Essay about An Analysis of the New Woman Phenomenon Present in Bram Stokers Dracula

Essay about An Analysis of the New Woman Phenomenon Present in Bram Stokers Dracula

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The gothic vampire classic Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, is one of the most well known novels of the nineteenth century. The story focuses on a vampire named Dracula who travels to England in search of new blood, but who eventually is found out and driven away by a group of newly minted vampire hunters. A major social change that was going on during the late nineteenth century, around the time of that this novel was being written, was the changing roles of women in British society which constituted as the “New Woman” movement and the novel seems to explore and worry about this subject extensively. These women wanted to be freed both politically and sexually, but much of the general population at the time found it unsettling (Dixon, 2006). In this paper, I argue that the female characters in Stokers Dracula portray aspects of both traditional 19th century women and “New Woman”, suggesting that Stoker is supportive of some parts of the “New Woman” phenomenon but does not support all aspects of it. Stoker seems to support the further independence of women but seems to be against the sexually aggressive nature that is present in the “New Woman” movement. His views on the phenomenon can be seen when examining the personality and characteristics of three sets of woman, the heroine Mina Murray/Harker, the three vampire women, and the first major victim Lucy Westenra.

Mina is the most well developed female character in Dracula and is the only female that is present almost throughout the entirety of the novel. The character is first introduced to the reader as the fiancé of Jonathan, and it gives the reader a domestic association of her that remains throughout the novel. She is intelligent, self-sufficient, has a career, has a willi...


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...t women should have advanced sexual identities. The novel works to warn us of the dangers of explicit female independence, desire and sexuality.



Works Cited

Demetrakopoulos, S. “Feminism, Sex Role Exchanges, and Other Subliminal Fantasies inBram Stoker’s Dracula.” FAJWS 3 (1997): 104-113.

Dixon, S. “Dracula and the New Woman: the Underlying Threat in Bram Stoker’s Classic.” Cross-Sections 1.2 (2006): 47-56.

Fry C.L. “Fictional Conventions and Sexuality in Dracula.” The Victorian Newsletter 1.24 (1972): 20-22.

Senf C.A. “‘Dracula’: Stoker’s Response to the New Woman.” Victorian Studies 26.1 (1982): 33-49.


Senf C.A. “Rethinking the New Woman in Stoker’s Fiction.” Journal of Dracula Studies 9 (2007): 1-8.



Sehmby, Dalbir S. "Wrestling and Popular Culture." CCLWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 4.1 (2002): n. pag. Web. 29 Mar. 2009.

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