Conflicts Between East And West In Dracula English Literature Essay


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In Dracula, Bram Stokers shows the conflict between East and West. Jonathan Harker takes journey from the West to East. He describes his unfamiliar and isolated feelings from the East community. It seems clear that Stoker prefers familiar Western culture than the exotic and alienated Eastern. In Dracula, West and Eat is obviously divided; Dracula is from the Transylvania, and others try to defeat Dracula are from the England, except for Van Helsing, who represents the middle part of West and East. It is also clear that the overwhelming 'infectious' Dracula is defeated by the company from the West shows that Stoker is more toward the West side.

Stokers distinctively divide the Eastern and Western culture. In the beginning of the chapter, Jonathan Harker says that "the impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East." Stokers also shows the unfamiliar and quite different culture of Eastern side compare to the West. When Jonathan Harker is moving closer to the East, he starts to get strange and fearful feelings. He starts to see the darkness and coldness from the atmosphere as he go further to the East, "as the road was cut through the pine woods that seemed in the darkness to be closing down us, great masses of greyness … produced a peculiarly weird and solemn effect". Not just the atmosphere, Jonathan also noticed the uncomfortable and foreign attitudes of the people. The passengers offered him a gifts and Harker feels that this was "certainly an odd and varied kind". However, when Harker explains about the mood of the East, he doesn't describe it in very positive way. As he moves to East, it seems that the mood is not just exotic or unfamiliar, but it is demonic and depressive. He describes this evil like atmosphere by putting some descriptions such as ghost like clouds, or the evil eye. Also, Stokers puts vampirism in the Eastern side, which it shows that he views the east in negative way. Dracula, who is a part of East, tries to take over and kills people from the West. He also represents violence and It shows the complete negative view of East. However, Stokers try to show the Western culture is more familiar and friendly. While Dracula works alone and always move by himself, the people from the west always gather and make plan together. People from the west try to defeat Dracula who is 'infectious' and contaminating innocent people. As a result, it shows that Stoker prefers familiar Western culture rather than exotic Eastern culture.

Bram Stokers also shows that each east and west sides has different culture. While East has more mystical and naturalistic culture, West has scientific and philosophical culture. From the chapter 1, Jonathan Harker says "it seems to me that the further East you go the more unpuctual are the trains. What ought they to be in China?" It compares the Eastern culture with the modernized Western culture. It also shows Bram Stoker's unfavorable view of East side. However, Dracula from Transylvania shows savage and brutal part of humanity that represents old fashioned culture. On the other hand, Jonathan Harker and the members of company from the England have rational and logical way of thinking. While Dracula is powerful and vicious, people from the England are powerless and weak. When Jonathan is in the Castle Dracula, he says "the Count saw his victory in my bow, and his mastery in the trouble of my face.". He is completely powerless in front of Dracula. It also shows that people are weak by themselves. However, modernized Western people realize that they can't defeat him only with their physical power. They find out the logical way to defeat Dracula. They finds that the Dracula is powerless by the daylights and other holy objects such as crucifixes and Communion wafers. Finally, Dracula is killed by Harker and Morris. It seemed that Dracula was going to seize the people from the west. In fact, the result is that Western culture takes over the East. By killing the Dracula, Stokers again shows his favoritism toward Western side.

While West and East sides have distinctive cultural differences, Van Helsing, from the middle side, has both ideologies of the two sides. Van Helsing is described by Seward as "a philosopher and metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day". As a philosopher and metaphysician, he has scientific knowledge while he also has knowledge of superstitions. He leads the company and finds the way to kill vampires. Van Helsing is the key to resolve the conflict between the West and East. He insists that either side will fail if they are biased toward one side. Van Helsing tells John Seward, "You are a clever man, friend John; you reason well, and your wit is bold; but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men's eyes, because they know-or they think they know-some things which other man have told them." This suggests that only with one sided ideology, they can never be successful. If Van Helsing was not part of the company, they would only think of logical and scientific way, so they would never succeeded to kill Dracula.

Bram Stokers shows the West and East culture in totally opposite way. While he favors and leans toward more on Western side, he also tells that the both sides are needed. He suggests that balance between the two cultures will bring success. As either side can't exist at the same time, the best way is to have both naturalistic and philosophical cultural views, not leaning toward one side.

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