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“Literature is like a flashlight, illuminating the dark recesses of the human mind.” The novel becomes the instrument in which the author uses to portray the ideas that they have about the existing world. The words can blatantly express the author’s position on the idea or the opinions can be imbedded in the text and represented through metaphors and imagery. The exercise of subliminally promoting one’s standpoint, although still widely used today, is something that was used in the earlier years of literature as there were more restrictions that inhibited people from expressing themselves freely. The majority of classical novels have an undertone that promotes the author’s ideals and morals, even if they may conflict with those of the general public which may result in the author being ostracized from society. This is the very technique that Bram Stoker used in his novel Dracula, to express his frustrations with his life and the ideas that conflicted with society. The novel is a portrayal and criticism of societal norms, as well as a reflection of Stoker’s own life that was woven within the fantasy genre and expressed through vampirism. The use of vampirism represented the use and addiction of drugs, the idea of sexual freedom, the criticism of humans and the complexity of the human mind that is reflected in the nature of the vampires.
The human brain is an organ that is constantly under study as there is no definite answer as of right now of the full potential of the mind and an explanation to the events that the brain has orchestrated. The human brain can confuse even the most intelligent and well-informed person so for someone who is untrained in the way of the human brain it may be confusing to understand and explain why in action is taken when it is illogical to the outside person observing incident. Although the thought of the brain willing someone to do something that they are unsure of may seem far-fetched, there are many cases in the criminal court where a murder is dismissed because the person who committed it pleaded insanity. The accused can deny the claims of the basis that they were not in control of themselves as something in their brain made them have the inexplicable urge to commit murder led them to do something that was irrational and would go against their natural state of being. This same process of psychological turmoil is seen in two characters in the novel. The two characters are seen as people who are of sane mind and are capable of forming intelligent thoughts, but throughout the course of the novel there are inconsistencies in their characters as they are faced with the vampires. Jonathan Harker is the character that the audience is first introduced to as he is travelling, he then becomes trapped in Dracula’s castle and goes frantic trying to escape the place in which he was being held against his will.
“The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner.” (Stoker, 27), the castle for Jonathan is impossible to escape and although he was originally portrayed as someone wold not come about irresponsible conclusions, as he slowly slips into a spiral of madness from having his freedom robbed from him he begins to entertain ideas that he would not normally think of to escape. He comes to the conclusion that scaling the wall in the same way that he had see Dracula do so was his best option, which he surprisingly succeeds and lands himself in Dracula’s room. This kind of action is something that goes against the character that the novel introduced him as, for he was a upright “English Churchman” and had a journal that was written in a shorthanded code that may be hard to decipher in modern time, this sane and secure man was able to fall. The other character that shows inconsistencies in their character is Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, he is a man that believes in the fantastical aspect of the world that most people dismiss and an old folk tale. This interest and belief in the supernatural is out of place as Helsing is said to be a man of science and medicine who is of sane mind, this interest and his character are in conflict. He is someone who should not believe in the fantastical as he is a man of science, as science goes to prove that all things in the existing world is governed by the laws of science so there should be no belief in the supernatural as it is something that is not governed by the laws of science. The other characters in the novel said that the appearance of vampires is something that is outside the realm of science and yet, Helsing believed that science was the only way to deal with the creatures. This type of thinking is something that stays true to his character but also is in conflict with is as he has to acknowledge the existence of the supernatural to deal with it scientifically. This turmoil caused Helsing to have fits of hysteria where he started sprouting mad theories, which he tried to deny but was constantly plagued by as Dr. Seward said, “He has denied me since that it was hysterics, and believed that is was only his sense of humour asserting itself under very terrible conditions.” (Stoker, 174)
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