AS Gothic - Dracula Watch
- Study Helper
Is anyone else studying Dracula for their AS? I'm yet to find anyone else who does! I'd really appreciate it if anyone had notes to share as I've missed a lot of school due to being ill, I can share what I have too
There's not many resources out there,
but you should look at the these topics in Dracula through:
Narration - viewpoints from different characters - their perception of the world. You've got to think how this make it Gothic - perhaps many different characters adds to the unstability of the Gothic convention - who can you rely on to tell a Gothic horror story? It shows uncertainty and confusion - all themes in Gothic Literature.
Form - mostly written in an epistolary form (letters) as well as newspapers. It shows a lot of context for Victorian society and mirrors the themes of the novel. It replicates society's change. But writing this way, Stoker is trying to preserve the values of Victorian society. There was a lot of technological advances during the late Victorian era and Stoker doesn't seem to want to use any in his novel to capture the "trueness" of Victorian society. This is Gothic simply because Gothic texts like to make things seem more traditional than other literary genres. By capturing their thoughts through their own personal diary entries, it captures that secrecy and also vulnerability of one's own thoughts. And a character's psychology was a prominent theme in Gothic texts.
Characterisation - again linking to the form element - Lu is the exact beautiful young woman a Victorian woman should be - blonde, blue eyes, pale and voluptuous. She is the idealism of the Victorian woman but when Dracula comes along from a foreign place, Stoker is trying to say how things from the "outside" world come to invade Britain it corrupts the innocent and ruin the purity of what it means to be British. Some scholars say this is slight racism and class Stoker as a racist but, that's subject to interpretation. You have the Gothic double - a good character who seems to be linked with an evil one. So Harker and Dracula. You also have Mina and her representation of the New Woman in Victorianism.
Setting - the Castle and Transylvania is starkly contrasted with Britain - the "foreign land" - the way British Harker, invades Europe and how European Dracula invades Britain. Their customs is constantly being contrasted. Esp between chapters 13-16 (I can't remember) when Harker first visits Dracula's castle and he speaks/sees an inbound character and the narration speaks of how weird that character appears. It shows Victorian's customs to hostility of other traditions. The Castle of course can be a conceit for isolation and imprisonment which is a great caricature for alienation for the foreign land. It also evokes terror of the unknown which Gothic literature do so well. The psychology of it is great - when Harker describes there was no windows and it was dark it has this "no way out" feel to it, so it imprisons the reader as well as the character. There is also this same feeling when Dracula hides in the ship and (I think) kills a guy on board. They are out at see with a monster on deck. It's another setting of feeling "entrapped" with one's own surrounding. Being there, but not actually "being there". It plays on the reality vs. reality. Which again, is another Gothic tradition in literature.
Motifs - Sexuality and Blood. The combination of these things conclude to eroticism. For the sexuality, you can look at Harker and the 3 female vampire. And then Lucy and the three male suitors. You have Lucy's sleepwalking and Mina satirising the New Woman as a sexual selector and of course her refusal for Dracula. These things are mirroring science with Darwinism Thoery of sexual selection. This brings about the science/sexuality vs. religion juxtaposition of the late Victorian society. You can look up what blood symbolises in Dracula.
I'm studying Dracula in Feb at uni so I had to do my homework!