Theme Of Femininity In Dracula

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'Dracula is a largely positive depiction of femininity in the late nineteenth century.' Discuss. Femininity explores the qualities of being female. Stoker gives a largely positive depiction of femininity in Dracula through different themes, like, Ideology, the New Woman, Gender Inversion and Sexual Desire. It seems that through the latter, Stoker may be trying to explore his homoerotic desires. In agreement with this, Roth states that the novel 'manages a fantasy which is congruent with a fundamental fantasy shared by many others.', showing that Dracula was not just Stoker exploring his own sexual wishes but was also felt by others in society, thus showing that femininity was on the rise. Patmore epitomises the perfect Victorian woman:…show more content…
However, Lucy's desires: 'Come to me Arthur. [...] My arms are hungry for you.' (Dracula, p.188) are stopped, whereas her husband's: 'Arthur placed the point over the heart, [...] Then he struck with all his might [...] his un-trembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper' (Dracula, p.192) are allowed. By having Lucy killed, Stoker presents a positive depiction of femininity as his original audience sees that a 'voluptuous' woman or elaborate femininity of any kind, is not accepted and that if women have these desires then they must suppress them and return to being an 'Angel in the House'…show more content…
Schaffer states that: 'Dracula explores Stoker's fear and anxiety as a closeted homosexual man' which he could be doing here through Harker. Schaffer explores a letter which Stoker wrote to Walt Whitman where he writes how they are from a specific: 'kind' and Schaffer thinks that: 'It is significant that Stoker believes' this, that it is as if: 'he belongs to a species set apart' which mirrors the way the Count is perceived. Through Jonathan and Dracula, Stoker could be trying to have his desired relationship with Oscar Wilde (Schaffer states that they had: 'an intimate [...] history') which shows a positive depiction of femininity as homosexuality was linked to femininity at the time of writing. In conclusion, positive femininity is evident throughout Dracula, with Stoker depicting this through the New Woman - Mina having a job, knowing shorthand and maybe not living to the exact ideology she was brought up in, yet also through stopping this 'elaborate' woman from living, as seen when Lucy is killed: 'Finally it lay still.' (Dracula, p.192). By doing this Stoker, allows his own views on the New Woman to be shown but also tells the reader that he understands the social anxiety surrounding the concept
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