Dracula | Count Dracula | Dracula – scribd.com

about ancient legends and non-

Western folk remedies, comes close to understanding Lucys

affliction.

In Chapter XVII, when Van Helsing warns Seward that to rid the earth of this terrible

monster we must have all the knowledge and al

l the help which we can get, he literally

means all the knowledge. Van Helsing works not only to understand modern Western methods, but to incorporate the ancient and foreign schools of thought that the modern West

dismisses. It is the fault of our science, he says, that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. Here, Van Helsing points to the dire

consequences of subscribing only to contemporary currents of thought. Without an understanding of history

indeed, without different understandings of history

the world is left terribly vulnerable when history inevitably repeats itself.

The Threat of Female Sexual Expression

Most critics agree that Dracula is, as much as anything else, a novel that indulges the Victorian male imagination, particularly regarding the topic of female sexuality. In Victorian

England, womens sexual behavior was dictated by societys extremely rigid expectations. A

Victorian woman effectively had only two options: she was either a virgin

a model of purity and innocence

or else she was a wife and mother. If she was neither of these, she was considered a whore, and thus of no consequence to society. By the time Dracula lands in England and begins to work his evil magic on Lucy Westenra, we understand that the impending battle between good and evil will hinge upon female sexuality. Both Lucy and Mina are less like real people than two-dimensional embodiments of virtues that have, over the ages, been coded as female. Both women are chaste,

pure, innocent of the worlds evils, and devoted to their men. But Dracula threatens to

turn the two women into their opposites, into women noted for their voluptuousness

a word Stoker turns to again and again

and unapologetically open sexual desire. Dracula succeeds in transforming Lucy, and once she becomes a raving vampire

vixen, Van Helsings men see no other option than to destroy her, in order to return her to a purer, more socially respectable state. After Lucys transformation, the men keep a carefu

l eye on Mina, worried they will lose yet another model of Victorian womanhood to the dark

side. The men are so intensely invested in the womens sexual behavior because they are

afraid of associating with the socially scorned. In fact, the men fear for nothing less than their

own safety. Late in the novel, Dracula mocks Van Helsings crew, saying, Your girls that you all love are mine already; and through them you and others shall yet be mine. Here, the

count voices a male fantasy that has existed since Adam and Eve were turned out of Eden:

namely, that womens ungovernable desires leave men poised for a costly fall from grace.

The Promise of Christian Salvation

The folk legends and traditions Van Helsing draws upon suggest that the most effective weapons in combating supernatural evil are symbols of unearthly good. Indeed, in the fight against Dracula, these symbols of good take the form of the icons of Christian faith, such as the crucifix. The novel is so invested in the strength and power of these Christian symbols that it reads, at times, like a propagandistic Christian promise of salvation.

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Dracula | Count Dracula | Dracula – scribd.com

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