Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review of Dracula by Bram Stoker

‘Dracula’ is largely about sex, an unspeakable topic in Victorian times.
Stoker has repeatedly used blood as symbolic of semen as it appears to me.
In this book he discusses forbidden themes such as rape, sexually assertive women, homosexuality and so forth.

Dracula is empowered not only with the much desired gift of immortality but also with unchallenged control over women (and beasts).Despite Dracula’s notorious image, his virtues of patriarchy, hyper masculinity and chauvinism are in agreement with those of the Victorian society. Mina’s emotional portrayal of violation after being “penetrated” by the Count is very similar to those that would be reflected by a rape victim. Not only does the Count demonstrate physical dominance, but also intellectual superiority; he has the women of his castle ”trained” in such a manner that the narrator of the passage (Harker) compares it to the domestication of animals

Women are expected to be na├»ve, innocent and virtuous, sexual desire should be absent unless commanded by the husband for procreative sex. A woman who is sexually assertive is deemed as evil, beastly or under the control of Satan.For instance “The fair girl went on her knees and bent over me, fairly 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, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white, sharp, teeth” (Stoker 50) highlights this.

These opinions seem to mock the then order of things for even as Stoker uses stereotypes, the way they are used makes all the difference in the interpretation of the book.