Explore the Presentation of Mina Harker in "Dracula"

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Explore the presentation of Mina

Most critics would safely agree that “Dracula” is a novel that dramatically presents the role of the female in Victorian society. Bram Stoker was writing this novel at the end of the nineteenth century when Victorian women were placed into three distinct categories, all three relating to their sexual behaviour. She was either a virgin, so pure and innocent; a mature wife or mother; or if she was neither of these she was considered a “loose woman” and so was neglected by society. Stoker portrays all three types of women through his female characters- Lucy Westenra, Mina Murray/ Harker and the three female vampires.

Mina Murray, later to be Mina Harker, portrays the “mature wife” type and in my opinion is the most complex character of the entire novel. Her character is full of contradictions and we are allowed to get to know her because her letters and journal entries constitute a large part of the book. She is incredibly feminine, but is also described by Van Helsing as having a “mans brain”. She’s both child-like as she depends on Jonathan for protection and also very maternal towards all the other characters. Finally she’s described as “angelic”, but once she experiences Dracula she is unholy.

Whilst Stoker was writing “Dracula” the women’s suffrage movement was taking place and so the role of women in society was being questioned. Stoker obviously took an interest in the movement as Mina discusses the “New Woman”- a term used to describe progressive women who were in search of independence. At the start of the novel Mina and Lucy have a conversation referring to the “New Woman”, Mina says that the “New Woman” will introduce the “idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But the New woman won’t condescend in future to accept; she will do the proposing herself. And a nice job she will make of it too!” The idea that women should propose was extremely...
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