Homosocial Friendships In Bram Stoker’s Dracula

1318 words - 5 pages

Bram Stoker was born into a lower-class Irish family in late 1847. He grew up with six siblings, at least four of which were brothers. Throughout his childhood, Stoker was an invalid, sickened with an unknown disease. Many days were spent listening to his mother tell stories of Ireland. It is thought that her stories played a large role in his writing (Stoker 5). Perhaps due to Stoker’s childhood illness and relationship with his brothers, his writing in Dracula exhibited a great deal of homosociality, the idea of same-sex relationships on a social level, rather than romantically. In the novel, Stoker introduces the idea of homosociality by creating a friendship and camaraderie between the main male characters.
Dracula begins with a diary entry from Jonathan Harker, a real estate agent from England. Mr. Harker is traveling to Transylvania, where he is to confirm a business deal between Count Dracula and his mentor Peter Hawkins. En route to Transylvania, Jonathan comes across many people who caution him about his trip and his host. They cower at the thought of him going into the land, and give him gifts of garlic and a crucifix. At the time, Mr. Harker is unaware of the severity of his troubles. Although these people are friendly and reach out to help Jonathan, it is not considered homosociality, since they do not form the tight, same-sex friendship that is required of the term. For Jonathan, these early helpers are simply companions on a train.
Once Jonathan arrives at the castle, he is met by the mysterious Count Dracula, a man described as strong and pale, with bright ruby lips and sharp white teeth. Although Jonathan is unaware of what Dracula truly is, he can already sense that something is amiss, and he gets worried. Dracula shows him a letter from his mentor Mr. Hawkins, where he tells Dracula that Mr. Harker “shall take your instructions in all matters” (Stoker 42). While seemingly harmless at this point in the novel, we later find that this sets Jonathan up to be a prisoner in Count Dracula’s castle. Through Jonathan’s worry, we see Dracula begin to socialize with him. The Count comes into the suite each day, and the two men talk all night. This would seem to form a friendship between them, except for the fact that Jonathan has discovered his status as a prisoner, and lives each day in fear of Dracula. No true homosocial friendship can be had when one member of the pair is afraid of the other.
Lucy Westenra, the young woman with three suitors, sends a letter to Mina explaining her predicament, and the choice she makes on which man to become engaged to. Soon after, a letter from Mr. Quincey Morris to her fiancé Arthur Holmwood appears. In this letter, Quincy is asking Arthur to come to a campfire at his home so they can tell stories like they used to. It is also mentioned that their “old pal at the Korea, Jack Seward” was coming (Stoker 83). This friendship is a perfect example of homosociality: three men who are engaged in...

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