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New Woman: A Failed Mother Essay

1466 words - 6 pages

Dracula functions as a way to invert sexual identity of the novel through the use of vivid imagery. Through this Bram Stoker not only breaks the walls of gender barriers, but also perverts the image of an archetype mother to create a fear from the New Woman. He exposes failed motherhood through; three female vampires who sexually consume their child, Lucy who feeds off her children, and Count Dracula who taints the image of a mother perpetually to signify the dangers that a “New Woman” can bring to the society.
Through three female vampires, Stoker draws out on the dangers of “New Women” by portraying them as perverted image of a mother. Instead of showing these women as traditional mother who are protective and nourishing to their children, he reveals them to be consuming their children sexually.
I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips.
In this passage, Stokers straightaway identifies the third female vampire as a New Woman because Jonathan is able to recognize her face, but yet “[can] not recollect at the moment how or where.” This is a recollection of an archetypical mother, but it is blurring because the traditional image of mother is lost with modernity. For instance a child feels safe with their mother, but yet Jonathan feels like he is in a “dreamy fear” or “deadly fear.” Through this it is significant that Jonathan is referring to that third female vampire as someone whom he desires or wants but yet is afraid to do so because it might break the social norms of a Victorian Society. This is explained by Sigmund Feud in his theory of Oedipus complex where a boy feels sexually attracted to his mother. In this passage, it is evident through the uses of vivid imagery and sexual language. The sexual diction such as “white teeth” and “voluptuous lips” portray a provocative image of a mother who is consuming Jonathan. Through the use of simile, Stoker parallels the two images of a mother. Firstly he symbolizes pearls, which are white, and ruby, has red color, to demonstrate the love and innocence a mother is suppose to have for their children, He juxtaposes this with the image of white teeth and voluptuous lips to demonstrate the quality of a New Woman who will sexually consume their children not with love, but rather through lusting desire. Furthermore traditionally lips and teeth use to symbolize vagina and teeth to represent penis that can penetrate someone. This helps to sexualize and pervert the image of a mother to a vicious predator who should be hunted because they make their children desire them in a sexual way, which is against the norm of a...

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