Dracula: Group 2: Cultural Consciousness/Identity

Consider the spaces inhabited (and/or invaded) by vampires in the most recent sections of the novel. If we see these choices as deliberately made by Stoker to draw our attention to the relationship between space and cultural identity, what do they reveal about the state of Englishness at this point in the narrative? Select one or two spaces on which to comment.

Examples you might examine (you may choose others, of course): 
—Lucy in the London Cemetery.
—Dracula’s lodgings in Mile End and Bermondsy (both average ‘Londoner’ districts) and Picadilly, the center of the city.
—Dracula feeding in the English bedroom: implications for gender and sexuality.

3 Replies to “Dracula: Group 2: Cultural Consciousness/Identity”

  1. When Jonathan traveled to the Count’s house he experienced a sense of temptation when sleeping one night. He had woken up to see three vampires in his room examining his body. When one of them came close to his body to suck on his blood, he felt physically aroused by her, his body was attracted to her and was responding accordingly. Although he knew he had a commitment, he couldn’t suppress his feeling and even anticipated her approach. It is interesting to see his behavior change from a civilize English men to a men that allows his emotions to take over. It could be that the change of setting and not having the social pressure allowed him to be himself and give in to the nature of being a human being. Stoked maybe drew our attention to this scene because he wanted to show the cultural differences from Transylvania and Jonathan’s home.

  2. Van Helsing, Seward, and Holmwood attend Lucy’s burial. The night of her burial the three men go back to the cemetery and realize her body was gone. They then saw a “white streak” and a baby laying near by. The men realized Lucy was the “Bloofer Lady” in the newspaper abducting babies. The three men are able to get Lucy back into her coffin and decide to decapitate her so she does not have to suffer and be controlled by Dracula any longer. I believe Stoker wanted to draw our attention to this scene because it portrays Englishness. This reveals Englishness because Dracula is trying to take control of Lucy’s body and take her from Holmwood who was very upset by her death. This is similar to the idea on how men fought for women to fulfill their sexual desire. This also shows how in Victorian culture women were viewed differently than those in England. In England Lucy was open to sexual adventure throughout her life rather than domesticity and being docile like those in Victorian culture, which may be a reason Stoker chose her to be a vampire. I believe this is what Stoker draws our attention to the relationship between Lucy in the cemetery and cultural identity.

  3. The decision to put Lucy in the London cemetery during the scene where she is abducting babies and thereby exhibiting vampiric behavior is symbolic of the link between vampires and the past. The reason that vampires are so terrifying to Stoker’s audience is because they serve as reminders of the past as Western Europe is pushing for modernization. The cemetery being a place of death links Lucy to that idea which makes her a more fearful character in the novel. Stoker’s choice to include the scene with Dracula’s feeding in the English bedroom is symbolic of the fear of reverse colonization. Dracula is the embodiment of the past, of backwards or old-fashioned ways of being. His feeding in the English bedroom represents reverse colonization as vampires begin to spread to Western Europe.

    In “Dracula,” Stoker leans heavily into symbols and metaphors for the past, for cultural differences in relation to time and technological advancement, and for the state of the world at this time. The aforementioned scenes are exemplary of Stoker’s commentary on Western Europe’s modernization and their resulting feelings on areas of the world that had yet to modernize as far as they had.

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