Dracula is more than a horror story.  It was very scary for the English readers at the time of writing because it points out a few major fears of at-the-turn-of-the-20th-century Britain.

You can read it online for free.  Just go to Google and search keywords "read Dracula online."

This week, I would like to share 2 passages by my classmates and my Prof.'s discussions on how different monsters are related to class problems in additional to my essay.

 

PASSAGE A:

... (first paragraph not so well written)

Another detail of Dr. Van Helsing´s worldview is his belief in God. When he faces the unknown and the mysteries of reality, God is the only certainty to achieve the truth. According to the book, Van Helsing is a man of faith. He is always speaking religious phrases,etc; and in the moment when he faces the unknown, only the crucifix and another religious stuff have the power to win against this forces. Therefore, in this particular analysis of the book, the moral is that: God is the only power to face the unknown and the mysteries of reality.

My comments:

The structure of each paragraph is fine but hopefully you can write a thesis connecting the 2 points and a conclusion in the future.

The 2nd paragraph is very well-written.  It is a very objective observation and intrepretation of the literature.  And it is fun to read for readers of any religious view.  I like it very much!

 

PASSAGE B:

   Bram Stoker lived in an age of great advancement in science in which people were ready to question the doctrines that had formed the moral and social norms for centuries. One of the taboos ceated by the same doctrines was sexuality in general with special attention on women's sexuality.

   In his novel, Stoker links vampirism with sexuality that was rarely written about. He does it when the three vampire women visit Harker in Count Dracula's castle. He does not write about intercourse openly because of the prejudices of his time, but he suggests sexual act through the predatory habits of vampires. For example, when Dracula feeds, he comes to his victim's bedroom and he makes her bleed. This act has the same effect as a real sexual encounter, especially because it transforms the pure, innocent woman into a very uncontrollable and lascivious creature. This creature also provokes "wicked, burning desire" in men. This transformation can be seen in the character of Lucy. She becomes a dangerous creature determined to destroy men with her lust. Because of her intention, she must be destroyed.

   In Lucy's example, it is seen what were the Victorian society's bounderies proscribed for women. If they were free in their sexual expression, they were treated very badly and destroyed without thinking. So women had to be innocent virgins or married women rather than awful "prostitutes" that can obliterate men's mind. This link of vampirism with sexuality that Stoker suggests, shows how the times were changing but it also stresses out the graet anxiety towards sexuality and already assumed norms of behaviour.

My comments:

The topic sentence "One of the taboos ceated by the same doctrines was sexuality in general with special attention on women's sexuality." can be more concrete and stronger.  Tell me what exactly about women's sexuality you want to discuss.

The sentences at the end of the 2nd paragraph "She becomes a dangerous creature determined to destroy men with her lust. Because of her intention, she must be destroyed." sound like it's your opinion and it confused me a little bit when I read the last paragraph.  You can clarify this point more.

1 small misuse of proposition: the link of A "to" B
3 small grammer mistakes:
(a) prostitutes "who" can...
(b) ... what the Victorian society's bounderies proscribed for women "were."
(c) No comma is needed after "This link of vampirism with sexuality that Stoker suggests."
The phrase "does it" is really weak and unclear to readers in the sentence "He does it when the three vampire women visit Harker in Count Dracula's castle." You can explore how to paraphrase it in other ways.

"Without thinking" is colliquial, and you can try "without a second thought" in our semi-formal essays.

Structure of paragraphs and whole essay is clear.

 

My essay:

In Dracula, one notices that physical interaction between sexes was a sensitive issue guided by many Victorian social rules.

For example, when Mina comforts Arthur and Quincy, all of them are aware of the sexual implications of their physical closeness even during such a sad time. Mina worries about Arthur misinterpreting her actions and also becomes alert when Quincy calls her by the very words he called Lucy. As Arthur cries on her shoulder, Mina has conflicting thoughts. She imagines Arthur as her future baby and claims her mother instinct has been invoked, while admitting that only a woman is able to do this for a man; in other words, it is sexual. Meanwhile, the men play down the sexuality in their intimacy. Arthur asks to be a brother and Quincy thanks Mina calmly and properly after his need for a woman's comfort is fulfilled. No one admits that there is a little sexiness in the air because they fear – they have learned and labeled sexiness impure, improper and possibly deadly.

Vampires' open, aggressive sexuality violates their social rules. When vampires offend, victims who do not understand their own sexuality are terrified. Their reactions are worth noting.

When Dracula grabs Mina toward his bare chest and feeds her his blood, she is ashamed of being forced into performing this action. Yet she reacts less strongly to letting him to drink her blood. Therefore the symbolic meaning of intimacy is the basis of her judgement, avoiding having to face her own sexuality. Similarly, Jonathan has sexual fantasies for the vampire women until he is frightened by them. Once he is safe, the first thing he wants to accomplish is surpringly not to go home but to get married. The truth is, Jonathan is frightened by his wild desires.

Thus vampires, at the time of writing, really stood for the mighty sexual power that the British could not handle and avoided to understand.

Works cited:

§17 MINA HARKER'S JOURNAL paragraphs 5, 15, 7, 8

§21 DR. SEWARD's DIARY

“'...so that I must either suffocate or swallow some to the' ...Then she began to rub her lips as though to cleanse them from pollution.”

“'I was bewildered, and strangely enough, I did not want to hinder him...'... She clasped his hand harder, and looked at him pityingly, as if he were the injured one, and went on.”

and paragraph 41

§3 JONATHAN'S JOURNAL 16. May

§8 LETTER, HOSPITAL TO MINA and §9 MINA'S LETTER TO LUCY

 

Comments from classmates:

Well laid out and easy to read.  I agree that there was sexual tension in the book, but I feel that the passages that you've highlighted are not very powerful in their sexuality.  But maybe that's because I'm not Victorian.

 

I gave this essay a high mark in content because while the topic deals with sexuality/sex, it offers a new perspective in it. The main argument of the seeming sexual tension and refusal to give in to desire was supported well with the examples. The point was even driven further by contrasting the vampires' aggressive character towards sexuality. Well done. 

 

The form was good; some outside sources would have been maybe strong, but optional- overall, good.  While not a very new train of thought, you took the inherent eroticism in Vampires very detailed to Bram Stokers Dracula. You founded your ideas very well on passages of the text, and eloquently made your point. Quite interesting!

 

The structure of the essay is good, but I would also suggest joining together the 3rd and 4th paragraph, since they are about the same idea.

Your argument is valid and well supported. I think you chose good and meaningful examples, which really support your thesis. I would only suggest a more in-depth explanation in the conclusion or final remark.

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