In the late nineteenth century, when Bram Stoker was writing and publishing Dracula, the feminist movement was beginning to find its feet. The concept of a “New Woman” was born and along with her came education reforms, increased divorce rate, and women tired of being put in an idyllic and antiquated box. The Portrayal of Mina (Murray) Harker in Bram Stokers iconic novel Dracula is Stokers input in the ongoing conversation of the New Woman. Through Mina, Stoker displays the Victorian, predominantly male, idea of a woman and the constant danger surrounding her by the invading ideals of the “New Woman”.
As the Feminist movement began to take way many men were realizing that alongside more educated and independent women came a loss of their subservient and obedient wives. Any sign of change or progress for women was often seen as a threat to their vey way of life. In even the preface of the novel itself it states “the strange changes Dracula catalyzes in… Mina… [Is] symptomatic of the changes men feared in all their women.”(Stoker, xi) Even in the final possessive pronoun there, there is a sense of ownership, like they fear the loss in value of an object, or they are losing something which belongs to them. The extremity of the evil associated with the tainting of Mina also reflects the misogynistic double standards in the importance of female innocence. The moment when Dracula “infects her” parallels the New Women’s take on sexuality, which is far less conservative than traditional Victorian values. In the book Women And Fiction Patricia Stubbs, a university professor and women’s rights activist, notes that during this time many novelists who where apposed to the feminist movement would write novels with oversimplified and cartoon...
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...ept in the domestic sphere.
During the time when Dracula was written, the issue of feminism and New Women was entering the public awareness and as such it inspired an abundance of literature. Bram Stoker was just one voice in a larger conversation; however through mina he contributes his idea of what a woman’s place in society should be in a time when that was being called into question. Mina was sweet and innocent and a combination of a subservient and mother like character. Passion served no part in her character unlike compassion, which she was full of. However, mina did not diverge from the feminist idea of what a woman was in every aspect. She was intelligent and educated which was one of the major platforms of the movement at the time. She was Stokers idea of the perfect woman, at a time when everyone had an idea of what the perfect woman looked like. (1340)
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