Carmilla and Dracula

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Gothic Essay o A querying of normative gender behaviour and sexuality pervades the 19th century gothic fiction text. What does this reveal about the cultural context within the tale exists?

This essay will attempt to discuss the two gothic tales ‘Carmilla’ and ‘Dracula’ in relation to cultural contexts in which they exist as being presented to the reader through the gender behaviour and sexuality that is portrayed through the texts. Vampire stories always seem to involve some aspect of sexuality and power. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu wrote Carmilla. It was first published in 1872 as part of the collection of short stories titles ‘In a Glass Darkly.’ Carmilla predates the publishing of Dracula by 25 years. Laura, who is also one of the
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This then poses the question that is there feelings involved in the friendship? This could be describes as the character of Laura being in a ‘dreamlike’ state and not being able to clearly define the boundaries of their friendship. Later in the story it is discovered that Carmilla is in fact a vampire. The vampire is a phenomenon that has appeared in literature of different epochs. (Klüsener, 2010). She never is seen to consume any food only drinks, and Laura’s father has described Carmilla as a ‘late sleeper’ as she never rises too early in the morning. It would be fair to say that she is a ‘creature of the night’ or nocturnal. Gender and sexuality is portrayed in this text as though the female plays a weak role in society at the time. Like many gothic texts the female protagonist is seen as portraying the repressed femininity. As Laura lost her mother at an early age it is very clear to the readers the Carmilla has taken on this role as she became involved in Laura life from when she was such a young age. Bertha was a lady sent to look after Laura as a child but she had an unfortunate encounter with Carmilla and died soon after. This killing off of Bertha can be seen as Camilla’s battle to have all control so as that she is not found out to be a vampire, but this does not all go to plan as the father finds
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