Monday, October 29, 2007

Reading Dracula and the Mind Wanders Lonely As a Cloud

I am approximately 80 pages from the conclusion of Dracula. The Men (because there is so much macho bullshit amongst these "men"), led by Van Helsing are now in hot pursuit of the vampire lord as he escapes from London on the ship, Czarina Catherine. Good stuff!

A part of me started thinking about the gender-play in the book as I was reading it. I found the symmetry between the three suitors for Lucy, against the three brides of Dracula - interesting. These men - they try so hard to protect their women, but they make a hack job of it. Lucy's gone bye-bye, and Mina gets sucked on by Dracula. It finally fell on Mina (who started off as an annoyingly submissive wife, who only wanted to be useful to her dear Jonathan, but whose strength grew admirably) - to figure out how to find Dracula.

Then I started thinking about all the vampires films, TV series and books ever produced. Maybe someone can help me out here with my question: Has there ever been a good vampire story where the guy is the slayer/vampire hunter, while the girl is a kick-ass vampire? And the story don't suck? (PUN!)

I just remembered that I have a post-tag for "Vampires". Sheesh.


Doc Martian said...

hmm. two strong women vampire portrayals come to mind. Catherine Deneuve's here.

and Grace Jones here (although her strength is far more campy than deneuve's mastery and control.)

Carl V. Anderson said... are you insinuating that you think Dracula sucks?

"because there is so much macho bullshit amongst these "men""

I always find people's interpretations and reactions to this story interesting. Dracula is one of my favorites if not my number one favorite novel I've ever read, so my perspective is not always objective, but I find the men to be truly honorable and the women to be very strong characters. At least that is the interpretation I read into them. I find it especially interesting during this time period when women were expected to be submissive that Stoker was able to write such strong female characters. Again, that is just me.

darkorpheus said...

Doc Martian Thanks - but I was looking more specifically to that pairing of Male Slayer versus Female Vampires - and how they pair off.

Carl The way I look at it - and this is only my personal point of view of course, there is a lot of posturing involved amongst the men. How they try to "protect" Mina by keeping information from her - when right under their noses Dracula has begun targetting Mina for his bride.

Dracula by his sheer grand presence makes the men in the novel seem somewhat lesser by comparison - okay, they finally killed him in the end - but that's only because we need a happy ending.

Dracula is the uber-predator that came amongst these men and he took Lucy - the desired woman - from these three men. At the end, they cut off his head and cut out his heart. If this isn't a masculine pissing-match, I don't know what is.

At finally, I don't think Dracula suck at all, unless you mean in the blood-drinking sense. I think it's a very atmospheric and powerful gothic novel. It deserves its place in the canon of great reads.

But I don't think it's necessary heroic. I would have preferred it if Dracula won, because he is a much more vivid character to me, than compared to his ultimate hunters.

Just my take.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Its a good take. I'm glad you read it and enjoyed it. I still see it as heroic, but then again I am seeing it from a the perspective of someone who reads his own relationships into it. I see myself in the male characters' desires to protect the women and I certainly don't see this as the restrictive, male-dominated type of thing that society was back then because I see the strenght in both the male and female characters. I don't have a problem with the good guys winning and Dracula meeting his end. It served the story. I don't think it was as much about a 'happy ending' considering the loss the characters suffered through the story as it was the kind of ending Stoker had to give characters that he had built up so much. I see the story being more about the players and less about Dracula when I read it, but maybe that is because I've read it so many times. I guess I see the 'pissing match' idea as one of putting more modern ideas onto an older story. After all, he was the villain and they had to kill him, or at least attempt to, in order to serve the story. Stoker could not have chosen to not go that route, it is the classic good vs. evil story. I just see that as part of the simple framework of this type of story. Anyway, I'm thrilled that you read it since it is a fav.

darkorpheus said...

Carl Between us it's almost like a "He Reads, She Reads" with Dracula.

I am glad I had the chance to finish reading it. Actually, while reading Dracula, I was inspired in a certain direction for the novel I'm supposed to write for NaNoWriMo.