Dracula Chapter 8 – Background

Mina begins this chapter by referencing the “New Woman,” a Victorian term for a feminist who wanted things like the right to vote and the opportunity for a career. For Mina, these are radical ideas. She and Lucy have been raised to expect to find a husband who will take care of them. In fact, when Mina is talking to Lucy’s mother about Lucy’s engagement, she writes, “She [Lucy’s mother, Mrs. Westerna] is grieved to lose Lucy as her very own, but she is rejoiced that she is soon to have someone to protect her.” Young women often had no transitional period in between being their parents’ children and becoming their husbands’ wives.

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Another focal point for this chapter is a particular bench located in the Whitby cemetery overlooking the sea. This is the bench where Mina would talk with the departed Mr. Swales, and where she and Lucy would sometimes hang out. Lucy seems strangely drawn to the bench, and it is here that Mina finds her on one of her midnight sleepwalking excursions.

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