Prior to our discussion on Friday I never really thought about the fact that Lucy can be seen as a sexually dangerous character even before any vampiric influence happens. She can be seen as potentially dangerous because she both attracts men with ease and also indicates that she might be interested in a reverse harem if it were an option. After reading what the men in her life do for her in order to keep her safe I think it's safe to say that she can be considered a dangerous woman. Men who love her will willingly die for her and give up sleep and health for her, and men who barely know her are willing to do almost as much. For example, Helsing, who really is almost a stranger, immediately becomes emotionally involved in her health. As she is now she doesn't notice all that they do for her without her even asking. Under the assumption that she does become a vampire, it will be interesting to see if Lucy becomes more aware of her power over men in the future.
In the virtual class, we talked about how Lucy is a vampire herself even before she is bitten in that she seduces men and thus has a power over them so they give her anything she wants. Once she is bitten, Arthur, Dr. Steward, and Van Helsing all give up their blood for her benefit. The latter two do not let Arthur know of these transfusions as "It would frighten and enjealous him" (119). The fact that the men are putting parts of themselves into Lucy's body and that she is getting a kind of pleasure out of it gives this bloodletting a sexual nature. Dr. Steward even comments on how good it feels to give his life to Lucy because he feels that he is saving her; he seems to take pleasure in the fact that they have a bodily connection.

This jealousy over blood transfusion relationships harkens back to when Dracula yells at the female vampires, "How dare you touch him... This man belongs to me" (43). In this instance, there is jealousy between those taking the blood from the victim, but it seems from Dr. Steward's feelings toward Lucy, that there can be jealousy among both the blood givers and the blood takers, which further enforces the connection between sex and vampirism.

In the thread, we spoke of how the sexuality was represented in the novel. Professor Gonzalez asked whether is Lucy’s sexuality was threatening. Her power as a woman held something above that acted like trigger for this. It was threatening for any form of sexuality to be portrayed in that era because of the social norms that society followed. Tension arises commonly from sexuality typically being an excess. What makes it uncomforting is the unnatural use of the idea. Sexuality is something that is one of the most private aspects towards men and women. How each gender presented them was an example of repressed sexuality. The novel acts as a trigger to break these tightly knit rules of sexuality of the time, unleash something that is more uncommon, and well, alluring.  

Corinne made a point during the class about the power distribution that is shown in the book. She says that in Dracula, “Stoker seems to be attributing physical power to men and mental power to women.” I do agree that the power dynamics are different between the women and men in the book, but I wonder if the “mental power” of Mina is actually that.  More than anything, I think that Mina’s power works more off of superstition than mental power. I feel Mina is weak minded and naïve like a child. When she easily kissed the suitor she had turned down and continued on as if nothing happened, it showed how oblivious to the world she is. 

The women in the story also have very adolescent behaviors that demonstrate their actions. The sisters are at a rebellious age wanting to go beyond their “father’s”, Dracula, rules when he tells them to stay away from Harker. Lucy is at age of sexual awareness where she has become conscious of her body and of how to attract men.  Mina seems to be the least developed in her behaviors, acting in a childish way that tends to make her seem prepubescent.

                    I really liked both Corinne and Leah’s points. Leah’s comment on the captain equating suicide to death was reminiscent of Harker who also contemplated suicide instead of falling prey to Dracula. Stoker through his characters argues that death by your own means as opposed to at the hands of a monster is more appealing. Even if committing suicide the characters forgo the possibility of heaven. Harker in the beginning of the book notes that he is Christian and suicide is often not looked on favorably. However even an afterlife without heaven is better than the possibility of being preyed on by a demon.
                   Corinne also made an interesting point about the Lucy’s name possibly being a parallel to Lucifer. As the story goes Lucifer started out as an angel of heaven, a favorite in heaven, until he gave into a desire of rebellion. Similarly Lucy is by being a vampire is rebelling from society, she is no longer capable of fulfilling her role as a wife or one day becoming a nurturing mother. She now possesses a dangerous sexuality; she is capable of alluring men, as she was before, while still possessing a mothering quality that allows her to prey on children as well. Preying on a child is the antithesis of the nature of motherhood and in this way, she like Lucifer rebels against her intended purpose in life. 

I would like to focus on how Dracula changes/inverts some of the norms of society in the novel. After further thoughts about this notion, I believe that Dracula defies the boundaries of society. Dracula researches English culture and history so he can get an idea of what society is like for when he eventually blends in with it. Even though Dracula embodies class and restraint, he is still a vampire, which is a norm of the supernatural society. I think that Stoker intentionally used Dracula as a supernatural being to get a point across. I believe that Stoker uses Dracula as a supernatural entity that introduces/inverts the norms of society. On the other hand, Dracula also embodies old customs such as class. I believe that Stoker does this because he is trying to infuse/represent the social change that England is undergoing within the book.

