Braham Stoker's Dracula's Mina Harker Essay

Braham Stoker's Dracula's Mina Harker Essay

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Mina clearly demonstrates her awareness and knowledge of the New Woman movement; whereby she exhibits her familiarity of the debate by referring to the term “New Woman” twice in her journal entries. Grant Allen’s “purity school” New Woman consisted of female characters that expressed particular interest in social problems while still maintaining their propriety. This sense of knowledge is exhibited when Mina attempts to reassure the oversensitive Lucy as they stopped for a “severe tea” (Stoker 141): “I believe we should have shocked the ‘New Woman’ with our appetites. Men are more tolerant, bless them!” (Stoker 141). The New Woman was a common subject of controversy in journalism and fiction (Senf 34). Mina’s preliminary reference merely characterized her as a well-informed young woman of the 1890s. Mina remains neutral and simply suggests her familiarization with the New Woman’s assertion on greater freedom and physical activity. Bicycle riding, badminton playing and bloomer wearing women may have shocked certain conservative people of the 1890s, but they were not enough to worry Stoker’s heroine (Senf 34). Nor was it a shock to her that the New Woman was often characterized as a professional woman who was capable of financially supporting herself. After all, Mina easily fell under this category of the New Woman; her career was not an archetypal Victorian housewife. She was often “overwhelmed with work […] [because] the life of an assistant schoolmistress [was] sometimes trying” (Stoker 83). Mina is able to support herself and by using her note-taking talents she is also able to support her husband too, outside of her domestic role. This notion was revolutionary at the time. Gail Cunningham notes that while independence and in...

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...stingly, Lucy reveals a furtive desire to escape the traditional constraints that are placed upon her. Prior to being pleased with her committed relationship, Lucy complains, “why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble?” (Stoker 92). Her desire for three husbands suggests a latent sensuality that connects her to the New Woman; she is torn between the need to conform and the desire to rebel (Senf 42). On the night of Lucy’s initial vamping, Mina witnesses her friend in the cemetery of Whitby: “it seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell” (Stoker 144). For Lucy, this exceedingly sexual scene acts as an exaggerated fulfillment of her earlier sexual curiosity regarding polygamy (Prescott & Georgio 502).

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