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An on Dracula - Essay Example

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The Victorian era is ably represented in Bram Stoker's Dracula as consisting mostly of the middle and upper class. This is the image of the morally upright period most often presented in literature and film that deals with London of the time, but Stoker's prose also indicates the existence of the very real dark foundation upon which the industrial revolution was constructed…
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An on Dracula

Download file to see previous pages... The members of these classes were at best reflections of the thin line that existed between the middle class and a slight shift in birthright or inheritance. The social distinctions of the British class system are on full display in Dracula, though with a unique twist courtesy of the foreign invader who may sleep in dirt, but is nonetheless an exemplar of the noble blood. Dracula's persistent pursuit of his victims at the cost of his own life may be viewed best in strictly Marxist terms that illustrate the process by which the upper class sucks the blood out of the lower class in order to survive, while missing the paradox that they are ensuring themselves as the ultimate victim.
The method by which the middle class English and American men in the novel respond to reality of the existence of vampires is a symbolic iteration of the Marxian concept of false consciousness. Content in the assurance that they were collectively a force for good even if individually they were capable of little more than meaningless flights of self-centered egoism, Van Helsing and his gang view themselves as the means by to improve the lot of those unfortunate enough to be born beneath their own stations, while at the same time ensuring the division of class continues to exist. From this perspective, Stoker writes a horror novel that is actually about the horror of what would happen were no one in the lower classes ever to recognize the danger of the economic system that assaults them. Dracula is not just a foreigner, but a nobleman. In fact, he is a true aristocrat, equipped with title and foreboding castle. It is the merging of the aristocracy with the middle class that will create the conflict that urges the hunting down and destruction of the vampire.
There is a starkly defined demarcation that exists between the classes and one of the aspects of this division has always been that which separates superstition from the scientific approach. The classes who enjoy the privilege of education associated with being born to wealth tend toward the skeptical, while those on the bottom rung are suspicious of the tools of science. The fearless vampire slayers are overwhelmed with the latest in 19th century cutting edge technology, including a phonograph machine and typewriter. And yet, Dr. Van Helsing marvels that Seward, despite all the technology at his disposal, still manages to lack even the most basic of an imagination: "Do you mean to tell me, friend John, that you have no suspicion as to what poor Lucy died of; not after all the hints given, not only by events, but by me"(203). Is Van Helsing, then, really that much different from the woman at Dracula's castle who nervous slips a crucifix into the hand of Harker at the inn Van Helsing is clearly not just an uneducated man given to sheer superstitious beliefs, but does he not use wafers and his own crucifixes in his battles with the vampires
Count Dracula enters the story as a symbol of the combination of both old word superstitions and modern economic metaphor. If it is true that capitalism can reproduce itself only as long as it has a supply of workers and consumers, then it is also true that killing off workers will put a quick end to the success enjoyed by the ownership class. The workers must therefore be kept alive through the transfusion of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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