Social Expectation Reveals Anxieties Surrounding Sexuality English Literature Essay

In general, critics comment on subjugation of the female within the Victorian period and overlook the same subjection faced by work forces. Female disempowerment is normally recognised whereas male agony in the context of the same societal rigidness is frequently omitted in unfavorable judgment of the clip. Critic George Landow remarks that ‘feminist analysis of the Gothic focuses on the concern of the stereotyping of the female characters harmonizing to male phantasy ‘ , nevertheless Stoker ‘s Dracula indulges the male imaginativeness by overthrowing stereotyped female characters and leting adult females power through sexual release. Stoker challenges Landow ‘s remarks that it is merely the feminine that suffers under marginalization of the stereotype by showing masculine subjection as a effect of societal restraint. Critic Cyndy Hendershot ‘s work on male subjugation in Victorian society further challenges political orientation of the clip. She argues that, by and large, the impression of Victorian maleness is equivocal as stereotyped and assumptive representations of male characters are seldom questioned. Stefan Collini is a critic who acknowledges the ambiguity environing representations of Victorian maleness. He remarks that there appears to be a general consensus of gender ideals whereby the recognized individual, stiff thought of Victorian maleness remained undisputed. Collini suggests that the construct of Victorian maleness as heterosexual rises from an undisputed premise of this as the norm. As a consequence, it seems that the novels work to dispute recognized functions of gender and gender within the Victorian period.

Within Victorian society, one of the cardinal concerns was the saving of repute. Alongside this concern lay an anxiousness over gender and how to show and, in bend, suppress, sexual desires. In many ways, the oppressive nature of society, and accordingly the inability for work forces, every bit good as adult females, to be sexually expressive, merely heightened the captivation of a more baleful side of gender. In Jekyll and Hyde, there is a major accent on the value systems within Victorian society, particularly with respects to their concern to continue repute. This is made apparent through the characters of both Utterson and Enfield, both respectable members of the society who consider chitchat as detrimental to a individual ‘s repute. Dr Jekyll ‘s major concern is the manner in which others perceive him and he is witting to keep an solid repute throughout the novel. On the other manus, the character of Hyde is presented as entirely monstrous and as a agency through which Jekyll can go uninhibited, unleashing the emotions society compels him to incorporate. The characters are dying to stay within the boundaries of societal outlook, yet this overbearing force of restraint is frequently damaging as it is clear in both novels that what is invariably suppressed is finally released.

It is interesting to see the function of the male characters within the novels as it is apparent that the masculine is non, as it would foremost look, prioritised. Furthermore, the skip of the female, which would by and large propose deficiency of authorization on the portion of the feminine, suggests here that the male characters are debatable to themselves, exposing the failing of the male in a purportedly patriarchal society. In Jekyll and Hyde, the manner in which the male characters are so obviously dying about adult females and gender, despite the fact there are no prevailing female characters, suggests that the masculine domain is continually threatened by female influence. In many ways, the remotion of the feminine exposes the defects of the masculine, and shows that it is non the female who causes the male to endure but the male entirely. The menace of female sexual look despite the deficiency of females within the novel demonstrates the psychological convulsion the work forces face under the restraints of the Victorian society. Dracula uses female gender as a menace to work forces, once more showing the power that adult females hold over the work forces and accordingly underscoring the failing of the male.

