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Dracula, by Bram Stoker

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The term Gothic originates from the Northern tribes that invaded Europe in the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries. When founded, Gothic writings were created to express new feelings toward order, nature, and emotion. Resulting from connecting all key elements together, Bram Stoker created one of the most well written Gothic novels of all time. Stoker includes gothic elements in his characterization, setting, and plot to expand the consciousness of his characters and readers, while simultaneously expanding the boundaries of the Victorian World.

A close analysis of characters in Dracula reveals that Stoker relieved heavily on gothic elements. Several characters in the novel, experience unusual states of mind. For example, when Jonathon Harker first meets Dracula, he is often confused about reality. The young man describes how he “only slept a few hours” (Stoker 26). Since Jonathon barely sleeps in his stay, he feels disoriented, as if he were in a haze. While shaving the next morning, Jonathon cuts himself when he notices “there was no reflection of [Dracula] in the mirror” (Stoker 27). Linda Bayer-Berenbaum explains how sleeplessness makes an individual “less analytical or rational, less strictly controlled” (78). Stoker introduces familiar examples before exploring more radical mental states such as hypnosis. Dracula is considered a grotesque character, which can be “created through exaggeration rather than by a complete departure from normality” (Bayer- Berenbaum 80). Examples that may follow this side of the definition are the counts “protuberant teeth” or the many other peculiar body parts on him. A second way to characterize someone as grotesque is to use uncommon ways to mislead someone until one is pleased. As Jonathon first arriv...

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...rful and continue his attacks, mainly on Jonathon and his friends in this novel. The intertwined journal entries from the characters create the story of Dracula and the decayed structures help Count Dracula get the name that he lives with.

Stoker’s movement away from the Victorian World and into a new era gave him the ability to expand his characters’ consciousness within a suitable setting and plot. Dracula is considered to be amongst one of the top Gothic novels written because of the Stoker’s ability to be able to combine all Gothic elements together. This novel was one of the reasons that Romanticism was able to rise up with the success that it had.

Works Cited

Bayer-Berenbaum, Linda. “Elements of the Gothic”. Horror. Ed. Michael Stuprich. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2001. 73-83

Stoker, Bram, and George Stade. Dracula. New York: Bantam Dell, 2004. Print.
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