Women’s Right to Vote in Literature

Women's Right to Vote in LiteratureIn the late period of the Victorian Era, a new social and political radical movement known as the suffragettes caused a great stir among the public and drew attention to issues related to women’s rights and gender equality. Not only did this first wave of feminists seek to empower women by granting them the right of suffrage, but they also dreamed of freeing women from a life bound to child­ breeding, eternal obedience to their husbands and the fact that they were not even able to divorce unless extreme circumstances occurred. A woman could only file for divorce if adultery was aggravated by cruelty, bigamy, incest, bestiality or rape (Victorian Britain, An Encyclopedia. 1988). Not only did women during Victorian England suffer oppression by law and society, but they were also expected to suffer oppression at their own hands and their fellow women’s, by means of repression of their feelings and, even more so, those related to sexual desire. Women in the Victorian Era were a sexual slave of sorts, expected to work for their husbands and to engage in sexual practices only for reproductive purposes.

Dracula is a Gothic horror novel set in the last period of the Victorian Era, written by Bram Stoker and first published in 1897. There are many controversial subjects that are dealt with throughout the story and the fact that; by means of arraying journals and letters written by the very characters of the novel and dividing them into chapters, as can be observed in the foreword to the novel: “There is throughout no statement of past things wherein memory may err, for all the records chosen are exactly contemporary, given from the standpoints and within the range of knowledge
of those who made them.”; the story is told by different narrators and from different standpoints and this contributes to the lack of clarity when it comes to identifying the true personal views of Bram Stoker himself regarding the role of women in society.