Professor Gonzalez pointed out that if her gender were disregarded, even though her treatment of her suitors were somewhat callous it would be socially acceptable for a person to want a choice in who they have relationships with. Women were held to a higher sexual commitment while men were not which is why there is no equivalent to the word slut for men.  I think this very evident of society.  We were all criticizing and saying that Lucy was devious when in fact it can be seen that Lucy just wants her free sexuality to be socially accepted just as men’s sexuality is.  Lucy is quickly judged as a highly sexualized impure woman just because she is open with their sexuality like men and a little bit more callous like a man.  The same way that a man can be labeled with the positive connotation of a “player” if he sleeps around with many women is the same way Lucy wants to be with three different men without being negatively labeled. Due to her blurring the line of gender roles, she seems threatening to the men in the novel, and clearly still a problem for the class as well. Her free sexuality is actually a very progressive thought because instead of accepting the role of the traditional pure submissive woman she does not want to be held to a double standard.

In the virtual class we talked a lot about Lucy and her character sexually, morally, and physically. I had not really paid too much attention to Lucy, but reading through chapter 11, her role as pseudo-vampire herself is hard to miss. The fact that in order to save her the men who love her must transfuse blood from themselves to her in a way marks her as much a vampire as Dracula, albeit one that cannot be considered the same type of aggressor. She is far from the harpy-esque female monsters within Dracula's castle. Perhaps this places her more in the role of vessel rather than vampire. I am confused however then as to why Dracula keeps her alive rather than simply sucking her dry (he is not using her for information as he was Johnathan). Is he being cautious as a newcomer to England? Or does he have another purpose with her? It seems to me that there is something special about Lucy that makes her a worthier target than some random street-walker (as there have been accounts of drunks and other easy targets in the area). Dracula certainly goes through enough trouble, with the wolf breaking the glass etc, to get to Lucy. Come to think of it, the wolf trick was not particularly discrete. There may be something to the quality of her person, being one who already walks in sleep. Perhaps Dracula is looking for a mate?
            Knowledge is a crucial part of Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire story.  It plays a two-fold role, as both a weapon wielded by the protagonists, but also as a cultural stumbling block the titular character uses to his advantage.  The theme of communication of knowledge runs as deep as the very structure of the novel itself, told in an expanded epistolary format.  This dual role of information is emblematic of attitudes and concerns prevalent at the time of its writing at the height of Imperial strength.

            In the beginning of the novel, especially the opening segments with John Harker, knowledge—and, more importantly, the ignorance that comes with a hubristic intelligence—works against the imprisoned solicitor.  He disregards the advice and warnings of the Romanians as superstitious folly, and even casts aside his own uncertainty due to lack of material evidence.  Finally, as the segment comes to an end, Dracula uses the postal system—intended for the dissemination of information—to obfuscate the truth of Harker’s whereabouts, upending the strength of the growing information network and corrupting it for his own nefarious scheme.

            However, from the introduction of Van Helsing on, information, used properly, becomes a force for good, not evil.  He is able to rally a team of allies to fight valiantly for Lucy’s life, summoning Seward overnight by telegram, a feat still relatively novel as the time.  Furthermore, his power comes from a combination of his own experience and information acquired through literature he has read—books, preserving knowledge and passing it on to others for their use.  And in one of the most substantial set-backs in the battle for Lucy’s health, Mrs. Westinra’s ignorance causes her to clear away the very flowers that we protecting and healing her daughter.

            The epistolary format of Dracula, though, demonstrates Stoker’s interest in the spread of information.  He combines letters, diaries, phonographic journals, and newspaper clippings to piece together a wealth of experience into a solid narrative arc.  Information travels, is carried amongst the characters.  The reader is shown explicitly how ideas are developed and shared, with an implicit understanding; even if the protagonists are unable to triumph over the evil plaguing their lives, their story will be preserved and passed on, so that someone may be able to destroy Dracula.  Knowledge, infectious and easily spread, becomes an antidote to the vampiric contagion that threatens the very heart of England.

            If the preservation of the experiences and knowledge of the protagonists’ struggle against darkness was Stoker’s attempt, his success has been truly epic.  Dracula has influenced modern vampire lore more than all the other works combined; we criticize John Harker for not being genre-savvy, but his mistakes are the only reason I know to recognize a vampire in the first place.  If not for his meticulously precise journal, representative of Stoker’s informative connection, vampires would not be the ubiquitous feature of contemporary culture that they are today.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Will Cohen

In our insane virtual class I started noticing the character's names in Dracula. People mentioned that the name Dracula means Lucifer, and that Lucy's name means light, which made me think more about the other characters. Arthur could be named after the ancient British King of the round table. The king is married to Guinevere, who infamously spurned Lancelot, much as Lucy did with her two other suitors. I would like to look more into the other names, for example, I wonder if Mina was a modern name at the time, suggesting she is one of the "Modern Women" she mentions, or whether it is more traditional. Van Helsing is a "doctor" that deals with superstition and Steward is trained in the Western (British) way of medicine, which their names reflect in their clearly foreign and English origin, respectively.