How are the novels Beloved and Dracula similar and different in their presentation of the supernatural?

In Dracula, the vampire is a greedy entity driven by the desire to conquer and consume. In Beloved, the ghost is a hungry entity driven by the desire to be with her mother again. Both books deal heavily in the supernatural, but in their approaches to it, readers can see significant differences.

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While both Draculaand Beloved deal with the supernatural, their approaches to the subject/genre are very different.  With Dracula, Bram Stoker tells a chilling story of an evil entity driven to consume mankind, while Morrison's Beloved presents a ghost that devours because it doesn't know any better. 

Dracula's titular...

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While both Dracula and Beloved deal with the supernatural, their approaches to the subject/genre are very different.  With Dracula, Bram Stoker tells a chilling story of an evil entity driven to consume mankind, while Morrison's Beloved presents a ghost that devours because it doesn't know any better. 

Dracula's titular character consumes everything in his path in order to survive.  After luring Jonathan Harker to his castle, he imprisons him and feeds off Harker repeatedly as he prepares to travel to England.  Dracula then leaves Harker behind in the care of thralls and continues to England, feeding upon the crew of the Demeter along the way, using his supernatural powers of strength, concealment, and shape-shifting to remain undiscovered.  By the time the ship reaches shore, there is no living creature left aboard.  He then moves through England, turning Lucy Westenra into a vampire and biting Mina Harker (Jonathan's wife) and attempting to convert her to vampirism as well.  His ultimate plan is to settle in various houses throughout the country to expand his feeding grounds, consuming at will.  He is shown to be a great evil to the world, using his powers to kill and control nearly at will.  When he is finally destroyed, Mina is freed from his grasp, the remaining characters are able to begin the process of healing, and England (and perhaps the world) are saved.

Beloved, on the other hand, also deals with a nearly all-consuming supernatural character in the form of the ghost that shows up to 124 Bluestone Road.  Beloved, the ghost, does consume and draw the life out of those closest to her (Sethe, primarily, and Denver), but unlike Dracula she is not bent on destruction.  Rather, Beloved is in one way the manifestation of a baby killed 18 years before, when pride caused communal bonds to shatter. 

Upon showing up at 124 Bluestone, Beloved behaves in much the same way that a baby would.  She falls asleep regularly, she has trouble controlling her body, and she is always hungry and often short-tempered.  Her existence would not be possible without the influence of the supernatural.  The title character embodies the spirit of a baby trapped in a woman's body.  She isn't driven by malice but rather the fear of being separated from her mother again.  She spends the majority of the book physically monopolizing Sethe's time while supernaturally consuming Sethe's being.  Beloved also succeeds in driving wedges between Sethe and her relationships with Denver and Paul D, until finally Denver is forced to go out into the community to ask for help.  Once the community begins to understand what is happening, they come to 124 to confront the ghost and, through love, forgiveness, and acknowledgement, succeed in driving Beloved out and saving Sethe.

While both novels seemingly deal with greedy, all-consuming entities, it is important to note the reasons for the consumption.  While Dracula's thirst for blood was a symbol for his greed and desire for conquest, Beloved's desire to initially occupy all of Sethe's attention and then all of Sethe's existence is the result of the baby's loss of that attention eighteen years before.  The supernatural is a major part of both of these novels.  Without the presence of the supernatural, the fantastical plots and resolutions could not occur.  However, whereas in Dracula the supernatural is employed as a vehicle with which to consume society, in Beloved the supernatural exists as a means to heal a community.

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