Throughout the Victorian era, a woman’s sole purpose was to marry, produce children, keep the house clean and have dinner on the table by the time their husband returned from work. They were restricted to working tedious jobs at minimum wage until they were married and were not allowed to receive a real education. Once married, a woman was expected to become a fulltime mother and house wife tending to the needs in the home on command. All these lovely skills were that of the traditional Victorian women. They were pressured to express their femininity through their dainty attire, gentle mothering, social order and expressing the manners and obedience that was expected of them. All in all it was required that they be as little of an individual as possible. With the rising of the ‘New Woman’, not only did it challenge the traditional traits of the suppressed Victorian female, but it gave power to women in a male dominant society to become what ever she wanted. Throughout Bram Stokers classic novel ‘Dracula’, we can see the prime and accepted theme of the traditional Victorian women as it battles with the new and rising theme of the ‘New Woman.’ Mina Harker (Murray), Lucy Westendra and the death of Count Dracula all aid the theme of the ‘New Women’ in their own way yet are all brought to their conclusive demise.
In the beginning of the novel Mina Harker, the wife of Jonathan Harker, is an aspiring ‘New Woman’ in the Victorian Era. She states in a letter to Lucy that she is an assistant schoolmistress and that she has been practicing her short hand and typewriting skills. Along with the ideology of the ‘New Woman’ she strives to follow in the footsteps of “Lady Journalists” by writing in a journal daily about what ever she sees fit and remembering conversations and writing them down. These actions were a far stretch from that of the traditional woman and were acts of individuality and self-empowerment. Although Mina was breaking the mould and doing what she saw best for herself, rather than for her husband, she was still not fully open to her own sexuality which created a setback in her ability to be a ‘New Woman’.
“Lucy is asleep and breathing softly. She has more color in her cheeks than usual, and looks, oh, so sweet. If Mr. Holmwood fell in love with her seeing her only in the drawing room, I wonder what he would say if he saw her now. Some of the “New Women” writers will someday start an idea that men and woman should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But I suppose the fully New Women won’t condescend in future to accept; she will do the proposing herself.” (Stoker 125)
Throughout this passage, it shows Mina’s acceptance of the “New Woman”, but that she hasn’t fully indulged herself in the entire aspect of it. Mina shows that she is on the same intellectual level with the males, but not on the same level sexually. While the three female vampires in Count Dracula’s castle confront Jonathan, he states in his...