Study Guide

Dracula Gender

By Bram Stoker

Gender

Chapter 4
Jonathan Harker

At least God's mercy is better than that of these monsters, and the precipice is steep and high. At its foot a man may sleep—as a man. (4.70)

It's interesting that Jonathan adds "—as a man" at the end, because at this point, he has no way of knowing that the vampires' kiss could turn him into a vampire. All he knows is that "those awful women" want to suck his blood and that Dracula, too, is some kind of monster. Maybe Harker thinks that being victimized by the three "weird sisters" would somehow make him less of a man.

I am alone in the castle with those awful women. Faugh! Mina is a woman, and there is nought in common. They are devils of the Pit! (4.67)

Here, Harker contrasts the three Brides of Dracula with Mina. We're invited to think of them as the complete opposite of Mina.

Chapter 8
Lucy Westenra

I believe we should have shocked the "New Woman" with our appetites. (8.1)

Mina and Lucy go on a long walk, and are so hungry when they get back that they eat a huge amount, without worrying about being prim and proper.

Mina Murray Harker

Some of the "New Women" writers will some day start an idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But I suppose the New Woman won't condescend in future to accept; she will do the proposing herself. And a nice job she will make of it, too! There's some consolation in that. (8.1)

Is Mina making fun of the "New Women"? It's not totally clear. Is she being sarcastic when she says, "And a nice job she will make of it, too"? Mina's not the type of woman who would ever propose to a man—she'd wait to be proposed to. But she's not usually that sarcastic, either. So maybe this is a place where Bram Stoker's own voice is coming in—perhaps he's using Mina as a mouthpiece to poke fun at progressive women.

Chapter 12
Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

A brave man's blood is the best thing on this earth when a woman is in trouble. You're a man, and no mistake. (12.28)

We don't want to tell Van Helsing how to do his job, but we can think of a lot of things that are more useful to a "woman in trouble" than "a brave man's blood."

Chapter 13

In such cases men do not need much expression. A grip of the hand, the tightening of an arm over the shoulder, a sob in unison, are expressions of sympathy dear to a man's heart. (13.38)

Ah yes, the "man hug." Good, manly Englishmen have to keep a stiff upper lip! They can't break down and cry—they just slap each other on their shoulders to express their sympathy.

Chapter 14
Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

She is one of God's women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble, so little an egoist—and that, let me tell you, is much in this age, so sceptical and selfish. (14.52)

Van Helsing really thinks highly of Mina, doesn't he? She represents a feminine ideal: She's intelligent, but also submissive and nurturing.

Chapter 17

I suppose there is something in woman's nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood. (17.56)

Good, manly Englishmen are only allowed to break down and cry in front of a woman. And then only if it's a sweet, nurturing, motherly woman like Mina.

Mina Murray Harker

We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother-spirit is invoked. (17.59)

Mina makes a generalization about all women here—she claims that all women are, somewhere deep down, very nurturing and maternal. They just have to have the right inspiration for that "mother-spirit" to come out.

Chapter 18
Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

[Mina] has a man's brain—a brain that a man should have were he much gifted—and a woman's heart. The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when He made that so good combination. (18.22)

Mina's combination of masculine intellect and feminine sweetness makes her almost saint-like in Van Helsing's eyes.