"His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years." (p. 23)
This description of Dracula is quite far from the Romantic portrayal of the monster, as has been seen in modern adaptations of the book. With the words "massive" and "bushy" to illustrate Dracula's hair and a "cruel-looking mouth", Stoker paints a rather unflattering picture of the vampire. Additionally, he states that the white teeth "protruded over the lips", giving the ageless man an extraordinarily odd- not to mention evil- appearance. This imagery also reverts to a more animalistic and barbaric description of a man and in essence masculinity as a whole. This in depth account of Count Dracula's physical features is seemingly the exact opposite of men who were characteristically more effeminate like those belonging to the Decadent Movement in the Victorian era in which this novel was written.
"There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips." (p. 42)
This illustrates the dichotomy of feelings inside Jonathan Harker at the first sight of the female vampires. Stoker sets him up as a Victorian man with traditional values like monogamy, but Harker cannot completely repress his sexual desire for these sexually aggressive women. He says he has a "longing" that is simultaneous with his "deadly fear" of these women, who evoke such a response because they bring up his repressed desires to be openly sexual. This illustrates that sexual repression was not simply a problem for women at this time; it was also a source of anxiety for men.
"He laughed till he cried, and I had to draw down the blinds lest anyone should see us and misjudge; and then he cried till he laughed again; and laughed and cried together, just as a woman does. I tried to be stern with him, as one is to a woman under the circumstances; but it had no effect. Men and women are so different in manifestations of nervous strength or weakness!" (p. 157)
Dr. Seward speaks here of Van Helsing's breakdown at Lucy's death, judging him negatively for having emotions that resemble a woman's. He implies that men and women are different in the way that they are expected to respond to emotionally difficult situations. Van Helsing's apparent mental breakdown is compared to a woman's expected response to a trauma, insinuating that women can only respond to stressful situations with an excessive amount of emotion and for a man to do the same is seen as culturally taboo.
"--good women, whose lives and whose truths may make good lesson for the children that are to be." (p. 166)
Van Helsing seems to insinuate that women are meant to provide the morals for their children, and even that a woman's role is in child-raising. This goes hand in hand with the Victorian view that women are expected to be the caregivers as well as moral compass for the children. Their role in society is completely encompassed in making "good lessons" for their children. The book's lack of the mention of the expectations of what it means to be a "good father" implies that the men were not restricted to merely define themselves as fathers as the women were bound to their maternal expectations.
"With a careless motion, she flung to the ground, callous as a devil, the child that up to now she had clutched strenously to her breast, growling over it as a dog growls over a bone." (p. 188)
Stoker shows the vampire woman as the opposite of the good mother. This expands on the aforementioned idea that Victorian women were expected to be the vision of maternal love and care. The idea that Lucy, as a vampire, was "careless" and "callous as a devil" as well as the fact that she was physically abusive to the child shows that the female vampire was the furthest thing from maternal. Additionally, the inclusion of "growling over it as a dog growls over a bone" alludes to the idea that the female vampire was much more carnal in nature and desire not only for food but in terms of sexuality as well.
"She has a man's brain -- a brain that a man should have were he much gifted -- and woman's heart." (p. 207)
Van Helsing is using the Victorian idea that men and women have physically different brains to say that Mina has the best of both worlds, because she possesses a brain that is partly male. This quote expounds on the fact that Mina was seen by all of the male characters in the novel as the epitomy of what a woman could be. She was inherently smart but at the same time she catered to Jonathan's needs before her own, the latter of which was synonymous of an ideal Victorian woman.
"But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men's eyes, because they know -or think they know- some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain it all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nohting to explain." (p. 171)
In this exchange Van Helsing is attempting to make John Seward open up to the idea of the existence of vampires, despite its apparent ludicrousness. This highlights Stoker's overshadowing theme that reason and science have actually served to inhibit man during this time, telling them that if one cannot explain something then it simply does not exist. This seems to come from a fear that reason could be used to blot out religion - if one cannot prove that God exists, who is to say that He does? Here, Van Helsing tries to explain that reason must sometimes give way to pure faith; that is, one must be able to broaden one's mind enough to believe that anything is possible.
"Whether it is the old lady's fear, or the many ghostly traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know, but I am not feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual." (p. 13)
Jonathan is writing this piece in his journal while he is waiting for his coach to take him to Count Dracula's castle. Through recent interactions with the villagers who are aware of Dracula and the mystery surrounding him Jonathan is becoming more aware that there is more to The Count than he had previously thought. This is also an example of Stoker's habitual usage of foreshadowing throughout Dracula. In the chapters leading up to Jonathan's first interaction with Dracula the reader becomes aware that there is more to this man than meets the eye.
Additionally, the quotation serves as a good example of the gothic tone that overlays the novel. With the mention of "ghostly traditions", Stoker brings up the idea of the occult and dark mysticisms, and the idea of the crucifix as an element of protection causes the reader to see religion as a force against evil. Finally, the quote leaves Jonathan in a distincly fearful state of mind, an ominous ending that sends a chill up the reader's spine.
"Once there appeared a strange optical effect: when he stood between me and the flame he did not obstruct it, for I could see its ghostly figure all the same. This startled me, but as the effect was only momentary, I took it that my eyes deceived me straining through the darkness. Then for a time there were no blue flames, and we sped onwards through the gloom, with the howling of the wolves around us, as though they were following in a moving circle." (p. 19)
This again highlights the Gothic tone that pervades throughout the novel. The usage of words such as "ghostly", "gloom" and just the overall tone of this passage seem to elude to a sense of darkness. The quote ends again in an ominous way, leaving Jonathan and the Count surrounded by a pack of wild beasts in the middle of a haunted forest, with the supernatural effect being that the wolves seem to be able to be everywhere at once. The idea of the supernatural is moreover shown by the apparent translucence of the Count, as Jonathan points out at the beginning, "when he [the Count] stood between me and the flame he did not obstruct it", implying that Dracula had become some entity that was non-human.