I almost forgot to post my Coursera essay on Dracula but y’all are in luck, because I have remembered:
Fear of the East, of the eastern “barbarians” was a contemporary issue in Victorian England. Dracula can be seen as that “other”. He originates in a wild unknown eastern land , from a place and a people so different from English custom, as Harker points out in his opening traveolgue.
As a colonial power Britain regarded itself as better than its subjugated colonies. Inferior peoples were barbaric and needed to be civilized. Knowing this Dracula attempts to anglicise himself, he learns all about Britain and what it is to be English; he reads the business directories and interrogates Harker about Englishness. He will be an immigrant but will not appear as such , instead he will become an invisible invader able to cause more damage because his differences are hidden. Indeed his ability to pass as English may even enable him to become a foreign master.
Vampires are “other” not just because of their monstrous nature but also because they are foreign, they are the alien outsider threatening the safety of home. Fear of immigration, even today, is often expressed as “those people” coming over here and taking “our women”, as the Count does.
Not only is Dracula an invader, but he is a conqueror, turning the civilised English into barbarians. He corrupts Lucy, changing her from a pure English woman into a horrifying creature who in turns preys upon children. He attempts to corrupt Mina in the same manner.
In the end Dracula is defeated by an alliance of the West. The civilized countries, England, the United States, and continental Europe, come together to defeat the East. Mina’s purity, and her Englishness, is restored to her. The enlightened empire has resisted the savage invader successfully. Jonathan Harker is finally able to truly escape from “this cursed land, where the devil and his children still walk with earthly feet!”.
Additional Works read:
Barter, Margaret L. ‘Xenophobia and Its Subversion in Darker Than You Think’
Davies, Gill. ‘London in Dracula; Dracula in London’.
Vukadinovik, Jelena. ‘Dracula and Victorianism: A Conservative Or Subversive Novel?’