The Fantastic in Dracula
The fantastic [...] lasts only as long as a certain hesitation: a hesitation common to reader and character, who must decide whether or not what they perceive derives from "reality" as it exists in the common opinion. At the story's end, the reader makes a decision even if the character does not; he opts for one solution or the other, and thereby emerges from the fantastic. If he decides that the laws of reality remain intact and permit an explanation of the phenomena described, we say that the work belongs to another genre: the uncanny. If, on the contrary, he decides that new laws of nature must be entertained to account for the phenomena, we enter the genre of the marvelous.
- Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic, p. 42
Bram Stoker's Dracula belongs to all three genres mentioned by Todorov. The first few chapters exemplify the fantastic; but as the narrative progresses the characters try to realize the uncanny truth about the events overtaking them, events which ultimately give way to the marvelous. Chapter I is a fine example of the fantastic - the narrator is at a loss to make sense of his surroundings. He uses his Victorian wisdom to rationalize the events, but ultimately hesitation and bafflement obscure his...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 872 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6685 literature essays, 1801 sample college application essays, 276 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in