Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dracula: Stephen D. Arata

What I find interesting in Arata's analysis is the definition of "What is Gothic" is addressed in comparison to Dracula. The first couple chapters were rewritten to change the setting for Dracula's castle. Moving the castle from Styria to Transylvania. "By moving Castle Dracula there, Stoker gives distinctly political overtones to his Gothic narrative" (463). I remember the first couple days of class we defined what the Gothic is and where the setting is presents a huge staple for the rest of the novel. Stoker acknowledges the use of a creepy, vexed region should be used as Dracula's quarters to appeal to his audiences.

Arata's analysis of how Dracula views himself and vampires is, "there is hardly a foot of soil in all this region that has not been enriched by the blood of men, patriots or invaders" (33). His subsequent question is thus: "Is it a wonder that we were a conquering race?" (41). "The 'race' in which Dracula claims membership is left ambiguous here. He refers at once to his Szekely warrior past and to his vampiric present" (463). Which is Stoker trying to address? Is it being suggested that vampires or vampiric characteristics are in relation to warriors/soldiers?

That would be a pretty bold statement for the time that this novel was released. The dichotomy of European races was prevalent at the time. Perhaps Stoker was using Dracula to stand as a symbol of a warrior that has returned from war. That a part of someone has to die before they can return home. Dracula still continues his life with energy and routines much like the lives of humans, however, he is different due to his past and character state.

I think it would only be a minor characteristic of the novel if Stoker would be addressing Dracula as the role of a soldier. The idea of the Vampire has been appealing to the masses for years, but I do think perhaps Stoker tailored Dracula more to the demographic of what was occuring. For example, where a Vampire originates when portrayed now-a-days is not as relevant as it was in Stoker's time. Stoker wanted to instill the ambiguous nature of Dracula and he started it with the location of the Count's castle. The Vampire always represents what is estranged, different and fearful in humans. Throughout literature, I am sure the Vampire is tailored to represent different unsettling human events (i.e. war, politics, religion).

1 comment:

  1. For example, where a Vampire originates when portrayed now-a-days is not as relevant as it was in Stoker's time.

    Laura, I'm not so sure. As we read Interview, consider the significance of the emergence of the vampire in the south. How might the vampire be an extension of what some critics call "Southern Gothic"?