Textual Reading/ Literary Analysis on "Dracula"

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Kevin Vang

Textual Reading/ Literary Analysis

Audience: classmates who argues that “Dracula” is not a Gothic genre Purpose: to show them that “Dracula” is a perfectly good example of Gothic genre

“Dracula” a novel by Bram Stoker, deals with vampire folklore, Christian beliefs, and mostly gothic elements. Gothic elements are tremendous in this novel as it is seen a lot throughout the novel. The components of classic gothic elements as seen in “Dracula” includes the setting of the novel, the tone, a villainous character, and the fact that there is a hero that is struggling against an inescapable fate. Bram Stoker uses gothic elements such as isolated settings, gloom and doom, and secret passages in Dracula in which portray it to be an excellent gothic genre in relations to Jane Eyre, a novel by Charlotte Bronte.

Stoker uses isolated settings to perpetuate fear of the unknown. Just like telling myths, stories, and grim tales, inside of each kind, there are always those spooky, mysterious, and petrifying “things” that makes everyone go nuts over it. For example, a haunted house, the basement, or the forest all in which creates terror and fear of what is lurking around these settings. In “Dracula,” Stoker creates this sensational feeling of isolation: the fear of the unknown. Here we see Jonathan traveling to Transylvania to Count Dracula’s mansion. Jonathan had wrote that, “…the driver was in the act of pulling up the horses in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlit sky (pg.18)” literally meaning that this was no ordinary location within the bounds of society as we see “vast ruined castle.” Moreover as well as the “tall black windows [which] came no ray of light” which intensify the gist of isolation pertaining to human society as well as nature aspects because it shuts one out on human contact and also, the fact that one is going to be living in total darkness. Another example is Dracula’s lair in Piccadilly. It was described as “untenanted…windows [been] encrusted with dust, and shutters were up…framework was black with time… (pg.282)” on which mainly determining it to be a house that no one would wish to buy or spend money on as it creates spookiness and insecurity. In addition to it, the feel of the unknown as the house was “untenanted” because in real life, no one would want to go into a house that has not been in contact with the humane society. At any rate, it creates that unknown “aura” to which makes the society feel insecure and unsafe around it. Ultimately, isolation of the setting plays a key role in “Dracula” because it not only relates to gothic elements in general, but as well as a vital component of the novel.

Along with isolation of the setting as one of the gothic elements, gloom and doom plays as one of the main components to increase the atmosphere of fear and suspense in relations to gothic genre. In the beginning of “Dracula”, we see Jonathan heading towards Count Dracula’s mansion. On his way there, he hears howling of wolves, “a dog began to howl…a long [agonizing wail], as if from fear… (pg.16)” as Jonathan has described this feeling. A dog howling signifies danger and fear of the unexpected. In relation to this specific scene, Jonathan senses the danger yet could not avoid it as it was like he was being dragged there to meet his doom. What is more is when Jonathan and the mysterious rider passed through the tunnel, which results in the sudden change of mood bringing in anxiety and fear.

“[They] could hear the rising wind, for it moaned and whistled through the rocks, and the branches of the trees crashed together as [they] swept along. It grew colder and colder still, and fine, powdery snow [started] to fall, that soon, [they] and [their surroundings] were covered with a white blanket (pg.17).” As the carriage is passing through this event, it can be related...
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