Gender Roles: The Horror! Essay

2027 words - 9 pages

Gender roles play a significant part in all literature. Throughout history men and women have been represented in a variety of different ways. In some tales men and women are equals, while in others men are seen as superior to females. Their roles in the stories have to do with the cultural aspect of the society the story was written during, and when the story is supposed to take place. Examples of the importance of gender roles can be seen in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Jeremias Gotthelf’s The Black Spider. The role of the sexes is a main theme throughout the both plots. These works were written in two completely different time periods, as such the role of women, meaning what was expected of ...view middle of the document...

She is also seen somewhat masculine as well, when it comes to her brain and thought processes. She is able to reason and think for herself, unlike most women of the time. Whereas Lucy is described as beautiful, and she has all of these men who want to marry her. She even says, "Why can't they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble?" (Stoker chapter 5) This quote is both showing how desirable Lucy is, and showing how this desire could lead to problems. As the story continues it seems that Lucy’s beauty is one of the reasons that she is chosen by Dracula, it seems that as many of the other men in the story he could not resist. This is a commonality throughout history, as women are represented again and again as sirens and seductresses. As if it is somehow their fault for being so full of temptation. This also results in taking some of the blame away from men when they fall into their ‘traps’, like how all these men are in danger because they all desire Lucy. After Lucy is turned into a vampire her purity is gone and she turns into this siren, beautiful but deadly. She also loses the gentleness and seems to become emotionless, and the men are starting to see that she is no longer the woman that they fell in love with. In the story it says of Lucy, “With a careless motion, she flung to the ground, callous as a devil, the child that up to now she had clutched strenuously to her breast, growling over it as a dog growls over a bone.” (Stoker chapter 16) From this Stoker took one main aspects of being feminine and one of their only roles, the maternal instinct, and transforms her into a hideous beast. Looking at the time period and social standards and norms is extremely important when analyzing any story. Looking at Dracula, which was written at the beginning of the women suffrage movement, it is clear that this piece was written during a time of great change. From this movement women were fighting to have more power over their own lives. They fought for education and to be able to live lives before they were to marry. Lucy could be seen as two different sides of the coin she is beautiful and naïve, but she is also dangerous to men because they cannot resist her. At the same time Mina’s survival could stem from the fact that she was modernizing herself. Mina was a schoolteacher, meaning that she was both smart and independent, though her goal for being educated was to be of use to her husband. It is important to mention that Jonathan Harker, Mina’s husband, is not the most masculine character in this story. When he first meets Dracula he cannot hold in his reactions, “As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder. It may have been that his breath was rank, but a horrible feeling of nausea came over me, which, do what I would, I could not conceal.”(Stoker Chapter 2) Men are supposed to always be control of their emotions and reactions. Looking at this aspect another reason...

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