Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula, and Mrs. Dalloway
“During the course of the semester, we have been assigned to read the following text: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula, and Mrs. Dalloway. More specifically two stories which I believe to reflect their time periods the best would be Dracula and Mrs. Dalloway. I chose these two stories because I believe they both contain shared cultural anxieties and both authors utilize characters to outbreak these sort of social and cultural boundaries.
Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was written during the nineteenth century. After reading and analyzing the story, the major theme which lies behind this novel has to do with genders. During the Victorian Era, which is when this book was written, women struggled severely when it came to equality amongst genders. In this time, women were subject to obeying the demands which were given by their husbands and were generally classed below the male gender. Throughout the novel, the character Mina is introduced and is viewed by others for her motherly instincts and her ability to care for her husband Jonathan Harker as well as Lucy. Where the character Van Helsing had described Mina as, “”one of God’s women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter…”” (Stoker). In some ways, the story of Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf can be seen as very similar to that of Dracula. Throughout the story of Clarissa Dalloway’s afternoon, we begin to notice the direct reflection of the time period which it was set in. During the early 20th century, women were making a huge effort in closing the gender gap amongst men. Where a huge step for women in the early 20s was when they were given the right to vote in state and government elections. A character which breaks away from these societal standards placed on women during both time periods would be Sally Seton. I bring this character forth because she took upon herself to do the unspoken, she had committed an act of homosexuality towards Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway. An act of such which is forbidden during this time.
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Throughout each story, from today’s point of view, we begin to notice that there is a clear indication of when these novels were written. Whether it be the superiority of men over women or the rise of the female gender, each text shares similar cultural anxiety. Both of these stories reflect a time where men in all forms were believed to be superior over the female. There were social anxieties amongst both men and women because males had feared that if women were to take control they would obtain all of the jobs leading the male to no longer be superior. On the other hand, females showcased similar social anxiety due to the fact that for many decades beforehand women were supposed to behave a certain way under their husband’s transgressions. Leaving them no room to be able to become their own selves.
In conclusion, even though both of these novels were written many decades after each other they both showcase their own time periods in a different way by the characters they utilize. Both of which showcase how both men and women have progressed as genders.”