Two Women, New Woman College

Bram Stoker uses the characters of Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker in his novel Dracula to explore the essential attributes of a “New Woman” in Victorian England. Written during the late nineteenth century, this novel emerged out of a time where the long held traditions of men being perceived as superior and acting with authority over their submissive female counterparts was changing. Forces such as the suffragette movement drove these changes, and from this arose the concept of the “New Woman” which was based upon two major shifts in female values: an increase in intellectual pursuit and more sexual autonomy. The fates of Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra after their encounters with Dracula differ due to the different characteristics of the “New Woman” they embrace.

Mina Harker is the representation of an “ideal” woman in this novel. Firstly, she is instinctively maternal and nurturing, as evidenced by the scene in which she comforts Quincey Morris and writes, “We women have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the mother-spirit is invoked; I felt this big, sorrowing man’s head resting on me, as though it were that of the baby that someday may lie on my bosom, and I stroked his hair as though...

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