‘in Dracula, Lucy Represents a 19th Century Ideal of Femininity, Whereas Mina Embodies a More Modern View of the Role of Women’.

Topics: Gender, Vampire, Gender role, Dracula, Victorian era, 19th century / Pages: 7 (1627 words) / Published: May 5th, 2013
‘In Dracula, Lucy represents a 19th century ideal of femininity, whereas Mina embodies a more modern view of the role of women’.

To what extent do you agree?

Stoker’s presentation of the differences between Mina and Lucy provokes the debate about whether Lucy is intended to represent a traditional female role, with Mina being her modern counterpart. A typical depiction of life for a 19th century woman involved staying at home to look after their families; whereas, 20th century women secured greater independence and equality. While, at first glance, there’s greater evidence of these aspects of modern femininity in Mina, it’s worth noting that, despite acting autonomously and being respected by men, Mina’s actions in Dracula serve the purpose of aiding her husband’s struggle. Additionally, Lucy’s sexuality could be regarded as more modern, but, in succumbing to Dracula, she appears to lack the poise Mina possesses.

The nature of Mina and Lucy’s relationships with men differs greatly. Mina’s character incorporates the modern role of women; in many ways she appears equal to the men around her. “She has man’s brain - a brain that a man should have were he much gifted - and a woman’s heart”. This demonstrates the respect Mina acquires through her contributions in the fight against Dracula; however, Van Helsing’s comparison of Mina to a man shows that Victorian society was still strongly influenced by gender stereotypes: men were intelligent and women were caring. Mina’s acceptance into the male world is only down to her possession of ‘male’ characteristics, namely, intelligence. Perhaps this supports the idea that Mina does embody a more modern view of the role of women. This view may have been so modern that society hadn’t adjusted to it; therefore, to express the extent of her intelligence a comparison to a man is necessary.

Despite this, some aspects of Mina’s relationships with men remain traditional, such as the long quest to restore her purity.

References: Sparknotes - Dracula Oxford World’s Classics - Dracula by Bram Stoker Critical Anthology - Feminism Eszter Muskovits - The Split Concept of Womanhood in Bram Stoker’s Dracula Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens ----------------------- [1] In the Twilight saga, for example, Stephanie Meyer displays human women as plain as opposed to the female vampires, who are terrifyingly beautiful. [2] The name given to Lizzie Hexham - A character renowned for self-sacrifice in Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

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