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Bram Stoker's Dracula and the Fears of Victorian England Essay

Assignment id 1010794
Discipline Self Improvement
Assignment type Essay
Words 1226
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In intervals of cultural insecurity, whenever there are fears of regression and degeneration, the yearning for strict border controls across the definition of gender, in addition to race, class, and nationality, becomes especially intense. If the different races could be kept in their areas, if the many classes can be stored in their appropriate districts of town, and when men and women can be mended in their individual spheres, most expect, apocalypse can be avoided and we could preserve a comforting sense of identity and permanence in the surface of that constant specter of millennial change. (Showalter, 4) In the first chapter of her novel Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle, Elaine Showalter summarizes the social situation in the western world as the year 1900 approached. She asserts that the fin-de-siècle mentality, a so-called "endism," intensified battles of class and race, resulting in fierce backlash by supporters of the status quo. Fearing that the coming end of this century represented the previous step in a slow process of the breakdown of society which distorted separations involving social classes, these folks screamed to get a "return" to a more organized society. Gender roles were to be rigorously recognized, classes and races must be separated. Dracula, composed during this period from Bram Stoker, could be read as an illustration of this battle between the "heroic" forces of order as well as the people that expect to sabotage it. To utilize Noel Carroll's expression, Dracula is a "combination monster," a monster that "transgresses categorical distinctions" (Carroll, 43). He inspires dread to all since he's a blend of death and life, however, more profoundly for the publication's Victorian audience, because he clouds boundaries between the ge...

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