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Dracula

by: Bram Stoker

Mina Murray

Mina Murray is the ultimate Victorian woman. Van Helsing’s praise of Mina testifies to the fact that she is indeed the embodiment of the virtues of the age. She is “one of God’s women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble. . . .” Mina stands as the model of domestic propriety, an assistant schoolmistress who dutifully studies newfangled machines like the typewriter so as to be useful to her husband. Unlike Lucy, she is not most noteworthy for her physical beauty, which spares Mina her friend’s fate of being transformed into a voluptuous she-devil.

Mina’s sexuality remains enigmatic throughout the whole of Dracula. Though she marries, she never gives voice to anything resembling a sexual desire or impulse, which enables her to retain her purity. Indeed, the entire second half of the novel concerns the issue of Mina’s purity. Stoker creates suspense about whether Mina, like Lucy, will be lost. Given that Dracula means to use women to access the men of England, Mina’s loss could have terrifying repercussions.

We might expect that Mina, who sympathizes with the boldly progressive “New Women” of England, would be doomed to suffer Lucy’s fate as punishment for her progressiveness. But Stoker instead fashions Mina into a goddess of conservative male fantasy. Though resourceful and intelligent enough to conduct the research that leads Van Helsing’s crew to the count, Mina is far from a “New Woman” herself. Rather, she is a dutiful wife and mother, and her successes are always in the service of men. Mina’s moral perfection remains as stainless, in the end, as her forehead.