One of the cardinal subjects within Stoker ‘s novel is the fright environing sexual look. Female sexual look is seen as a menace which provokes a signifier of pleasance in the male imaginativeness. The characters are liberated from the force per unit areas of societal restraint by agencies of the imaginativeness, through which they can give a free rein to their sexual desires. Female gender is cardinal to the novel ‘s geographic expedition of the function of the male within Victorian society as the fresh displacements power from one gender to another, as the females exercise their hot stuff and the work forces act to keep societal order. Critic Heath remarks that feminism ‘makes things insecure for work forces, unsettles assumed places and undoes given individualities ‘ . Stoker ‘s Dracula confirms this theory in its geographic expedition of sexually powerful adult females who threaten patriarchal authorization. On the other manus, the manner in which the female characters transform into lamia harpies is non flatly a feminist word picture as the females merely transform into incarnations of Dracula, intending that they shift and take on a masculine signifier in order to derive power. The three females who become sexualised are clearly representations of gender corruption as they seek to rule Harker and utilize him to carry through their ain sexual impulses. Yet, in many respects, these females must follow the function of the male in order to get any signifier of power. Their crisp dentitions, which they are determined to seize with teeth Harker with, are doubtless phallic symbols which epitomise the incursion of the victim. Ultimately, the manner females attain power in the novel is through maleness, hence gender ideals are non subverted in this sense. Although female characters in the novel are permitted a grade of power and sexual release, maleness remains as the more powerful place.

Stoker uses Freudian theory in his novel in order to analyze gender in the Victorian period without looking overtly critical of the society in which he lived. The lamia component of the fresh distances the reader from the society being described and yet there are noticeable analogues which suggest Stoker ‘s deliberate effort to dispute recognized political orientation.

Dracula begins in a description of Jonathan Harker ‘s description of how he arrives at the palace. Harker uses the word ‘uncanny ‘ in this description which instantly makes mention to Freud ‘s theory, published in 1919, on ‘the eldritch ‘ . This theory is referenced throughout the novel, as the lamia who brings about decease with his oral cavity, is representative of the first phase of psychosexual development, harmonizing to Freud. It is at this phase where, Freud believes, the individual develops the irresistible impulse to destruct that which is populating.

The characters of Lucy and Mina are presented as being entirely devoted to the work forces in their lives. This artlessness depicts these adult females as both docile and planar. Dracula threatens to alter these adult females into ‘devils of the Pit ‘ and give them power through sexualisation, and it is merely through these transmutations that the female characters may get a voice within the text. When Lucy Westerna is transformed into a sexual being by Count Dracula, she changes from a weak and inactive female character into a lamia harpy who seeks to fulfill her ain sexual desires. She is at first submissive at the custodies of the male characters but, one time she becomes sexualised, she hunts for to utilize work forces for her ain advantage and carry through her sexually.

Stoker ‘s Dracula investigates the possibility of a sort of ‘fluidity ‘ within gender functions. When Lucy transforms into a ‘voluptuous ‘ lamia, any possible male suer is warned off at the demand of any signifier of expostulation to established sexual individuality. The work forces are perturbed at the chance of a adult female assuming power and subverting recognized functions. Lucy ‘s transmutation is seen as so insubordinate of societal outlook that Van Helsing ‘s work forces are determined to destruct her in an effort to reinstate societal order. The work forces are fearful that Mina will besides be transformed and give themselves to commanding female sexual behavior in order that the adult females do non go disparaged socially and hence incapable of any relationship with them. The work forces ‘s frights over the adult females ‘s transmutations are wholly selfish as they feel insecure with any onslaught on societal order. Dracula mocks them stating ‘your misss that you love are mine already ; and through them you and others shall yet be mine ‘ . He suggests here that his transmutation of adult females into sexualised lamia harpies, where their sexual desires are uncontained and liberated, leaves work forces exposed and will finally destruct patriarchate within society.

Stoker depicts Victorian horror at the idea of a sexually liberated adult female through his description of Harker ‘s ain fright at facing the lamias. His confusion environing the buss of the lamia, where he feels both desire, in his ‘longing ‘ for the buss, and ‘deadly fear ‘ at the same clip, is representative of the manner that Victorian society constrained ‘the mobility of sexual desire ‘ for work forces, every bit good as for adult females. His confusion as to whether he was woolgathering in his visions of pleasance as the adult females approached him propose that he will non let himself to see any sexual desire as existent and he will non face his feelings. He decides that if the lamias are more than merely visions so they will imbibe his blood, doing themselves stronger and, in bend, weakening him. However, he is still fearful of these lamias if they are merely visions as they still threaten to run out him of seeds, as they are supplying him with sexual pleasance, as he lies in ‘languorous rapture ‘ . Harker ‘s failing as a male is revealed when he is described as being both sickened and excited by the idea of any sexual contact with the female lamias. This demonstrates the oppressive nature of Victorian society in that Harker was forced to repress his desires as he did non hold the power to move upon them. The manner in which Stoker depicts Harker ‘s fright in losing valuable fluid, whether blood or seeds, in either state of affairs, presents an image of the fall ining patriarchal construction of Victorian society. Stoker may be warning work forces of this societal alteration, but it seems more likely that he is promoting societal political orientation to be reconsidered.

