it upon himself to protect men from the...
(The entire section is 496 words.)
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