Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Description of the New Woman in the Nineteenth Century

     In the article "'Dracula' : Stoker's Response to the New Woman", Carol A. Senf explains stocker's description of the new woman throughout Dracula in two sides: first, the three women vampire who were stocked in the castle with Johnattan Harker and Lucy Westenra as aggressive's character. Secondly, he introduces Mina Harker as the heroine of Dracula that he tries to descibe as the new woman who can combine the best of the traditional and the new era. As Senf continues on the studying of the novel, she elaborates the mission of the new women in nineteenth- century fiction.
     According to Senf, Stoker explains his fear for women when he presents at the begining of the novel, the sexual aggressivity of  the three vampire women to Johnathan in the castle. Senf writes, "Stoker may have chosen to address this aspect of the New Woman. At the rate he tends to connect sensuality in women with cruelty to children. He presents the three women in Dracula's castle are decidedly nonmaternal. Instead of feeding children, they chose to prey on them. She writes, "... she pointed to the bag which he (Dracula) had thrown upon the floor, and which moved as though there were some living within it...There was a gasp and a low wail, as of a half-smothered child. The women closed round, whilst I was aghast with horror; but as I looked they disappeared, and with them the dreadful bag" (Dracula 42). Johnattan does not attack by the three women, but their aggression, treatment of the child,  and sexual behavior make him believe that they are not women at all. As he mentions, "I am alone in the castle with those awful women. Faugh! Mina is a woman, and there is nought in common. They are devils of the Pit" (Dracula 55).
    Senf presents Lucy's character in different sides. On one side, She mentions from the second letter, the reader's opinion confirms that she is the kind of woman so romantically envisioned by Johnathan Harker. At this time, Lucy lets Mina know about the three proposals of marriage, and she claims that she chose Arthur as best. Senf writes, "we women are such cowards that we think a man will save us from fears, and we marry him" (Dracula 61). On another side, Senf reveals the weakness of Lucy's character when she asks to Mina, "why can't they let girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble?" and she makes a contrast to herself "heresy, and I must not say it" (Dracula 62). She tries to show unsatisfaction of Lucy with her social role and her desire to marry three men may be a hidden character who illustates the aggression and sensuality of the woman. Senf also states that, "Lucy is a perpetual child, pampered by everyone around her. Her letters reveal a concern with social events and the rather thoughtless pursuit of her own pleasure. Mina, on the other hand, has had to take care of herself" (45).
    Senf portrays Mina Harker as a woman who combines the independence and intelligence often associated with the New Woman with traditional femininity. She explains that Stoker confirms Mina as a modern woman, a character who struggles during the ninetheenth century. As many traditional women in that period, Mina resembles the New Woman before her marriage with Johnattan Harker. Mina believes that motherhood is an important social responsibility. According to Senf, she ressembles to mother-figure and becomes totally different than other women in the novel. Senf explains, Mina as other women in the novel owns certain characteristics to come after Dracula until the end. As a result,  the New Woman ends up by killing Dracula.

   These two pictures symbolize "the Five Women" in the Dracula known as Lucy Westenra, Mina Harker and  the three vampire women in the castle    

1 comment:

  1. So you've done a great job of summarizing the article here, Ymer, but the assignment was to present research. All you needed to do was use your research to explain what the "New Woman" was :-)