The map of the lamia in the novel can be considered as a representation of sexual subjugation. The male characters in Dracula all battle to incorporate female gender as they panic for their ain well-being. In Christopher Craft ‘s essay on gender and inversion in the novel, he argues that Dracula uses gender stereotypes in order to promote geographic expedition into gender and in order that societal outlook can be re-imagined. He remarks that the novel ‘s word picture of transmutation, whether from victim to vampire or from lamia to victim, permits an probe into gender and gender.

Frequently, the manner in which the novel challenges oppressive Victorian society is overlooked in favor of its evident denouncement of gender inversion. Dracula seems to connote a weakness on the portion of adult females who seek to overthrow conventional societal functions, and yet in many ways the females are non permitted any signifier of power as they adopt masculine qualities when they are transformed into lamias. It can be said that gender functions are non definitively reversed in the novel, as the females must go male as they become lamias. In going male, the female lamias lose any maternal sense as they prey on guiltless kids and they become penetrators in their desire to suck blood from their victims. The novel, hence, has no existent female representation, proposing that Stoker was non puting work forces and adult females up against each other but noticing on society as a whole.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novel which confronts anxiousnesss of the Victorian period. The narrative nowadayss the thought of one organic structure which contains two opposing characters. Dr Jekyll, who is knowing and an unsloped member of society is contained within the individual organic structure alongside the entirely immoral Mr Hyde. Dr Jekyll ‘s implicit in desire to emancipate himself from the oppressive society in which he lives is outplayed through his alter-ego Mr Hyde, who enjoys the freedom of moving upon his desires and human impulses. This representation seems to emulate Victorian society ‘s deep rooted captivation with emancipation from societal imprisonment.

Many critics suggest that maleness is frequently presented as an adaptable and indefinite sphere within the novel, a factor which has permitted a grade of reimagining the construct of the male in literature. Critic Cohen argues that from every bit early as the 1880s, ‘fictional word pictures of English maleness frequently narrativise the difficulities of male incarnation as a splitting within the male capable exactly in order to asseverate new manners of self-representation ‘ . He suggests here that the male figure was less often written as a stable representation and was more normally represented as a character with more than one character.

The image of Victorian London presented by Stephenson is a society about wholly missing in females. The lone adult female who is present in the narration is the amah who witnesses the slaying of Sir Danvers Carew. Her position immediately suggests that the adult female is lower category and she is presented as an about undistinguished member of society. She describes the organic structure of Sir Danvers Carew as ‘beautiful ‘ . This is the lone case novel in the novel where there is any signifier of interaction between the genders and, even this interaction is presented as non sexual. The effects of such a inhibitory society are clearly damaging to the people who inhabit it, as Dr Jekyll proves through Hyde, and this subjugation is demonstrated through the deficiency of unfastened sexual desire within the novel. Furthermore, the absence of adult females within the fresh suggests that the male individuality crisis was a societal creative activity instead than due to female influence. The work forces in the novel are at hazards with their sexual individuality and topographic point in society because of the baronial nature of society itself.

