The Other in Dracula and The Woman In Black
The Gothic Other takes the form of unexplained fears about the unknown, Often the author is creating a scapegoat for readers to focus their anxieties, and for the hero’s of the story to physically fight and defeat. Race and class were commonly represented as The Other during the Victorian period when fear of invasion and change to their civilized order prevailed. Foreign countries represented the uncanny as they lived by different methods of life, never seen before by The British Empire and thus condemned as inferior and superstitious. In both Dracula and The Woman In Black (from now on referred to as WIB) the fear of invasion is evident as The Other, deliberately pointed out as an outsider, attacks. Such anxieties are magnified as they take the form of supernatural beings, the ultimate unknown, separate from the human race altogether.
In Dracula the sense that the British are superior is displayed immediately when Jonathan points out details such as “there are no maps of this country as of yet to compare with our own” Stoker appears to divide us – the West- and them - the East. The latter being the home of Count Dracula. Jonathan dismisses their religion as an “imaginative whirlpool.”1, does not sleep well and encounters bizarre food and clothes. Sleep, religion, food, and fashions all represent the method of living. In the East these methods are all changed and instantly assumed to be wrong.
Their technology and homes are less advanced than ours. Jonathan found the hotel he stayed in to be “thoroughly old fashioned”2 giving the clear impression that The East is undeveloped compared to Britain. In fact it was thought that foreigners had the undeveloped brains similar to those of children to the civilised societies. “…the primitive races represented a previous stage in the development towards man....”3 They were incapable of advancing any further. Darwin’s theory of evolution appeared to back...