Gender Roles in Dracula
In a time period where females had narrow gender roles, Bram Stoker wrote his novel, Dracula. The Victorian culture often suppressed women and their value. Traditional Victorian women were thought of to be pure and virginal. Bram Stoker revealed another side of women that was not often seen. These qualities were like that of the emerging new feministic culture called the “New Woman”. The concept of gender roles in the 1890’s was very conflicted; Dracula challenged traditional gender roles. Typical gender roles in the Victorian era were that of a woman being kind, caring, nurturing and motherly. Bram Stoker used characters in his novel to express typical gender roles of the time period, along with the bolder characteristics of the new and emerging “New Woman” movement. Characters who represented this in the novel were Mina and Lucy. Mina even said about herself, “We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother-spirit is invoked” (Stoker 233). She meant that deep down all women have the same motherly instincts. Throughout the novel Mina used her motherly instincts to care for both Jonathon and Lucy. Van Helsing described Mina as, “one of God’s women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble, so little an egoist.” (Stoker 193). Also, Victorian women were expected to be submissive to their husbands. In a letter to Mina, Lucy wrote, “woman ought to tell her husband everything – don’t you think so, dear?” (Stoker 62). Both of these women were very dependable on their husbands too. Women were not viewed as sexual creatures. The Victorian woman was to be pure and virginal. Despite having all of these qualities of being an ideal Victorian woman, Lucy was somewhat promiscuous for a woman of that time. She wrote to Mina in a letter complaining about her love life, “Why...
Cited: Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Ed.Andrew Elfenbein. Illinois: Pearson Education, Inc, 2011. Print.
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