Whilst Stephenson presents the thought that Victorian society regarded shows of gender as indecent, Hyde ‘s actions within the novel are doubtless of a sexual nature. When Hyde is foremost introduced to the novel, there is a description of him treading a immature miss underfoot, and, afterwards he pays for her household to maintain quiet about the incident. This incident could insinuate that Hyde was involved in the common Victorian offense of child harlotry. Furthermore, the deficiency of sexual desire towards females on the portion of the male characters may connote that these work forces were hiding homosexual inclinations. The close relationship shared between Utterson and Enfield may besides connote that these two work forces take portion in some sort of sexual behavior that would hold been condemned at the clip.

Freudian theory labels the character of Hyde as an illustration of the unconscious head, known as the ‘id ‘ . Jekyll ‘s ability to conform to societal outlook is controlled by his ‘ego ‘ which suppresses his unconscious ideas. Critic Michael Kane believes that Victorian society found the unconscious head as detrimental. He remarks that repressed desires were ‘projected upon those it considered inferior ‘ , non merely adult females but any lower order of society, who ‘became the unconscious of respectable society ‘ . His ideas suggest that gender is non the important factor which causes people to move upon their basic impulses ; it is the thought of degrees of category which impose societal rigidness. By this he means that upper category citizens are more likely to stamp down any ‘improper ‘ desire because of their place within society. This statement is non supported by the novel, nevertheless, as Jekyll is a physician so he is clearly educated and he is a respectable member of society who falls victim to the societal subjugation he faces.

The fresh uses the construct of ‘the two-base hit ‘ in order to analyze the manner in which characters of either gender can be identified by more than one province, researching Stephenson ‘s ain claims that every human being contains some signifier of alter-ego. Dr Jekyll is an solid citizen who conceals an immoral ‘monster ‘ in the signifier of alter-ego Hyde. Throughout the fresh the two are presented as wholly distinguishable existences and it is merely in the novel ‘s decision that the reader can to the full understand the two characters as one character. The usage of the dual personality of Jekyll and Hyde is a utile construct when sing male gender individuality, as the double nature of the person is said to ‘destabilise male character itself ‘ . The fresh challenges the thought that ‘the male character represents unimpeachably the corporal properties of a male and a gender political orientation that qualifies maleness as ‘proper ‘ male character ‘ . Despite the fact that the novel does look to face gender stereotypes referenced in the old statement, the thought of maleness is hard to see in the context of societal influence, the thought that society constructs the manner that gender individuality is formed. Stephenson does non reprobate work forces as persons but remarks on the manner that the tightness of Victorian society and its outlooks does non account for the dichotomy of human nature.

Both Stoker ‘s Dracula and Stephenson ‘s Jekyll and Hyde portion a similar narrative construction, presenting a freak and so researching this thought before eliminating the monster with the purpose that societal order is reinstated. The monster in Dracula is the Count himself and the freak of the novel is the release of female sexual look through his transmutation of adult females into lamia harpies. Stephenson ‘s novel shows the monster as pent-up desires of Jekyll which are unveiled through the vehicle of Hyde. At the terminal of the novel, Jekyll reveals that he knows Hyde will be no more by the clip Utterson reads his concluding missive. At the terminal of Stoker ‘s novel, Dracula is killed and Little Quincey ‘s birth fulfils Van Helsing ‘s prognostication of ‘the kids that are to be ‘ and restores order among the community. Critic Christopher Craft remarks that the ‘monstrous ‘ menace in the novels is ‘contained and eventually nullified by the narrative demand that the monster be repudiated and the universe of normal dealingss restored ‘ . The Restoration at the terminal of both novels suggests that gender ideals can non be subverted wholly, despite disputing societal outlook to a certain grade. Nevertheless, the decisions of the novels are non positive which suggest that although ideals remain as established this is non needfully the best result and there is an illation that alteration needs to be made.

Gothic novels are normally recognised as texts which exemplify the subjection of adult females yet the subjugation faced by the male characters is frequently disregarded. Both work forces and adult females suffered every bit under the inhibitory Victorian society which directed sexual behavior and regarded unfastened sexual look as depraved. The map of the male character within the novels is non simply to knock the patriarchal society of the nineteenth century but to dispute the manner that societal political orientation was a damaging factor to both work forces and adult females.

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