Thursday, March 20, 2014

So Many Words, So Little Time

Question: Do you think I can actually compare these two novels or are they two different that I appear to be grasping at straws? What are some other connections that I can draw between the two stories? Also, this obviously only scratches the surface of the first two ideas; I have many sources and actual evidence that I will be putting in the formal paper when I actually get to writing it.

            Dracula and Alice in Wonderland: two stories from Victorian English literature that are very different. Dracula is a gothic tale that questions what is real and what is not. The book plays with the psychological idea of memory versus knowledge—which is stronger and which will ultimately prevail. Alice in Wonderland is a fantasy that also questions reality. Both of these stories have symbolism embedded throughout. However, Dracula is fueled by the symbolism embedded throughout the story. The symbolism is an effective foreshadowing tool that helps to drive the plot along. On the contrary, Alice in Wonderland uses the symbolism to draw mental connections, just as the mind would do, and the symbolism isn’t an integral part but rather enhances the storyline. Despite how these stories are different, they each play with similar ideas and use the same tools, although they both come to different conclusions.

            Both Dracula and Alice in Wonderland are stories that deal with human psychology, although each goes about this topic in its own way. Dracula focuses on the relationship between knowledge and memory. The main character, Jonathan Harker, has a constant struggle between knowledge and memory because he knows that vampires shouldn’t exist, but he remembers all of the horrible things that Dracula does. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice is still a child so she doesn’t understand the full extent of Wonderland. Alice realizes that some things in Wonderland don’t make sense, but she blindly accepts them rather than questioning them like Harker does in Dracula. Because one character questions reality while the other immerses herself in it, each character reaches a different outcome. Jonathan believes that he is crazy, although he manages to make a difference in the world despite his seeming insanity, while Alice remains unchanged because she blindly accepts her situations. In the end, who truly wins? Most would say Jonathan Harker because he makes a difference, even though he has a hard time accepting himself and believing in the world in which he lives. On the other hand, Alice wins to an extent because she never loses faith in herself and continues to move forward.

            The symbolism in Dracula is essential for the story. Much of the symbolism is subtle but because of the subtlety the rest of the plot isn’t completely exposed. An example of this is through the character Lucy. Lucy’s name is symbolic for Lucifer, meaning son of the morning. In the Bible, Lucifer is a son of the morning who falls from the presence of God. This symbolism transfers over to Dracula because Lucy is a daughter of the morning (a human) but then falls from grace into darkness (by succumbing to her inner creature of the night).


  1. I don't think you're grasping at straws at all! The fact that both texts are Victorian is something you can really use to your advantage, I think. It automatically makes a comparison valid because they're from the same era. If you decide to do a comparison sort of analysis (which it sounds like you're tending towards), I would say don't be afraid to emphasize the differences. Don't ignore them or try to make them similarities, explore them! Figure out what it is that makes each text tick and then hold those up next to each other and spot the differences and write about it. I think this paper sounds interesting and fun so far, so don't give up on it. Your ideas are good and your writing is flowing and easy to read--this will be a really great paper.

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  3. I would spend more time on each book and be careful not to flip back and forth too much. This is something I've been struggling with while working on my own paper. I think it's great that you are starting to go into the symbolism at the end there, and I'm excited to see where that goes. I also would suggest thinking about the formal elements of the texts and analyzing how they make the stories have certain meanings, symbolism, and style. This is going to be a great paper!