Dracula Essay

789 Words2 Pages

In Dracula, Bram Stoker portrays a clear battle between the “traditional woman” of the time and the “new woman.”. Stoker uses the contrasting characters of Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray to depict this evolution in women and, also, to paint an image of the reaction to this advance, expressed by both men and women. Mina Murray embodies the traditional women that were commonplace in the late 19th century. Mina’s letters to Lucy most clearly express her attitude and personality. She expresses her aspirations in the first letter of hers that we read in the story. Mina states, "I have been working very hard lately, because I want to keep up with Jonathan's studies" (62). Jonathan Harker, Mina's fiancé, is a lawyer. Mina indicates that she would like to learn shorthand and typing so that she can assist her husband with his work (62). In the late 19th century women were beginning to get jobs of their own. In Mina’s case, she is attempting to work by her husband’s side, showing that the full independence is not within her yet. This was mostly because of the population of women being so large, which led to many single women needing to provide for themselves. Although Mina isn't a single woman, she does choose to seek out a job and become more independent. It is also disclosed that Mina is a teacher, aside from her working with Jonathan. Mina represents the new trend in women getting jobs and wanting to learn, and at the same time, the idea that she is still a traditional woman in that she has a motherly job on the side and is studying to work under her husband, as if she were inferior to him. Lucy Westenra is the antithesis to Mina. In her letters to Mina the reader can see her contrasting attitude and personality. In the first letter wri... ... middle of paper ... ...ughout the book, the reader can see a story of a new type of woman emerging in the 19th century. At the end of the story Van Helsing speaks of Mina and Jonathan’s newborn son and how he is going to be the new age man that will accept the new age woman and understand a woman who not only is motherly and loving, but also proud, strong, and independent. Mina now represents the new age woman just as much as she did the traditional woman in the beginning, and in the end the men fought to save her life. Stoker wrote Dracula to prove a point that the new age woman will eventually emerge as the leading type of woman and the traditional woman will be no more. Although Mina isn’t the drastic new woman that Lucy was, she shares many similar characteristics and is as strong and powerful as the new age woman, with the intelligence and motherly love that the traditional woman had.

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