Essay on The Novel ' Dracula ' By Bram Stoker

Essay on The Novel ' Dracula ' By Bram Stoker

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Throughout ‘Dracula’, Stoker presents the idea of ‘foreigner’ through the characterisation of Count Dracula and Professor Van Helsing, who are the two main outsiders in the novel. Dracula, being a supernatural creature, is of Transylvanian descent which makes him such a poignant character. On the other hand, Van Helsing is a Roman Catholic, and is of a Dutch background, which also highlights him as a foreigner within ‘Dracula.’ In this essay I will explore how these two characters are represented and the intention behind the idea of ‘foreigner.’


Firstly, Stoker describes Dracula’s physical appearance in Chapter two, ‘a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him.’ This description demonstrates that Dracula has a distinct appearance, which singles him out from the other characters in the novel. In particular, the phrase ‘clad in black from head to foot’ suggests that his true identity is not yet revealed to Harker, as he covers himself in black clothing. This is effective in implying that Dracula is a mysterious character. Furthermore, Stoker clearly conveys that as a Transylvanian, Dracula likes to make himself unknown to Harker in order to protect his sacred identity and integrity, which ultimately introduces him as an unfamiliar foreigner. On the other hand, there is evidently no physical description of Van Helsing until Chapter 14, so the reader is at first unaware of what he looks like. Much like Dracula, he is depicted as an obscure yet intriguing character. Although Van Helsing is the only other non-native speaker in the novel, it could be interpreted that Stoker may have presented him in this way to show that he is more famili...


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...and is very knowledgable on advanced science. As a foreigner with a slight accent, Van Helsing becomes an advantageous character in the novel, as he is beacon of knowledge and power in the effort to save Lucy. Therefore, it could be interpreted that Stoker represents the idea of ‘foreigner’ in a positive light, as Van Helsing has a vital role to play in the battle against Dracula.


To conclude, it is important to note that both Dracula and Professor Van Helsing have an important part to play in the portrayal of foreigners within the novel. Van Helsing acts a welcomed outsider, who as the main protagonist, has a positive contribution to the resolution of the deadly events within the story. On the other hand, Dracula stands as a threatening figure of invasion, who has a devastating impact on the lives of those who are not like him; an unfamiliar supernatural creature.

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