Bram Stoker 's Dracul Boundaries Of Acceptable Gendered Behavior And Sexual Roles

Bram Stoker 's Dracul Boundaries Of Acceptable Gendered Behavior And Sexual Roles

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Fiction of each era reflects the insecurities, concerns, and ideals of its generation, and through this genre, authors are able to construct entire universes of their own fantasy. These universes might contain characters that push boundaries for what is socially acceptable, but the authors need not be held accountable for their actions. The same holds true for works of the 19th century, where authors question traditional Victorian notions of the boundaries of acceptable gendered behavior and sexual roles. Specifically, Bram Stoker’s Dracula pushes social conceptions of customary gendered conduct through the vampires’ and Dracula’s actions and characterization as mutable. Qualities, such as intelligence, sexuality, and parenthood as portrayed in both Dracula and the few women in the novel contrast and prove that Dracula’s transgression of boundaries supports the claim that breaching the presupposed gender binary of the late 19th century was perceived as a pollution of nature, or more specifically, women.
Mina and Lucy are pure from the beginning of the novel, and untouched by Dracula. Their initial characterizations play on the stereotypes of the ideal “mother” and “wife,” respectively, yet once Lucy dies, all that remains is Mina’s chaste model of the perfect mother. She mothers the men in the group, going as far as embracing Arthur Holmwood as he weeps for his diseased fiancée, Lucy. Lucy also offers to comfort Quincey P. Morris, another of Lucy’s suitors. Moreover, the men in the group praise Mina for her intellect; Van Helsing goes so far as to state “She has man 's brain, a brain that a man should have were he much gifted, and a woman 's heart” (Chapter 18, 30 September, Dr. Seward’s Journal). Lucy can type, follows her husban...


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...o this child, despite his usurping of the “mother” role in the previous scene. Since Dracula takes the role of both mother and father, he demonstrates that in parenthood, he does not have a defined gender. He both appropriates Mina’s defining characteristic, and defiles it, thereby reinforcing the idea that liminal characters, not men, pollute women.
The policing of the female sexuality is another way that women are subject to gendered expectations in this novel. Sex and sexuality are not even mentioned in the Lucy’s and Mina’s characterizations before their encounters with Dracula. Mina remains sexually passive throughout the novel, only to give birth to her son Quincy, and even then, Stoker did not mention any sexual encounters between Mina and Jonathan preceding Quincy’s birth. However, once succumbed to Dracula’s influence, Lucy has sexual outbursts wherein she

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